The Orion

Cafe continues to flow; new management, live music, art exhibitions


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Published 2011-09-26T20:30:00Z”/>

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Stephanie Geske and Kjerstin Wood

Part of the fun of living in the Chico environment is being able to experience small town eateries.

One such restaurant is Cafe Flo, which was opened in 2003 by sisters Cate and Mary Gardner, who named it after their mother.

Cafe Flo has had three different ownerships and is currently led by Mark Watts, a Chico resident whose three daughters go to Chico High School and work part time at the restaurant. Watts purchased the establishment just a few weeks ago and is utilizing Facebook to reach out to artists and performers to enhance his business.

Watts spent time working in Santa Cruz at his dad’s restaurant, the Broken Egg Omelet House, before moving to Chico 16 years ago. He describes himself as very involved in the community.

He frequents farmers’ markets two or three times a week to make sure he has the freshest produce. The Saturday Morning Market in Paradise and the Wednesday Trader Joe’s Market are two he always goes to in an effort to continue sustainable shopping.

Cafe Flo has always featured great food and a great atmosphere, and that is what led Watts to purchase it, he said. But the restaurant needed some rejuvenation.

“I need to revive that,” Watts said. “It had lost its vibe.”

Changes include bringing in more live music, especially Chico State students who play in bands, and turning it into a gallery featuring local artists.

Cafe Flo has free shows during the day and a free jazz night from 5 to 7 p.m. on Mondays. In an effort to keep events accessible for students, the restaurant’s other music shows typically don’t cost more than $5. Watts is also pairing up with the Pageant Theatre for a Monday night promotional partnership called Cheap Eats, Cheap Seats, which features a $7 dinner and $3 movie.

Amber Miller, a regular customer who usually comes to Cafe Flo for lunch, is happy with the food, she said. Miller is also a fan of the art on display and the featured events.

Watts wants to bring in more students to Cafe Flo, he said. He started using Facebook to connect people to coupons using page likes and check-ins on the site.

Welcoming students into his business will help the connection between campus and community, Walter Ramirez, a senior graphic design major said.

“I think it is important for local businesses to support student bands,” Ramirez said.

Watts runs his business in a way that shows he cares about customers and the experience they have at his restaurant, he said.

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<strong>Stephanie Geske can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>

<strong>Kjerstin Wood can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>

 

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