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OK, where can we eat in 30 minutes?

While not all restaurants can handle the lunch rush, there are plenty of quick options
Collage of restaurants in downtown Chico. Created by Jessica Miller, Feb. 24.

It may seem like 30 minutes is a fair amount of time to grab a bite to eat between classes, but lunchtime in Downtown Chico can slow students down.

While not all restaurants can handle the lunch rush, there are plenty of quick options.

Within a block of campus

Bun Burger storefront just after a rainstorm. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 20

Bun Burger

One of Chico’s newest places to eat, Bun Burger, is a great option for students on the go. 

Bun Burger serves burgers that are entirely encased by the bun to allow for mess-free eating and a unique taste. Their menu has vegetarian options for every specialty burger as well.

The average service time is 10-15 minutes.

Customers can call ahead to place an order for pick-up so that they can leave as soon as they arrive if they are in a time crunch. 

While the restaurant doesn’t currently offer a student discount, owner Suat Dasdemir said they will be adding one soon along with more snack options on the menu.

Bun Burger hours are:

  • Sundays — noon to 9 p.m.
  • Monday — closed
  • Tuesday-Saturday — 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Bun Burger is busiest between 12:30-2 p.m. and is located at 230 West Third St. 

Madison Bear Garden art and entryway. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 13.

Madison Bear Garden

Madison Bear Garden is by far the closest restaurant to campus and serves burgers, fries, buffalo wings and onion rings. 

The average service time is eight to 10 minutes unless the line is “to the door,” general manager Jahm Ehrke said. 

Madison Bear Garden hours are:

  • Everyday — 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
  • Closed to those under 21 after 9 p.m.

Madison Bear Garden’s busiest time is noon to 1 p.m. but customers can call and order ahead for pick-up if needed. 

It is located at 316 West Second St. 

Gogi’s Cafe street-facing side displaying food options to the public. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 13.

Gogi’s Cafe

Gogi’s Cafe serves authentic Indian dishes like samosa, pakora, curry and masala. 

Its express plate, an option created with students in mind, only takes two minutes to make, owner Vinay Kumar said. 

Students can also order ahead online if they would like options from the menu that typically take more time. 

Gogi’s Cafe hours are:

  • Sunday — closed
  • Monday through Saturday — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The restaurant’s busiest time is just after 1 p.m. on weekdays. 

It is located at 230 Salem St. 

Mom’s restaurant patio just after a morning rain storm. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 19.


Mom’s serves breakfast, burgers, sandwiches and salads. 

Along with their waffles, omelets and milkshakes, it offers a variety of coffees and teas.

Mom’s sees a mixed bag of customers, manager Aaron Smith said. Some people have less than 30 minutes before they have to leave and others stay and sit for hours. 

Their average service time is less than 30 minutes and since they’re just off campus, students should have enough time to get back to class. 

Students can also call ahead of time to place an order and pick it up at the register if they’re concerned about wait times or if they need to come in during their busier business hours. 

Mom’s hours are:

  • Sunday — 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday — 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday — 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The busiest time of day for the restaurant is between 10 a.m. and noon and it is located at 209 Salem St. 

The Boba Stop storefront displaying their LED signs and Studio Ghibli Mural. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 20.

The Boba Stop

The Boba Stop serves boba drinks and crepes. While food isn’t necessarily their specialty, their crepes are quick and easy to grab on the go. 

Their average service time is five to seven minutes and customers can call ahead, DoorDash or order online

They offer a 5% student discount with valid student ID. 

“Supporting local businesses not only fosters a sense of community but also contributes to the unique charm of Chico,” business owner Woraphong Wongrat said. 

The Boba Shop hours are:

  • Everyday — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Its busiest time is between noon and 1:30 p.m. and it is located at 226 West Second St. 

On Broadway

Ali Baba storefront after the lunch rush. Taken be Jessica Miller on Feb. 13.

Ali Baba

Ali Baba is a Mediterranean restaurant with halal and vegetarian options. Their student plate, a slightly smaller version of their traditional plates, is $10.99, tax included. 

Their average service time, excluding kebabs, is 10 minutes, making it possible to walk to the restaurant and make it back to class on time. 

In the case that students have a class and know ahead of time that they’ll need lunch as soon as they get out, they also can call and order ahead for pick up, employee Andrew Vela said. 

Ali Baba hours are:

  • Sunday — closed
  • Monday through Friday — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturdays — noon to 7 p.m.

The restaurant’s busiest times are 11 a.m. to noon and 4-5 p.m. and it is located at 138 Broadway St. 

Lili’s Brazilian Bistro, bright neon signs and fairy lights facing Broadway Street. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 13.

Lili’s Brazilian Bistro

Lili’s Brazilian Bistro provides locally-sourced authentic Brazilian cuisine. They sell a variety of pastries, pasta, sandwiches, soups, salad, stew and more. 

