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