Behold: ‘Menu Mecca’ – Found Exclusively on A News Cafe

Doni: Hey, everyone, today I talk with Canda Williams, A News Cafe’s sales representative, and my son Joe Domke, the site’s webtender, who works his magic from the Czech Republic.

We want to prepare you for tomorrow, a special day, when we present a new section called Menu Mecca. You’ll find it located at the top of the nav bar on every page. Just look for the Menu Mecca logo.

Joe and Canda, you two have worked long and hard getting our new Menu Mecca pages ready for readers. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t give credit to super-designer Matt Briner for the terrific logo creation.)

Tomorrow we unveil Menu Mecca, a brand new section that features  Northstate restaurants. We’ll begin tomorrow with a few dozen of some of the area’s most popular eateries, and will continue adding new ones every week.

Joe, we’ll start with you, since you built Menu Mecca. Tell us how it works.

Joe: For each restaurant listing you can find the restaurant’s logo that links to its website, plus the address with a link to Google maps, phone number, business hours, and links to PDFs of the menu. Also, there’s helpful information like whether the restaurant has to-go, delivery, and conference rooms, and the number of diners the restaurant can seat. Here’s a preview, so you can visualize what I’m talking about:

Doni: Very cool. I like that. It will be so convenient to check out the restaurant options, and learn details about things like the hours and prices. What else?

Joe: By clicking the arrows at the top of some of the columns you can instantly sort the list of restaurants by factors like whether or not they offer to-go or delivery, which is great if you only want to see places that deliver. There’s also a keyword search that instantly narrows the list down to whatever you’re looking for; for example typing “Italian” will show only Italian restaurants. You can also search for cities (Redding, Cottonwood, Anderson to name a few) or if a restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Searching for a restaurant type instantly narrows down the list.

Doni: Love it. OK, Canda, what’s it been like to sign up these restaurants?

Joe Domke eating sushi in the Czech Republic.

Canda Williams is anewscafe.com's sales representative.

Canda: I’ve had the greatest time visiting our local Northstate restaurants, and I made sure to enjoy at least one meal at each one. (Yes, my food bill has increased, but thanks to Jazzercise, my clothing size has not!)   I had no idea how many restaurants we had until I started working on Menu Mecca.  We’re fortunate to have so many eating establishments, and I’ve met such nice, interesting people.  It’s been a wonderful experience. Where do I start? Here’s a short list of the restaurants that will go live with us on Menu Mecca, and my impressions.

The patio of Grilla Bites is just as much as a draw for me as its fresh food.  The salad bar and a bowl of Rockin’ Moroccan soup is a favorite meal of mine.

Walking into Klassique Kafe is like coming home to Mom, where a hug from Millie and Kathie is as heartwarming as their homemade food.  Those chicken and dumplings … sigh.

I love talking with Fred at Clarizio’s about our mutual Italian heritage, as we discuss old family recipes.  Having a true Italian deli nearby is heaven to this woman who grew up on cold cuts.

Entering Clearie’s is like walking into an upscale lounge in the city, and the history that accompanies Robbie’s restaurant is something to cherish.  Those of us who remember Doc’s Skyroom know what I’m talking about.

How fun is it to have an authentic Irish Pub in Redding?  Shameless O’Leery’s has great grub to accompany those suds.

Are you ready to tackle 149 sandwich choices at The Best Little Sandwich Shop?  I kid you not.  #150 is open for you to create your own, and many sandwiches on this extensive menu are customer created.

I absolutely love dining at Market Street Steakhouse before attending a show at our beautiful Cascade Theater.

I could never get enough of the authentic Indian cuisine at Priya’s.  I enjoy being greeted by an always-smiling Rama, and love that lunch buffet.

No one makes my chai pumpkin latte with soy like Elegant Bean.  Karli and the gals know you by name, and will start making your drink as soon as they see you enter the restaurant.

