News about restaurants, free help, and banks | Biz Bits – Chico Enterprise-Record

More comings and goings in Chico food world.

Saturday was the last day for Leon Bistro in downtown. While madly popular, it is not the end of the Leon legacy, I’m happy to say.

Chef Ann Leon will take her magic to a new restaurant to open next month in Meriam Park, to be called Burban Kitchen.

Here’s how she described it on her Facebook page:

“At Leon Bistro, we have always strived to be on the frontlines of culinary innovation and creativity, and our announcement of closure comes with an exciting new start. Chef Leon will now become the executive chef at a unique new Chico restaurant and cocktail space: Burban Kitchen.

“Located in the heart of Meriam Park, Burban Kitchen brings a one-of-a-kind dining experience to the North State, featuring creative flavor combinations and organic, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. As Executive Chef, Ann Leon will bring her culinary expertise and style to every dish that comes out of Burban Kitchen, and we are excited for this incredible partnership.”

Leon has been working with Meriam Park developer Dan Gonzales to bring a fine dining to Chico’s east side, but details such as the opening are still under wraps.

The location for Leon Bistro on Main Street is for sale.

I’ll be sharing more here as I find out more.

Free help

Speaking of restaurants, if you’ve ever had an inkling to get into the food business, here’s a place to start (or stop).

Over my years here, I’ve seen dozens of restaurants close. It’s a sad thing, mostly because the owners are often in deep financial straits, put there because they just didn’t have the business background. Maybe they made divine spaghetti sauce and friends encouraged them.

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Restaurant consultant Louise Dawson of the Bay Area is going to be talking about how to take those first steps. I’m also hoping the presentation will cover who shouldn’t be doing this, or how to go about it in the right way, with lots of research and market analysis.

That free workshop is 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 17 at the center, 2480 Notre Dame Blvd. But you have to register.

Another session that is free and valuable is about business and money.

You get into business, everything’s going well, and BOOM, disaster happens. How can you be ready for what comes your way? Voila — “Financial Management for Existing Businesses.” This series starts Oct. 31 and is free as well, thanks to a sponsorship from Wells Fargo Bank.

Register for either through the center,  895-9017 or

Bank kudo

Golden Valley Bank got a big surprise when the Independent Community Bankers of America named the Chico bank for a major award.

From a group of 100 nominations, Golden Valley was picked for the “grand national award” that rested on its response to the Camp Fire, wildfire survivors and rebuilding Paradise.

As of August, the bank’s foundation had raised $13 million and distributed $4 million to survivors, nonprofits and agencies for direct relief and local projects.

Not only did the bank offer its umbrella for donations, but a number of employees donated an average of 100 volunteer hours to Camp Fire causes. The bank waived administration fees so that 100 percent of the donations went right to assistance.

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Surprises for the bank weren’t done yet. The bank was featured in this month’s issue of the association’s Independent Banker magazine, and bank President Mark Francis and members of his staff were featured on the cover.



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