The local coffee scene in Redding appears to be thriving.
That was apparent during a recent visit to Evergreen, the former Coffee Bar on Pine Street that the husband-and-wife team of Drew Coffman and Kristine Diaz Coffman purchased last summer, and last weekend celebrated its grand re-opening under the new name.
Evergreen joins an already caffeinated downtown, with the likes of Brew, Dutch Bros, Theory Collaborative, Downtown Java & Café, Déjà Brew and From the Hearth, which has two downtown locations. Not too far from downtown near Shasta High School is Old Shasta Coffee Company.
And don’t forget Caffe Pagato, which about five years ago opened on Butte Street near Shasta Regional Medical Center on the ground floor of the Caltrans building. Now Pagato has opened a second location in the lobby of Mercy Medical Center, calling it Pagato at Mercy.
They are all locally owned and operated.
Evergreen also features two boutique hotel rooms on the second story of the building it occupies.
But coffee complemented by a light food menu are the focus here.
The Coffmans also tore down the wall that separated an office space to expand the coffee shop with more seating. There’s seating out front and a covered porch in the back.
Kristine Diaz Coffman designed the new inside and Stephen Gretzinger of Old Soul Collective built out Diaz Coffman’s vision.
“We really feel like the city deserves the best and we wanted to give them a community space that we are really excited about and we feel the city is excited about, too,” Drew Coffman said.
The place was bustling with activity when I visited late Thursday morning, pretty much every seat was spoken for.
“Redding is a small town, but we want people to have some big city options,” manager Chris Wohrle said.
Evergreen doesn’t take itself too seriously, Wohrle said, pointing out that one of the menu items is a bowl of Cap’n Crunch cereal.
Meanwhile, Jenny Melchor, who manages Caffe Pagato, told me the business is carrying on its pay-it-forward theme at their new location inside Mercy. A black bulletin board hangs inside with the words “Pay It Forward” and notes from customers who’ve left credits.
“We have had over 100 people pay it forward,” Melchor said. “A couple of people, their father had been in the hospital for several days, and they were able to get coffee and treats from what people have paid forward. The board also has some inspirational messages.”
The idea of helping others comes from the Italian tradition of suspending coffee, where a customer will order and tell the clerk to suspend a coffee, paying in advance for a patron who maybe can’t afford a warm brew.
Caffe Pagato is owned by Redding businessman Mike Davis. Melchor has managed the business since its inception.
“The hospital has been amazing. It’s been so nice to have those built-in customers,” Melchor said.
With the amount of rain and snow this winter and spring, Lassen Volcanic National Park is still digging out.
That means the road through the park is still closed, and Lassen officials at this point have not announced an opening date.
Work started in late March.
“Literally as they plow they discover new things every day,” Lassen Superintendent Jim Richardson told me on Friday.
Trees down across the road are a common occurrence and it could take up to half a day to remove the down limbs and trunk, which delays the plowing.
“Or if they have a mechanical breakdown. Already we have had a couple of mechanical breakdowns and that slows you down,” Richardson said.
Even after crews clear a section of road, there’s the chance for more trees to come down, or the snowbanks built up from the plowing falling back into the road.
And the park got nearly 6 feet of new snow at the higher elevations when it was raining in the valley in May.
“If I have my crystal ball, I would say at the very end of June or very beginning of July,” Richardson said, adding that he hopes the road will be open for the busy Fourth of July holiday.
Richardson became superintendent at Lassen in early 2017, which also happened to be a heavy snow year at the park. The road didn’t open until July 26, the latest date since the park started keeping records in 1931.
How does this year compare?
“We are not quite at that record, but we are very close, so I commend our plow crews for the hard work,” Richardson said.
For the record, the road on the north side is open to the Devastated area. On the south side, Richardson told me they hope to have it open to Bumpass Hell this weekend. Right now, vehicles can get as far as Sulphur Works on the south side.
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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.