I still can’t decide which homemade soup at Tortuga Bay Grill I like the best.  Ginny, do you share your recipes?

Anybody like homemade potato chips with dipping sauces?  I’m talking 3 different aioli sauces at Vintage Wine Bar.

Nello’s Special Selection has nine entree dishes to choose from, at affordable prices.  Even with the accompanying antipasto, salad or soup, and coffee, I still brought home a doggie bag to enjoy as another meal.

Having known Mel and Chris Corbett for years since their El Papagayo days, it’s like old home week to step into their friendly family Corbett’s Restaurant in downtown Redding.

I’m totally hooked on Chef Greg’s BLT at historic Cottonwood’s Main Street Diner.

As a retired teacher, Old School Restaurant makes me feel right at home. Italian meatloaf and Asian lettuce wraps are two of my favorites.  I enjoy swapping teaching stories with Becky, a fellow retired teacher turned hostess at Old School.

The building that is now Brick’s Smokehouse BBQ has been many things, now it’s a restaurant with lots of selections, including house-made ribs.  You can smell them in the smoker as soon as you drive up.

The elegant Lorenz Hotel is a perfect location for Deja Vu.  Just be sure and bring a healthy appetite for those huge omelettes, or share one with a friend. You’ll get to peek at Deja Vu newest menu real soon.

Ken at Fat Boy’s BBQ and Catering is a kick.  He claims the chef on his logo isn’t really him, but insists, “You can’t trust a skinny cook.”

No, Fat Daddy’s isn’t Fat Boys Daddy.  Don’t get confused, just try them both as I did. I’m partial to Fat Daddy’s slow-cooked potato smothered in BBQ sauce.

Close your eyes and picture the perfect biscuit; warm, fluffy, and delectable.  That’s what I found at Country Kitchen  – a heavenly biscuit that needs no butter, honey, or gravy.  I might just skip the bacon, eggs, and country potatoes next time and just order a few biscuits.

Damburger’s a downtown Redding institution, established in 1938. I like to eat its burgers and fries while sitting on the sidewalk patio and watching people stroll by.

After a fabulous dinner at Joe Wong’s brand new View 202, there’s nothing like lounging on one of the many couches on the deck. Various fire features, along with a beautiful view, make for cozy after-dinner conversation.

Whew. I think I remembered everybody. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out.

Doni: Thanks, Canda. Your descriptions are making me hungry.

Back to Joe: How are the restaurants organized right now?

Joe: When you first load the page the restaurants are listing alphabetically, but the great thing about Menu Mecca is that you can change the order and number of restaurants depending on what you’re looking for by using the sorting arrows or instant search.

Doni: You can sort of customize your search. Neat. Now, I know that eventually Menu Mecca will include more far-flung restaurants we visit when we travel outside our boundaries, whether they’re in Williams or Ashland or Lake Tahoe, because everyone here travels to other places, right?

Plus, as an added bonus, anewscafe.com will soon have its own app, and people with Smart phones will be able to access restaurant menus via the apps. So we could be driving down I-5 and it’s dinner time and we can pull up Granzella’s or Louie Cairo’s or wherever, and see their menus and hours and days open and prices. Heck, we could even call in our order and have it ready when we arrive.

Canda, you can sell to those areas, right?

Canda: Absolutely!  I’ve already started branching out to Corning, Chico,and Orland, and will eventually contact restaurants in those outlying places we all visit.

Readers, as you dine out in the north state, be sure to mention Menu Mecca, and let’s establish a complete list of restaurants and their menus.  Also, please tell us restaurants you’d like to see on Menu Mecca.  In the meantime, I’ll continue contacting, and eating, and calling, and eating, and emailing, and eating, and eating, and eating…

I’m (we’re) so grateful to our first batch of restaurants featured on Menu Mecca.  Thank you for trusting in anewscafe, and being the pioneers of our Menu Mecca.  Signing on without having a menu page already established was a leap of faith, and we do appreciate area restaurants for sharing our vision for this convenient new feature on anewscafe.com.

