Benita Epstein – Extraordinary Work in Ordinary Places


On Tuesday Bruce and I visited GreenGo's Natural & Organic Food on Dana Drive for the first time. 

Although we enjoyed the food -- (Bruce loved his GreenGo's Turkey Sandwich, and I liked my Greek Pizza, loaded with artichoke hearts and feta) -- lunch was our secondary reason for being there.

Benita Epstein's exhibit was the main draw - so to speak.


I remember the first time Benita Epstein left a comment on A News Cafe, with her real name. I tried to remain calm. I hope I didn't write any smitten replies. 

"Benita Epstein! OMG!!! Is that REALLY YOU?!!"

OK, so maybe I did gush a bit. Whatever.

For a little background, in the cartoon world, Benita Epstein is a rock star. Four times she's been nominated as the Best Magazine Gag Cartoonist by the National Cartoonists Society; twice for the Best Greeting Card Cartoonist.


In addition to her work that appears in three cartoon collections and on greeting cards, you've probably seen Benita's cartoons in hundreds of publications. Which ones? Oh, like The New Yorker, Harvard Business Review, Wall St. Journal, USA Weekend and Reader's Digest.

I first became acquainted with Benita through her friend and admirer, Phil Fountain, known on this site as A News Cafe's beloved, talented cartoonist and funny guy (good writer, too).

Phil discovered Benita lived in Redding after he visited a cartoonists chat room and she said something to the effect of, "You live in Redding? So do I!"

He could not believe it. The Benita Epstein. In Redding.


(Note: The reflection? Plastic to protect the artwork. My photos that don't do the cartoons justice.)

Inside GreenGo's the woman who rang up my order said the Epsteins were regular customers, and everyone at GreenGo's was honored - and even a little surprised - to have Benita's cartoons on the restaurant's walls.

We at A News Cafe aren't surprised. Last year we met Benita - an extraordinary woman who generously shares her gifts with ordinary people in sometimes the most understated, ordinary places.

That's what she did in November at A News Cafe's first birthday party where she and Phil conducted their first-ever Cartoon-Off. As hundreds of guests ate, drank and were merry, Benita and Phil stood for hour upon hour as they drew custom cartoons for donations to benefit the Shasta Women's Refuge and People of Progress.

Perhaps you saw the Epsteins Sunday at the Redding Home & Garden Show, where Benita and Ted stopped by A News Cafe's booth and mentioned a by-the-way about a current exhibit of Benita's cartoons. 

The word "exhibit" led me to wonder if Turtle Bay Museum was lucky enough to secure an Epstein show. Wishful thinking, I thought - more likely her exhibit was someplace like San Francisco or Portland.

As it turned out, the exhibit was not at Turtle Bay, nor in San Francisco or Portland.

Instead, Benita displayed her cartoons at GreenGo's, the kind of laid-back, casual place that serves food in red plastic baskets lined with white paper.

Wonder of wonders, for a little while longer GreenGo's will also be described as the kind of place where the works of renowned cartoonist -- and Redding resident -- Benita Epstein, will adorn its walls.


Now showing: Benita Epstein cartoons

Where: GreenGo's - Natural & Organic Food to Go, 1107 Dana Drive, Redding

When: Through April 27 - Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What else: Benita Epstein's matted prints at GreenGo's are available for sale for $35.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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20 Responses

  1. Doni, that is so sweet. Thank you! When I saw you at the Home Show I wasn't expecting such a detailed, researched article.

  2. Philbert says:

    I've heard there's a possibility that Benita and i will be partcipating in an upcoming Art Hop (May). We'll keep you posted. By the way, you can see more of Benita's work at here.

  3. Canda Williams says:

    We feel honored to have a Benita original hanging in our game room. She and Phil both did a great job on the cartoon-off request for brewmaster Don!

  4. Larry says:

    I worship the paper she draws on. What an incentive to visit Green-Go. I have read pro and con about it (and it is so hard to get to).

  5. Gerry says:

    Wow! How about an indepth interview with her?

  6. Darcie says:

    We love her cartoons she did for us and at the party in November and have them framed. She is such a gracious person and so quick on the draw!

  7. Autumn says:

    Benita Epstein is not only a wonderful person she is an amazing, talented, fabulous (yes, I could go on) Cartoonist/Artist. GreenGo's is honored and blessed to have her works of art on display!

  8. Doug Mudford says:

    Bonita and Phil did cartoons of my cat at the A News Cafe Cartoon-Off. My cat seems very pleased with both efforts. I know I am. What two fun, original talents to have in our area.

  9. Doug Mudford says:

    I apologize for the incorrect spelling Benita. My eyesight is worse than my cat's.

  10. pmarshall says:

    Like that one about the cat. Cats are so "cartoonish".

  11. Mike Lynch says:

    This is a great idea. Wine and Benita go together so well. I wish I lived closer than the other end of the country so I could go and see.

  12. Jason G. says:

    Perhaps Ms. Epstein could be a 'guest chatter' or a 'guest illustrator' in an upcoming Friday Dish? Just a thought. Neat article, Doni. And certainly a neat talent. Thanks for sharing. Y'all in Redding are lucky to have two talented 'tooners so close to hand.

  13. Thank you all! You're all so sweet. And Mike L. came all the way from NH to say hello. Now, HE is one of the great cartoonists.

  14. Hey Doug,

    That misspelling is totally cool – AND fitting for the venue!
    "Bonita," in Spanish, means: nice or pretty.
    I had the great pleasure to meet her last November.
    She and her craft are both nice & pretty…
    (and DAMN funny!!)

    Best wishes,


  15. Congratulations all around. I've virtually arrived from nasty, wet Cape Cod to admire Benita's brilliant work. My wife and I physically lived south of you in Sebastopol for nine years in the last century.

  16. Hi Paul. Thanks for dropping by! Nice to see you here. We need some of that wet Cape Cod weather here.

  17. Yay, Benita! Not only is she a wonderful person and very talented cartoonist but we are very happy to have had Benita join the Six Chix team as the new Friday chick!

  18. Andy says:

    Benita ROCKS!!!

  19. VladKolarov says:

    I've never had the chance to meet Benita face-to-face, but if I did, I do not know how I would express my utter admiration of her work… Perhaps act like Wayne Campbell ("I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy…")?

    Thanks for all the laughs, Benita!

  20. Andre says:

    Hellllo Benita!

    It's been a long while since I went underground. But I'm getting some of my old work together and try a website, and maybe 'doing the rounds' again. I'm near retirement now so I should have plenty of time to draw my little stick figures. My God you've done so well these past ten years, I just beamed all over after reading about the NCS awards and GC markets. WoW! You're incredible! God bless you!

    I just signed back up on the wisen, maybe see you there.

    Way2Go !

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