The Buzz: This long-vacant building is ready to welcome Kansas City BBQ – Redding Record Searchlight


David Benda
Redding Record Searchlight

Published 11:00 AM EDT May 23, 2020

It could be happy days again for an empty building just off Interstate 5 in Shasta Lake that for years housed a popular steak house.

Arnold’s BBQ could open there next month.

“We are shooting for mid to the end of June,” co-owner Jim Arnold said Friday morning as he stood outside his new restaurant on Cascade Boulevard.

Arnold’s will feature Kansas City barbecue’s version of baby-back ribs, beef brisket, tri-tip, pulled pork and wings. They also plan to serve beer and wine.

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“It’s sweet with a little bit of heat toward the end,” Arnold said of Kansas City BBQ. “That first bite tastes like candy, then the heat hits you a little bit.”

For starters, the restaurant will be open Saturday and Sunday, but Arnold said they will eventually expand to seven days a week.

Arnold’s will open for lunch at 11 a.m. and continue serving until the food runs out.

“That’s usually how barbecue restaurants work,” Arnold said. 

The building, which looks like an alpine ski chalet, has sat empty since Chrissy’s Steak House & BBQ closed in 2015.

Grillionaires announced in early 2018 that it would open in there. But those plans never came to fruition, though the Grillionaires sign is still up.

Arnold said the Grillionaires people did a lot of work inside, including new floors, track lighting and new coolers.

“So, it’s pretty much a brand-new restaurant on the inside,” he said.

Arnold, 42, grew up in the Kansas town of Neodesha, a farming community in the southeast part of the state. He moved to Redding 16 years ago and works as a construction manager in Redding.

“I’m secure in my job and feel comfortable about both working construction and this,” Arnold said.

Partnering with Arnold to open the restaurant is his wife, Shelby, Karen Bowman and Craig Freelove.

Arnold’s BBQ already is part of Redding’s food landscape, operating as a food truck.

They get their meat from R&R in Redding and all the sides, like potato salad and cornbread are homemade, Arnold said.

As far as opening amid a global pandemic, “I think people in the county want to open up. People want to get back to being social. Food is a social act,” Arnold said.

Pandemic causing all types of distruptions — just not to this building boom

Despite the coronavirus, the North State’s construction industry is busier than ever.

Construction has been deemed an essential business by the state and COVID-19 hasn’t slowed projects like the new Shasta County Courthouse, the four-story multi-use Market Center — both in downtown Redding — the Save Mart and Ross Dress For Less at Churn Creek MarketPlace and the new Chick-fil-A in front of the Mt. Shasta Mall.

And on Friday, the McConnell Foundation broke ground on the Bell Plaza at California and Shasta streets in downtown Redding. Shasta Living Streets will operate the plaza’s bike depot. The Bicycle Bell café and a gated courtyard with outdoor seating are also part of the project.

“As we continue to strongly advocate the reopening of all business in our community, we are also encouraged that many of the transformative projects in the county are still moving forward,” Redding Chamber of Commerce President Jake Mangas on the group’s website.

Local homebuilders are just as busy.

Much of the activity is still due to the 2018 Carr Fire, which destroyed nearly 1,100 homes in Shasta County, including 260 in Redding.

But new neighborhoods are being built, too.

Seven Bridges east of Interstate 5 off Oasis Road near Risen King church is taking shape. A 21-home infill development in the River Ridge subdivision on Americana Way in west Redding and Wyndham Pointe of Wyndham Lane in south Redding are in various stages of construction.

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And don’t forget Palomar Builders, which has multiple subdivisions under construction.

Housing starts in Redding through April were up 16% compared with the same four months a year ago.

Local realtor Sam Yount, who’s marketing the 21 homes in River Ridge, said also driving home construction was the push to submit plans late last year before California’s new 2020 building codes went into effect, which will increase the cost of construction. Nouvant Homes, which is building the River Ridge extension, was able to get its plans in before Jan. 1, so the old codes still apply.

“The energy code changes will tack on a fair amount of money for every house that is built,” Yount said, noting the extra cost will be passed on to the buyer.

Cascade Theatre, Jack’s Grill want to take wining, dining outdoors

Jack’s Grill and the Cascade Theatre have been approved by the city to serve alcohol and food outdoors under new guidelines by local and state officials.

Working with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the city of Redding is allowing the expansion of beer, wine and liquor sales outdoors.

Restaurant, bars, breweries and entertainment venues like the Cascade are now allowed under the relaxed rules to expand table service into private parking areas and sidewalks adjacent to their building provided access for emergency vehicles isn’t affected.

Don Conley of Jack’s said they still need the OK from ABC before the restaurant can start outdoor service. They plan to use the lot on the north side of their building for the outdoor service.

“We are not sure what kind of menu we will do to start,” Conley said.

Cascade Theatre General Manager Michelle Irvine said they have wanted to extend their lobby to outside under the marque for some time.

“When we have 1,000 people here at a concert, it gets crowded and we wanted to get people to step outside,” Irvine said.

Of course, the Cascade isn’t allowed to re-open yet under the state’s stay-home orders.

“We just don’t know yet,” Irvine said. “We are hoping that because Shasta County is kind of fast-tracking threw the process, it may help us open sooner. We are anticipating having very limited seating and doing social distancing.”

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David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.

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