This is a good time for me to mention that If you own, manage, or work in a restaurant, I encourage you to contact me to learn how you can become a member of Menu Mecca.  We don’t want to leave anyone out, and as Joe said, we envision Menu Mecca broken down into sections featuring types of restaurants, and locations.  Once we have the app Doni mentioned, we’ll want Menu Mecca to reach far and wide.

There are other sites available to view menus, but many appear to be photographs of menus, rather than the clean copies Joe has produced.  Also, I think the logos look really spiffy.

Doni: So true.

Joe, you include restaurants’ logos in Menu Mecca, but what if a restaurant doesn’t have a logo?

Joe: If a restaurant doesn’t have a logo, I can make a logo using elements from business cards or menus, or I can put something together completely from scratch. I’ve already made a few logos for some the restaurants we have now and had a fun time doing it (it’s a nice break from data entry and publishing articles).

Doni: Well, you do a good job with it, Joe.

Canda and Joe, you must feel such relief to finally have the Menu Mecca up and working. Congratulations to both for all your hard work. Anything else you want to say?

Canda: It really is great to see this all come together.  I started contacting restaurants in February, and I’m thrilled with the finished product.  The important thing is making our wonderful readers happy.  I’ll be anxious to hear how everyone likes this new menu feature.  Readers, please feel free to leave comments as the weeks and months roll along so we’ll know if you find Menu Mecca to be helpful as you plan your dining experience.  Check in often as other restaurants join anewscafe.com in this latest venture.  Doni is so creative, and her mind never rests.  I wonder what she’ll come up with next?  Stay tuned.  I sense something brewing.

Joe: It’s been fun working with Canda, she’s done such a great job of collecting restaurants and sending me all the information I need to plug into Menu Mecca. It’s been a fun project to get going and I look forward to watching grow!

Doni: Me, too. Now, let’s go see where we want to go eat. (Wish you could join us, Joe. You can add your favorite Czech restaurant to Menu Mecca if you want.)

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was 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, CA.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com 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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45 Responses

  1. Avatar sharon chesnut says:

    thank you, thank you, thank you…..not just great for local places, but looking forward to those near I-5 both north and south. your new ideas always appreciated. Sharon

    • You are very welcome, Sharon. We are excited about it, too. Thank you, and the tens of thousands of regular readers of anewscafe.com, for being part of this community news site.

  2. Avatar Sandy Tincher says:

    Menu Mecca is such a great idea. I love it. Also, I hope Tapas gets signed up as we love eating there.

  3. Avatar AJ says:

    Absolutely FAB – YOU – LOUS !!! However, I think I've already put on a few pounds just reading about this site. What a GREAT idea and with the crew you having working on this, it's sure to be innovative, exciting, dramatic, practical, ________(you fill in the blank.)

    I have a friend who, along with 8 to 10 of her senior citizen friends (which includes me), go out to lunch one a month. We've been doing this for several years now. She says we have visited over 40 restaurants and only repeated one. What a dining wealth we have in this area. Thank you for documenting it in a very useful way.

    • Well, AJ, you are the perfect person to give us ideas of restaurants that aren't on our list. (Canda's contacted many, many restaurants already, and we look forward to having them join Menu Mecca, too.)

  4. Avatar jacki g says:

    Wow…what a great idea! Hope you can include Moonstone as their menu changes every three weeks…, but regardless, this idea rocks! You might also consider Mt. Shasta, Dunsmuir, McCloud so travelers could plan a stop for grub along the way! We sure have some good restaurants around here, thanks for making them even more accessible! Way to go, newscafe!

    • Oh, good idea. There are some great restaurants in those mountain areas, too.