They offer a student bowl, with a vegan option, for a significant discount at $9. 

Students can order ahead by calling in their order over the phone. The restaurant will have a system to order online within the next few weeks, head chef and owner, Lili Dasilva, said. This will cut down lines and allow customers who don’t like talking on the phone to order for pick-up. 

Lil’s Brazilian Bistro hours are:

  • Sunday — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Monday through Saturday — 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The average service time is 15 minutes and it is located at 142 Broadway St. 

Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ displaying lunch specials to customers. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 20

Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ

Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ sells a variety of sandwiches, burgers, salads, chicken and ribs. They have plenty of indoor seating and a dog-friendly outdoor patio. 

The average service time is 10 minutes and customers can order ahead by calling the restaurant to reduce that time. 

The restaurant is currently offering a student lunch special between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. that includes chicken strips, fries and a small drink for $10. 

Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ hours are:

  • Sunday through Monday — closed
  • Tuesday through Friday — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday — closed

Smokin’ Mo’s BBQ is busiest between noon and 1 p.m. and is located at 131 Broadway St. 

Aca Taco storefront and outdoor seating. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 21.

Aca Taco

Aca Taco serves breakfast burritos, tacos, quesadillas, tostadas and nachos only a few blocks from campus. 

After adding a new self-serve kiosk, ordering has become even faster than it was in the past, owner Tanya Ledesma said. Their average service time is less than five minutes. 

Aca Taco also allows customers to order online, which allows students to place an order as they walk over and grab it as soon as they come in, Ledesma said. 

Aca Taco hours are:

  • Sunday through Thursday — 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday through Saturday — 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The restaurant’s  busiest time of day is 11:50 a.m. to noon, but otherwise, students can expect to be in and out without lines. It is located at 133 Broadway St. 

Pita Pit displaying community posters and specials outside. Taken by Jessica Miller Feb. 20

Pita Pit

Pita Pit offers fresh grilled sandwiches, falafel bites, brown rice and quinoa bowls and more. Their sandwiches come with vegetarian and vegan options to suit different tastes and dietary restrictions. 

The restaurant gets frequently busy but general manager Thomas Hightower said even then they finish orders in under 10 minutes. 

Pita Pit also has an app that allows customers to order ahead and claim rewards. For those who don’t use the app, they also frequently have people call the store and place orders. 

The student and faculty discount is 10% off an order over $10.

Pita Pit hours are:

  • Sunday — closed
  • Monday through Thursday — 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday — 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday — closed

It is located at 240 Broadway St. 

West 2nd St. 

Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Works storefront and outdoor seating after a light rain. Taken by Jessica Miller on Feb. 19.

Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Works

Brooklyn Bridge Bagel Works serves a variety of bagels, hot and cold, all day. 

The longest customers wait for their food is five to 10 minutes, co-owner Lily Reyes said. 

Students can order ahead by calling the store or placing an order for pick-up/delivery either through DoorDash or their website.

There are two deals geared toward students for lunchtime:

  • Bagel Dog Deal- a cheddar or pepperjack bagel dog & a large soda
  • Pizza Bagel Deal- your choice of cheese, pepperoni or pesto pizza & a large soda

Both are $7 and are available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Brooklyn Bride Bagel Works hours are:

  • Everyday- 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The bagel shop’s busiest times are 9 a.m. and noon for breakfast and lunch rush respectively. 

It is located at 117 West Second St. 

The Banshee storefront showing flowers hanging. Taken by Jessica Miller Feb. 21

The Banshee

The Banshee is a bar that boasts “the best pub food in town,” co-owner Sebastien Tamarelle said. The bar serves soups, sandwich melts, tacos and more. 

The busiest time of day is between noon and 2 p.m. There are not currently order ahead options, so students will need to depend on wait times in line. 

The Banshee’s average service time is 10-15 minutes, depending on lunch and dinner rushes. 

The Banshee hours are:

  • Everyday- 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 
  • Closed to those under 21 at 7 p.m. Starting at 7 p.m.

It is located at 134 West Second St. 

Stay tuned for the next article exploring food options beyond downtown, should you have an hour between your classes!

Jessica Miller can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jessica Miller, Food Editor
Jessica Miller is a fourth-year English literature studies major at Chico State with a minor in linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This will be her first semester with The Orion. After graduation, she plans to pursue a single-subject teaching credential in English and begin teaching at the high school level in California. She loves to write, read and work at the Student Learning Center on campus as a Writing Center tutor as well as her ESL Support Services tutoring position.

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    Enzo // Feb 27, 2024 at 9:47 pm

    Hello Jessica thank you for supporting downtown chico with your article! Celestinos NY pizza is a quick serve pizza restaurant right across the street! We’ve been a student staple since 1997! Locally owned and operated.