Brian Garcia Conquers His 1,000-Pound Grilla


Grilla Bites owner Brian Garcia obtained a lease for his restaurant in March ’08, negotiated with the city for four months about plans for a patio, filed a permit application that July, and four months later got permission to begin renovation. Plans seemed on track to open in March 2009 — until December ’08, when Brian lost a financial partner, derailing his plan. After an additional year of sweat and perseverance, Brian Garcia and his wife Coleen quietly opened Grilla Bites in the Market Street Promenade in downtown Redding on March 25.


The long-anticipated opening drew crowds that waited up to 45 minutes to order from Grilla Bite’s menu of organic grilled sandwiches, soup and burgers — evidence that the concept of fresh, organic, locally grown, sustainable edibles isn’t lost on local foodies. The Market Street Promenade’s newest tenant also offers a coffee bar, fresh squeezed juice, smoothies, natural sodas and a well-appointed by-the-pound salad bar.


“We’re a Jamba Juice, Starbucks, tea room and bar, all-in-one,” explains Coleen, whose background is in catering and events. She is responsible for an aggressive schedule of happenings for the restaurant, including live music, participation in 2nd Saturday ArtHop, and healthy-food themed events, like a monthly “raw” night, hosted by local raw food experts and chefs.


The focal point of the new space is a welcoming patio that will soon be shaded by umbrellas, cooled by misters, and softened by bamboo and vines. Diners can eat alfresco, soothed by the trickle of water from a courtyard fountain, created by Brian’s brother, Tim, a Maui-based sculptor. The patio’s ornate metalwork was created locally by Jim Baldovin of Redding’s Norris Steel.


Brian can look back about the trials that brought him to the March 25 opening and half-joke that there were times that he “looked around for things to sell” in order to realize his dream. But the professional kitchen is humming, his staff of 25 is trained and a formal grand opening is coming soon. Just as A News Cafe’s publisher Doni Greenberg did in her June ’08 and February ’09 updates about Brian’s progress, we’ll keep you posted.


Grilla Bites is at 1427 Market Street, in the Market Street Promenade, downtown Redding, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more Grilla information and menus, visit or call (530) 242-6656.

Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your North State news and events to

is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner are the owners of HawkMan Studios and the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday Art Hop.
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19 Responses

  1. Avatar Diana McConnel says:

    YESSSS!!!!!! Sing it from the rooftops! Thanks Adam for a great article about the hottest local place to meet friends and nosh on food from our local farmers!

  2. Avatar Tammy D says:

    Sounds like a great place to eat!

  3. Avatar Gail S. says:

    Excellent food! Great ambience too. Thank you, Garcia's!

  4. Avatar Cris Hillman says:

    Oh my gosh! YEAH! We should have our meetings there! I am so excited!

  5. Avatar Kathleen says:

    Great article! Thanks for the info. Can't wait to go. We've been looking for a local place that uses local, organic products.

  6. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    We have already eaten at Grilla's twice. My vegetarian boyfriend was thrilled to have real options, more than the generic "veggie burger". The soups are fabulous, the vegetarian "meatloaf" was flavorful and unique, the Bison Burger was wonderful! We will be frequent diners. Thank you, Adam, for spreading the word about new dining treats~!

  7. Avatar Laura says:

    My family visited two weeks ago – when they were quite new. The food side of the house was rock solid: good choices, great service, good food, VERY friendly people. (The soup wasn't hot enough, but that's minor)

    The coffee/smoothie side of things was more chaotic. The servers didn't know the menu, weren't sure how to make the drinks posted on the menu, and took wa-a-a-ay too long to produce a drink (we were through with our food by the time the drinks came.)

    I expect these are "opening-night jitters" and am looking forward to the whole place running as smoothly as the food side did when we were there. We will be back soon – the "vibe" of the place is relaxed, comfortable and very nice.

    What an awesome addition to downtown!

  8. Avatar Viv T says:

    Having been there two times in the last two days, I can say this is my new favorite place. Love the Moroccan soup. Right Gail S.?

  9. Avatar adrienne jacoby says:

    WHEEE!!! Yet further evidence that Redding is becoming . . .
    Can't wait to get home from Japan and try it!!!

  10. Avatar Kathryn says:

    Grilla is fantastic! Thanks for writing about this!

  11. Avatar Dennis says:

    This is a great article and wonderful pictures. Will be eating there soon.

  12. Avatar Canda says:

    Wow, the photos of the ambiance are enough to draw me in, and the food sounds wonderful. Thanks for the update. After walking by there in past months, I wondered if Grilla Bites would ever become a reality. Sounds like the time has come! Congratulations, and looking forward to trying your place real soon!

  13. Jennifer Jewell Jennifer Jewell says:

    We have two Grilla Bites in Chico and my little girls LOVE it as much as my husband and I do! Glad to see the love is spreading!….:)

  14. Avatar Susan Daugherty says:

    Just finished my first lunch at Grilla Bites. It sure won't be my last. They were packed and I had to tease Brian Garcia about it being a shame that Redding wasn't "showing Grilla Bites the love."

    The food was fabulous and I look forward to my next visit. In fact, I think it may be just the place for lunch….tomorrow!

  15. Avatar Brian's earlies says:

    Too bad I live so far away! It looks just lovely.

    I do have Redding friends and I'm alerting them. Tim's sculpture looks like it was born there. I enjoyed reading about the whole process. Much more than you probably enjoyed living thru it, but in the end~~~~~~~~

  16. Avatar shannon h says:

    Ate there twice last weekend! Loved the Zen bowl- brown rice, grilled tofu, veggies and the Coconut creme thai sauce (sp?) – amazing… great mexican coffee frappaccinno too… the patio was nice and cool… great meals. friendly staff – congrats!

  17. Avatar Michelle Fairchild says:

    As a vegan having Grilla Bites open in Redding is extra fabulous! All the non-meat and non-dairy options are fabulous. Yet you can go there with your meat eating friends too who can order fabulous fare as well. We have visited the one in Chico many times. So nice to have one in our own town now! Great write up Adam!

  18. Avatar Rebecca says:

    I just recenlty stumble upon Grilla Bites in Redding, CA. I've been recenlty considering changing my diet of fast food to a vegitarian/vegan diet after watching a movie restaurant Forks over Knives. I was walking to Subwaywhen I seen the Grilla Bites restaurant, I had no I idea we had a place like this is Redding! I decided to give it a shot. Everyone was very nice and welcoming, I ordered a vegitarian Grilled sandwich, I was expecting something not too fullfilling and dry what I got was a super flavorful sandwich that was to die for!! I have told everyone about this place and recommend everyone try it, the atmosphere is relaxing and fun and the coffee and food are excellent!