    • Avatar Canda says:

      Hi Jackie, Canda here. I like your suggestion to go north. What are some of your favorite restaurants in those areas you mentioned? I'll be sure and contact them. Thanks for your input, and we're so glad you like the idea of Menu Mecca.

      • Avatar Name says:

        In Mt Shasta take a look at, among others, the Billy Goat Tavern, and the Waystation. Very good food at those places.

  5. Avatar Name says:

    This is a great idea. It will be very helpful and popular.

    Wish I was in the Czech Republic right now – as I would immediately grab a REAL original Budweiser (not the St. Louis imposter)…

    • Avatar Marilyn says:

      I would like to have a beer in the Czech Republic again, too. My son took my husband and me to visit there before it became a Republic. We visited a restaurant that served the original Pilsner Urquell. It's available here at Liquor Barn and other locations. It's the REAL stuff, not the Budweiser imitation. 🙂

      I hope you will consider Woodside Grill in Anderson and The Sand Trap at Tucker Oaks. Their lunches aren't great, but they have good dinners at reasonable prices.

    • Joe Domke Joe Domke says:

      Shameless O'Leary's has real Pilsner Urquell on tap. I was excited to find that out the last time I visited Redding, I always miss Czech beer when I'm over there.

      • Avatar Josh says:

        Unfortunately, they no longer have it on tap Joda. I've whine about it every time I go there now. They said it's too expensive and not enough people want it. I was going there a whole lot more when they had it.

  6. Avatar Doug Mudford says:

    Terrific idea…

    please don't forget Jack's, The Post Office, Moonstone. Tapa's, The Old Mill House Deli, Gironda's, Chu's Too, C.R Gibbs, Carnegie's, Casa Ramos, The Gold Street Cafe, The Sailing Boat, Mary's Pizza Shack and Peter Chu's Skyroom…. more complete list to follow.

    Doug

    • Avatar Canda says:

      Hi Doug, Canda here. Great minds think alike. I've contacted each of these restaurants. Readers, please keep your suggestions coming, and let your favorite restaurants know you'd like to see them on Menu Mecca.

    • You know your restaurants, Doug. I trust your recommendations. (Remember a million years ago when we were going to review restaurants?) Thanks for the suggestions. We're on it! 🙂

  7. This was so needed. We spend our winter's in Ariz., and seems like they have added a ton of restaurants since we have been gone, but when they are mentioned, no address. So we just end up eating at the same place's we used to go before winter came along. Thank you so much for doing this, it will be great and I can't wait to try the new [to me] places.

    Carolyn Aguiar

  8. Avatar Carrie says:

    Love this new feature! Please include The Savory Spoon.

  9. Avatar Josh says:

    Awesome! I've really been looking forward to this, it's going to be great.

  10. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Way to go Joe,Canda and Doni. What a great new feature. I'll use it often. How about the pizza joints, Angelos, Market Street Pizza, Round table, Ultimate et al?

    You must get Feme Joi involved. This would be right up her plate.

    Big and better!

    Budd

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Budd,

      Femme de Joie is fully on board with Menu Mecca. The more attention to local restaurants, the better. The chains/franchises can take care of themselves with corporate backing and travelers who zoom off I-5 for a quick meal – and maybe a stay in a national chain motel – but independent restaurants (usually not located a few feet from an interstate exit) need the patronage of local diners.

      Best wishes,

      Femme de Joie

  11. Avatar Barbara N. says:

    Nice..very nice!

  12. Avatar shelly shively says:

    Way to go, Joe, Canda & Doni! Menu Mecca will be such a great resource. Matt Briner's Menu Mecca logo is brilliant!

  13. don williams don williams says:

    Great job on Menu Mecca. I've been living with this via Canda for several months, and of coarse she twists my arm to try new restaurants.

