Fresh Fire Grill in Palo Cedro
● By Claudia Mosby
Nice & FreshJuly 2015
By Claudia Mosby
Photos: Erin Claassen
Not your typical fast food joint, the Fresh Fire Grill motto is slow-cooked quality food, fast.
A fusion of Asian and organic barbecue, the restaurant’s owners, Dave and Faye Hall, wanted to bring their flair for food to the local community after relocating from Santa Cruz three years ago.
“I’m one of those people that cooked for get-togethers at our house,” says Dave, who ran a successful Bay Area barbecue catering business before moving north. “People would always say, ‘You should open a restaurant. You’re really good at this.’”
The Halls watched as a succession of small businesses came and went at their Palo Cedro location. “After every business failed, we would say ‘Maybe we should try it,’” Dave says.
They started with a small menu last summer, expanded at the beginning of this year, and in the last six months have tripled their business. Word of mouth has spread and now people come from Redding to patronize the restaurant on their lunch hour.
Faye is quick to praise her husband’s skill, but do not just take her word for it. Dave and his
father placed in the top 10 of a national barbecue competition in Las Vegas that drew 300 teams from around the country.
“There’s some misconception about our menu,” says Dave, who creates from scratch all the rubs, sauces and dressings used in the restaurant. “Some of the meat eaters see the flaming leaf logo and think it is vegetarian. Although we have vegetarian options, including tofu and a few salads, we actually lean more toward meat dishes.”
A self-proclaimed organic fanatic, Faye says, “All the produce and juices are organic. Our pork
comes from Kent’s Market, our beef from Prather Ranch. Everything is freshly made and we do
not use either a fryer or a microwave.”
Slow-cooked pulled pork and marinated chicken and beef are menu favorites. Dave’s special
Fire Sauce, popular on the chicken wings, hamburgers and signature Fire Bowl dishes, is in demand by customers who want to buy some to take home. (“For now, we want to do one thing really well,” says Faye. Bottled Fire Sauce is likely in the future but for now is on hold.)
“I know my husband has a gift and we were always looking at different alternatives to a business that could augment instead of compete with what was already here,” she says. “We wanted to focus on community.” That intention has influenced every decision about the restaurant’s layout and décor.
With a small space, they had to think outside the box about seating if they were to create the
social dining experience they desired. “I went to Japan and was on the subway and it was jampacked, everyone facing their own corner,” recalls Faye. “I had this vision in the restaurant of people sitting at their tiny table facing the wall. Instead I wanted to create one big space.”
The Halls decided to install a single eating area in the restaurant’s interior, a centerpiece that
would encourage congregation and conversation and add what Dave calls a “wow” factor.
The 10-foot-long signature live edge elm and beech wood table, made from wood sourced in the Monterey Bay area, was crafted by Dave’s father, who also built the wood benches, eating bar and little lending library on the patio.
In keeping with its community mindedness, Fresh Fire Grill has catered or sponsored events for a variety of local organizations, including the Redding Ballet, Cascade Theatre and Turtle Bay.
“I always thought if you just make good food, people will talk about you and the patrons will come,” says Dave. “It turned out to be true.”