The 6 Best “Hole in the Wall” Restaurants in Redding

By Mariah Jeantet

As we all know, looks can be deceiving. Especially when you’re new to an area, it’s easy to miss out on amazing food because they look, well, like a hole-in-the-wall. They’re usually small, indistinct and very, very casual. The idea of running a restaurant out of a place that wasn’t always a restaurant, or where there’s little to no ambiance is kind of cool, especially when the food keeps you coming back for more.

These are some of the places I most frequent in our local area. It has nothing to do with their décor, service or the atmosphere, it’s the grub baby. The grub! Leave it to the locals like myself to guide you and give you a little taste of what you might be missing out…

Maria’s Top Picks:

1. La Cocina De Chuy

Say that really fast – ten times! It’s extremely common in Mexico for people to give nicknames to names like “Pancho” for Francisco or “Chuy” for Jesus. Well, La Cocina De Chuy is “Chuy’s Kitchen” for short. If you drive fast, you’ll miss this place on Eureka Way, so pay attention and look for the blue restaurant next to the gas station.

My favorite dish: Chile Rellenos or Arepas (the Venezuelan version of the Mexican Torta). Owner’s wife Ruth is from Venezuela. She’s the first person to greet you.


2030 Eureka Way

Redding CA 96001 

(530) 262-8646 

2. The Airpark Café

Go for the experience and come back for the food. When you need a change of pace, try the Airpark Café, one of my kid’s favorite. If the weather’s good, you’ll want to sit outside and watch all the action while you enjoy your omelet and on your way out, be sure to visit the pilot store downstairs.

Yelper Review: “My wife and I have lived around the area for a long time, but we have never eaten here. The idea of eating at an “airport” sounds unappetizing. I was wrong. Give this little spot a try. I am always looking for the perfect pancake and this one has to have some of the best! I was pleasantly surprised and will go back for sure. My wife and I had breakfast this time and will go back for lunch to see if it is as good. Thanks Airport Cafe for an unexpected surprise. We will be back!”

My favorite dish: Open-face Tostada Omelet


2600 Gold St.

Redding, CA

(530) 215-3810

3. Janya’s Thai Cuisine

You know that question, “if you had to eat your last meal on earth what would it be?” My answer would be “Chicken Fried Rice.” Any day, all day!


630 N. Market St. 

Redding CA 96001 

(530) 243-7682 

4. Jack’s Grill (a Redding Landmark)

You want to feel cool, calm and collected? Go to Jack’s! It’s like walking into the 1930’s – so unassuming and yet so classic. I know I don’t need to convince you if you’re a local, but if you’re not, just take our word for it. You’ll love it. As one Yelper said, “It will knock your socks off.” Nuff said!

It’s so dark in there I can only see his bright, white teeth. Again, that’s part of the coolness and experience…not the white teeth but the darkness! Now, to be fair Jack’s doesn’t quite fit the “hole in the wall” type because if there’s one thing Jack’s Grill does not lack is ambiance.

This place happens to be my husband’s favorite place for a juicy steak.


1743 California St 

Redding, CA 96001

(530) 241-9705

5. Country Organics

So, here’s the deal – if you would have asked me a month ago where to go for the healthiest, freshest, yummiest and quickest food in town – I would have never said Country Organics. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. But that all changed thanks to my friend Marty who raved about these crazy wraps. So I gave it a chance and what do you know…been going there every week since!

Yep. Every week – I’d go daily if I could. (Insider’s tip: go on Thursdays and get your card punched twice. You’re welcome). You wouldn’t think of this place as a “restaurant” but just step inside and savor one of these wraps (my favorite is the pesto wrap w/grilled turkey, oh man!)


2745 Bechelli Ln 

Redding, CA 96002

(530) 223-5775

6. Don’s Sandwich Shop

Boys and girls, I don’t do sandwiches very much. Yeah, I know…It’s a taco thing. The reason this made it to my top 6 is their hot pastrami on rye, it’s my husband’s favorite! These guys hustle in the kitchen and their creations are unreal. I haven’t had beef roast as good as theirs here in town, and it’s cut right from the roast in front of you.

There’s so many delicious choices you really owe it to yourself to try it at least once. Driving into Don’s Sandwich Shop you’ll feel like you’re there to meet your mechanic, but don’t panic, it’s all good. You’re in the right place.

My favorite dish: Chicken Blueberry Salad


3034 Bechelli Ln.

Redding, CA 96002 

(530) 223-3744

This is by no means a complete list of hole-in-the-wall restaurants so please feel free to chime in – where do you like to go and why? When your visitors come into town where do you take them?

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


  1. I agree on #1! New to Redding area but accidentally discovered #1 a year ago just visiting the area. Really great chips & salsa. Love the simple fresh mini tostadas too. I add sour cream and avo or guacamole to everything and they roll with my specifications and feed me well! Looking forward to trying the rest on the list!

  2. Completely missed the San Francisco Deli on Athens I think is the street,absolutely the best sandwiches anywhere in Redding ,maybe in the north state.

  3. Smokin’ Joes out on Airport Rd. Best fries I’ve ever had in my life. Pretty sure there isn’t a wrong choice on the menu. My family and I (wife and 2 kids) do half of the family meal deal and still have enough for lunch and dinner!

  4. Dont forget about POP’s 50’s Place!! Family owned for over 25 years…..homemade food like the old Mom and Pop shops! The fry sauce is to die for….the Philly’s are HUGE!

  5. Sakura Sushi definitely fits in the category of “hole in the wall”. The description on Google: Unassuming restaurant with traditional Japanese decor serving classic raw seafood specialties. It’s highly rated and my husband says it’s the best sushi he’s ever had.

    1. My wife is Japanese and when we met we were both attending Shasta College. She came as a foreign student via a program sponsored between Shasta and Butte colleges. While living in Redding, Sakura Sushi quickly became the only place she would go for Japanese food of any kind. She tried every restaurant in town and said that this place was the only one with a shred of authenticity. It was also a nice chance to speak in her mother tongue since the shop’s owner is fluent. Definitely recommended.

  6. Being new to Redding, this was helpful, thank you. Have you done an article on the best specials in Redding? Like what day should you eat where to get the best food and best deals?

  7. Having grown up in the area, I didn’t know we had so many good places to eat. Over the past few years, I’ve discovered Taj Mahal out on Hilltop, Dill’s Deli off of Twin View, and Vintage Public House over by the Cascade Theatre. Definitely check those out if you’re in the area.

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