  14. Avatar AJ says:

    If you plan to include the "outer reaches," I vote for a lunch visit to Ellie's Espresso and Bakery located on Main Street in Weed. the original owner, Jim, moved there to retire from the corporate world in the Bay Area. He and his wife, Ellie, started the coffee house then he started baking a few little goodies to go with the coffee. Then they added soups and sandwiches on his FABULOUS "Jim's seeded bread." They have since sold the business to a girl that worked for them for many years. Gonna try that retirement thing again. However, she has managed to keep the quality up to Jim's standards.

    And a shout out for Racha Noodle on California Street.

    Love this feature!!!

  15. Avatar AJ says:

    Oh, and did anyone mention Old Mill House Deli on 299W between Redding and Old Shasta?

    Excellent lunches. Don't know about dinners.

  16. Avatar Eddy says:

    Let's not forget Chrissy's, Joe's Giant Orange, The Big Dipper and Old Mill Eatery in Shasta Lake City. Dry Creek Station is worth a nod. Vittles and Becca's in Anderson, as well as the Cottonwood Eatery and the Branding Iron are good choices in the South end of the county. How about the French Gulch Hotel? Igo Inn? The Ono Store for Ono Burgers! Bridge Bay is nice for breakfast.

    • Avatar Canda says:

      Eddy, Thanks for the great list. I did contact most of these restaurants, and hopefully they'll be joining Menu Mecca. Keep those suggestions coming. We do appreciate the input from our readers.

  17. Avatar Scott says:

    Thanks SO much for this! Being relatively new to Redding and always on the lookout for good eats, I can't count how many times I've gone searching—often in vain—for menus from local restaurants. Hopefully, this is just a start. But for now, what a start, and what a great service to the community—and its restaurateurs!

    • Avatar Canda says:

      Welcome to Redding, Scott. We're so happy to hear you like our new menu feature! Stay tuned for more restaurants on Menu Mecca.

  18. B I

    Going up 44 east The Cinnamon Bear Bakery has great food. Closed Sunday and Monday. It is 6 miles west of Shingletown.

  19. Avatar EasternShastaCounty says:

    I, too, love this new feature. But will the wonderful anonymous Menu Please author be hamstrung if she finds the food from one of the advertisers lacking?

    • Great question. Femme de Joie can speak for herself, but until she weighs in, I can assure you that anewscafe.com will never censor Femme de Joie, or dissaude her from writing her opinions, even if those opinions include negative observations about restaurants that advertise on anewscafe.com.

      I expect that very thing will happen from time to time, and when it does, I hope that restaurants and readers will take comfort in knowing that this is an honest process and an example of ethical reporting.

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Eastern Shasta County,

      Thank you for the compliment!

      Femme de Joie assures you that the advertisements will have no effect on the reviews… or vice versa, as a couple of the Menu Mecca advertisers have been on the receiving end of less-than-gold-standard reviews.

      Femme de Joie would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that she never reviews any restaurant where she cannot be impartial and fair. If she knows the owners on a personal basis – for better or worse – M. de Joie will not write about their establishment. Despite what some people believe, she does not write negative reviews to settle a grudge or hurt the business. And if approached by a food purveyor to write a review of their restaurant/product (which has happened at least twice), M. de Joie lets them know immediately that if she writes about them, she will completely disclose in the review that they came to her seeking a review.

      Thanks for reading,

      Femme de Joie

  20. Avatar Sharon Langham says:

    Canda

    What awesome descriptions of each eating establishment! My mouth was watering when I finished reading about each one, what a wonderful service to have available. And by the way if you need a dinning partner when Don's out of town I would be happy to help you out :).

  21. Maybe it was mentioned and I didn't see it, but don't forget the Gaia Hotel in Anderson. The food and bar is great. My Son is bartender there, that's how I know the bar is great! We ate there last night, in addition to the dinner menu, the appetizer's all sound wonderful.

    Thank you so much for this much needed addition to your great site.

    Carolyn

  22. Been gone for a couple of day, thanks Doni, I like him too!

    Carolyn

  23. Avatar Scott A says:

    Great feature.