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New studio, Indian food |

New studio, Indian food

Mother’s Day is nearly upon us, and that means it’s prime season for gift shops and florists. And it just so happens I have news related to both. How’s that for an introduction?

First, the new news: Alex Marshall Studios is opening a retail showroom and manufacturing facility just south of downtown Chico. The studio, which produces ceramics such as dinnerware, accessories and lighting, is relocating from Corning, where it’s been since 2000. Now, it’s time to expand, according to a press release, and the 4,200-square-foot warehouse at 1095 Nelson St. that used to house ATT offices was a good fit.


The coolest thing about this studio, in my mind, is the care taken to really connect customers with the art. First, each piece is handmade, meaning each one is slightly different from the next. Plus, while browsing the showroom, visitors can watch the process unfold through large picture windows. A grand opening celebration is planned for May 18, 5-8 p.m. (OK, that’s after Mother’s Day, but it’s neat anyway!)

Slow moving A few weeks ago, I caught wind that Christian Johnson, practically a landmark perched on the bank of Big Chico Creek, was experiencing delays and financial setbacks regarding city permits in its efforts to move to a house on East First Avenue. I reached out to owner Melissa Heringer for details, but got no callback. She told others inquiring similarly online that she was holding her breath that she and the city could come to an agreement. Well, they did! Last Thursday (May 3), a Facebook announcement said the project is back on track, though still behind schedule. As a fundraiser to help pay for the move, CJ will be selling bulbs removed from the house’s landscape to make way for construction. Go to christianandjohnson.com or find the business on Facebook for details.

Curry time When I walked into Taj Indian Restaurant, I wasn’t particularly in the mood for Indian food. But I wasn’t prepared to be hit with such a sweet curry aroma. Walking into the space, it’s easy to forget it was previously occupied by Bulldog Taqueria, and if it weren’t for the Pizza Factory logo painted on the floor in front of the counter, that might’ve been ancient history as well. Now, colorful tapestries hang from the rafters and Indian music videos play on the TV.

This was their soft opening, and they were offering free samples of several of their preprepared dishes. I chatted it up with the owner, Lally Mahindru, while his niece, Simi Kaur, made my bowl. His family hails from Magalia, he told me, and they own another restaurant in Yuba City.

My favorite dish was the shahi paneer—Indian cheese in a creamy, buttery sauce. Prices are very reasonable, too—expect to grab lunch for less than $10. I look forward to checking out the full menu, which should be up now, sometime soon. See for yourself at 995 Nord Ave.

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