2495 Carmichael Drive – Chico, Ca 

[media-credit id=4 align=”alignnone” width=”300″]Jason Shabar and his girl[/media-credit]

By Melissa Wynn

On a warm June morning, a friend and I were exploring campgrounds along Hwy 32 and came upon Mike Shabar, owner of Original Pete’s. He and his sons Sean and Jason were fishing for Rainbow Trout along Deer Creek. We admired their catch and they invited us to dinner at their Italian restaurant at 2495 Carmichael Drive in Chico. It was our lucky day!

We arrived several hours later after a very busy day parched, exhausted and starving. Young and handsome manager Jason Shabar, was awaiting our arrival and had a fresh pot of coffee brewing, just like home. We decided at Deer Creek to let Jason choose our dinner, bring on your best.  As we waited with anticipation, I couldn’t resist wandering about to inspect the several hand painted murals that grace the walls of this friendly, family owned and operated establishment. My personal favorite tells the story of the journey from Italy to America via Ellis Island. Everything at Original Pete’s, from the savory aromas in the air to the artwork on the walls, whispers Italy. There are even 17 pendants hanging that represent the 17 neighborhoods of Siena in Italy. This town has hosted the bareback horse race known as the “Palio delle Contrade” every year since 1656. Great atmosphere after a long day. Further exploration led me to the banquet room where co-owner Mrs. Nina Shabar and a group of ladies were engaged in a fun-filled jewelery party. They were having such a good time that we were tempted to grab a spirited libation from the full service bar and join in. I soon noticed that our bubbly and patient waitress was waiting to serve our crisp, cool garden salads, so we cut our visit with Nina and the girls short and returned to our table to dine.

Minutes after finishing our salads, Jason once again graced our presence with his smiling face, serving us his two primo pasta choices  himself.  This guy knows his pasta. We first sampled the rich and decadent Chicken Gorgonzola.  Gorgonzola cheese, grilled chicken, bacon, mushrooms, garlic, red and green onions, basil and rosemary in a creamy sauce with bowtie pasta. Delicious! On the lighter side, Jason chose for us a tongue tingling penne pasta with feta cheese, fresh basil, spinach and tomatoes, accented with roasted pine nuts and lightly tossed with extra virgin olive oil. Yummo!  Both dishes were served with an awesome garlic cheese bread, light and flavorful. Although the wide variety of dessert choices were tempting, we were full to the top. No wonder Original Pete’s is a local favorite for pasta, pizza and sandwiches of all kinds. Mike, Jason, Nina and the crew are around Mon-Sat 11 to 9 pm and Sun 12-9pm. Lunch specials before 4pm include a tasty pasta combo, the pizza lover’s dream and a veggie sandwich that I plan to try next time.

Visit the Shabars for lunch or dinner and enjoy some primo pasta or call for some to go at 530-891-0611.  http://petesrandb.wpengine.com/