By Melissa Wynn

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Welcome to CR Gibbs American Grille,”Where Rumors End and Legends Begin.” I recently enjoyed dinner with a friend at this happening, classy little eatery at 2300 Hilltop Drive in Redding. We were spending the night next door at the Best Western Plus Hilltop Inn and were drawn like moths to a flame by the smoky aroma of tri tip grilling on the open, oak fired outdoor BBQ pit.

Festive palm trees and a gurgling fountain led the way to our dining delight. I knew we were in for a good time when the banner outside read Nutsy Hour 4pm-6pm daily. It was 5:00 so nutsy it is. Our idea of being a bit nutsy was to let the staff choose our meal. It was great fun to watch them choose and prepare each flavor of our adventure in the open exhibition kitchen. I was especially fascinated with the constant flame of the brick pizza oven.

We enjoyed fresh steaming coffee and warm  fresh baked french bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping as chef Stephen White prepared eared Ahi Tuna with a succulent raspberry sauce  and a touch of kickin’ hot wasabi  he had chosen as the appetizer to grace our table. Thinly sliced and encrusted in sesame seeds, every delicate morsel melted in my mouth. Soon our upbeat server Kristen Hernandez danced by again carrying a tray of CR Gibbs American Grille’s famous martinis in a rainbow of colors from the full service bar to a group enjoying cocktails and mounds of shrimp over ice ($7.95).  Ooo, that looks good too!  Service Manager Ramone Alverez’s entree choices for us were the amazing creamy yet mildly hot, spicy Rajun Cajun Pasta ($17.95) with chicken breast and Andouille sausage topped with green onions, pico de gallo and Parmesan cheese and the rich flavorful Salmon Italiano ($19.95) encrusted with feta cheese, roasted red bell pepper, basil, lemon aioli, garlic and italian bread crumbs on a bed of cheesy Rissoto Caprese.  Every bite of both dishes were a party for the taste buds. It was a shame that I ate so much of both that I no room to sample the decadent dessert choices like hazelnut flan, bananas foster and snickers pie. Maybe next time.  We waddled happily across the parking lot back to our rooms full and happy. Complimentary access to the CR Gibbs American Grille’s breakfast buffet comes with the room at the Best Western Plus Hilltop Inn so just twelve hours later we were back to indulge in biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon and eggs, a bit of cool vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit and of course a bottomless cup of that good strong coffee  to charge us up for our busy day. CR Gibbs American Grille is an awesome choice for “eatertainment.” For a look at the full menu served 7 days a week visit their website at Like the menu says: Experience, Explore, Engage and Enjoy. We sure did.

photos courtesy of CR GIBBS American Grille  and Best Western Plus Hilltop Inn

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