The World at your Fingertips at Cafe Paradisio
● By Richard DuPertuis
Love in Paradise
Story by Richard DuPertuis
IT'S NEARLY VALENTINE'S DAY, and you’re looking for a special restaurant to take that special someone. A restaurant that exudes love – from the care of the food in the kitchen, to the smile on the face of your server, to a quiet, romantic atmosphere in the dining area. You want all that, and perhaps just a bit more.
You want Cafe Paradisio, nestled in the heart of downtown Redding.
The restaurant aims to help patrons enjoy a journey around the world of taste. In the United States, we savor the Hawaiian pork tenderloin, then overseas we visit the creme brulee of gay Paris, chicken marsala in ancient Rome, followed by a flip to the other side of the planet for the delight of coconut curry from Thailand.
For a restaurant to be able to convey to customers this much feeling through taste, its kitchen must be run not by a master cook, but by a true chef. “A cook just wants a paycheck,” says Travis Overholt, as he shakes a flaming pan of firecracker shrimp over a burner. “A chef does this because he loves it.”
Overholt earned his degree in food from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. He initially pursued strictly culinary studies, but later added hospitality, which extended his skill set to wine and hotel management. As a finishing touch to his education, he served gourmet cuisine in San Martino, Italy.
Cafe Paradisio owner Marshall Glashan welcomed Overholt to his staff about a year ago, recuing the underemployed chef from a fast-food chicken outfit.
“This is my strongest team ever,” Glashan says, including manager Katie Gonko and kitchen helper Aaron Pulice. “Travis is passionate about cooking. He’s the only chef I’ve had who will come out and check on a table personally to see how things are going.”
“It’s called table touching,” says the chef with a grin. “Mostly, I want to see what they’ve taken away from what I serve on a dish.”
He and Glashan agree Overholt is a perfect fit for Cafe Paradisio. “I get to showcase what I can do,” says the chef. “That’s what the customers love.”
Glashan’s own degree in food and service came from the school of experience. While still attending Shasta High School, he landed his first job at a restaurant. “What I liked the most was interacting with customers,” he recalls. “After a while, I fell in love with the business.”
He says customers began coming in and specifically asking for him to serve them, even if they had to wait for one of his tables to open. “That reassured me,” he says. “It was like, ‘Hey, you’re doing a good job. Keep it up.’”
Now as the owner of his own restaurant, he is able to offer a bit more. His manager cuts fresh flowers daily to decorate the tables. Paintings by local artists adorn the walls for customers to peruse or to buy. And there is always music, his favorite tracks of jazz and blues, with live performances Friday evenings.
Glashan says he see displays of open affection frequently among his customers, and this he welcomes. The small dining area – only about a dozen tables – nurtures a cozy, intimate atmosphere. “My favorite is when they get up and start dancing while they wait for their dinner – like, right there,” he says with a gentle laugh.
Some months back, an engaged couple picked up on this atmosphere through reports from friends. They decided to check out this Cafe Paradisio as a possible place for their wedding dinner. And they loved it.
“The menu is varied, the flavors, presentation and portions will more than satisfy your senses and appetite,” says groom Gary Schuller. “The service is first class, a great combination of friendly, down to earth and professional. It’s the kind of place you feel you are out for a special evening, and at the same time it feels familiar, kind of like a favorite local spot that you want to return to and introduce your friends to.”
Schuller and his bride Lorraine so loved the staff and the feeling of Cafe Paradisio, they took the only step further there was to take. Last October, they stood before the minister and their loved ones and exchanged vows in the restaurant.
“Throughout the whole process, from planning to the final day, Marshall, Katie Mae and Chef Travis made it feel like we were planning our big day with friends,” Schuller says. “People who really cared that it turned out to be what we hoped for.”
The newlyweds are regulars now at
Cafe Paradisio. •
1270 Yuba Street, Redding
(530) 215-3499 • www.cafeparadisio.com
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11:30 am-2:30 pm; Dinner: Monday, Wednesday,
Thursday, 5-9 pm,
Friday and Saturday, 5-10 pm;