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North Butte Street restaurant expanding on the run
A large-screen TV sits where a bandstand and dance floor will go some day.
There is room for more for tables and chairs in front of the bar, and room behind it for more kinds and styles of beer.
But the truth is, Mike Monahan and Heidi Hunt have just been too busy to get busy with all of that.
"It's been overwhelming," Monahan said during a post-lunch lull on Monday.
"When we opened, we figured we would get 10 to 15 (people) for lunch ... and on our busiest days we have been getting 20 to 30."
That does not include the takeout orders, which Monahan said, seems to always coincide with when the restaurant is busy.
Yeti's Pub & Grill opened in mid-May to a rush of customers from the start.
The name is a nickname Monahan picked up when he was involved with an amateur football team in the area. He is now vice president of the youth football program.
It is in the Willow Walk Mall on North Butte Street, replacing the short-lived Trammel's Public.
It offers a pub fare of hot dogs, hamburgers and sandwiches, specializing in smoked meats and a range of barbecue sauces from mild to killer.
The business has been so good that they just hired two waitresses, who also help with pre-meal prepping. And the restaurant will soon expand its hours, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
And customers have been raving.
"It was terrific," said Collin Finch of Chico, who was delivering supplies in the Willows area and stopped by for lunch.
"I come over here a few times a month, and I will definitely make it a regular stop," Finch said.
In the coming weeks, Monahan plans to expand the dinner menu with tri-tip and ribs, on weekends.
They also plan to offer entertainment in the very near future.
This is not Monahan's first bar and grill.
"In the mid-1990s, I owned one in Atwater, and one north of Yreka in Hornbrook," Monahan explained.
The Atwater establishment was doing well until the nearby military base shut down, and that is when he joined with some family members to run the food operation at a 97-acre campground area in Hornbrook.
But is love of cooking started much earlier — particularly smoking meats.
As he expands the menu, he also will expand the beer choices, which in time, he hopes will include his own label.
"I have been brewing my own beer since the mid-1990s," he said, "and I hope to bring it in here."
Hunt said she was excited when Monahan approached her with the idea.
The couple met a couple of years ago when she was visiting a friend in Willows. Hunt is from the Yuba City area.
While she did not have much experience in the restaurant industry, she has had plenty in customer service, and she enjoys meeting people.
She said the pub also has given her a direct connection to Willows, and she no longer feels like the outsider.
"I think that was something I needed," Hunt said.
She hopes to reach out to the business community and offer the restaurant as a good place for them to come for a lunch meeting or some other event.
Ultimately, though, Monahan has a specific vision for the place.
"It is going to be a sports bar, that is what we wanted (from the start)" said Monahan, who also hopes to buy a full liquor license when one comes available in Glenn County.