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home : features : features April 28, 2016

1/2/2013 8:31:00 AM
Local eateries: one closes, one moves, one opens its doors
Review/Matt SantosPatrick Baize  and his family worked late into the night this past week, getting their new Checkered Apron Bakery and Café ready for the Jan. 2 grand opening.
Review/Matt Santos

Patrick Baize and his family worked late into the night this past week, getting their new Checkered Apron Bakery and Café ready for the Jan. 2 grand opening.

Matt Santos

Chino Valley eateries are playing a game of musical chairs this month, with one closure, one move and expansion, and one brand new restaurant.

Java Chuck Wagon owners Rob and Sara Arnold announced earlier this year that they would be closing their doors. They served their last donut on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Seeing opportunity instead of another empty store front, Patrick and Sylvia Baize decided to move their Lunch Box Restaurant from 380 Butterfield Road behind Chase Bank to the Java Chuck Wagon location at 1120 S. Highway 89.

"The Lunch Box has been a growing business for us," said Baize, as he, his wife, and their children all worked on redecorating the new location this past week. "This location is about three times the size of our current space, and we have heard many times that we don't have enough seating. We needed a larger place to serve quicker the customers we have and also in hopes of adding more. We're going to offer our customers the same specials that they are used to."

Some of the Lunch Box items available in the new location will be their signature hamburgers, salads, and local favorites - French toast made from fresh baked bread, and cinnamon rolls made from scratch each morning.

Baize said he and his family also will continue some of the Java Chuck Wagon items, including breakfast burritos and the donuts that have made the Chuck Wagon a favorite morning sweet spot for many locals.

Some of the Java Chuck Wagon staff will also remain with the Baizes, who will open up under the name The Checkered Apron Bakery and Café, with a Wednesday, Jan. 2, grand opening.

The Checkered Apron will be open from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Baize says he hopes to add dinner hours in the future.

The Lunch Box move comes as good news for barbecue fans, as the Butterfield address won't be dark for long.

Eric Vernier and Leslie Hoffman, the team that has been operating Big Daddy E's Smokin BBQ and Catering since 2006, will be moving into the old Lunch Box location mid-January.

"We have a pretty good following with our catering business and have been so busy I can't see straight," said Vernier. "Our true signature dish is our smoked tri-tip, but everything we serve is real barbecue. All of the dishes, our potato salads and coleslaw, will be made fresh."

Vernier, who has been a chef since graduating the Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts in the mid-1980s, is no stranger to the restaurant business.

"I've been involved in opening about 10 restaurants over the years. We plan on a mid-January soft opening with our grand opening to be some time in February," said Vernier. "I know from past experience that if a grand opening is your very first night it can be a bad experience and I don't want that to be anybody's impression of us."

Vernier said that while he and Hoffman will be concentrating on serving the lunchtime traffic to start, they plan on adding theme and regional night dinners in the near future. They also will be expanding the outdoor seating area soon.

"Once the weather warms up we hope to add some theme nights, maybe an Italian Night, or a Mardi Gras Night, with some specialty dishes on the menu," said Vernier.

For information on The Checkered Apron Bakery and Café, including group and meeting reservations, call 928-636-0902 or 928-636-4144.

For information on Daddy E's Smokin BBQ call 928-499-8814 or visit

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013
Article comment by: Lily Kevorkian

oh yeah...right around the corner from our office ( Chino Valley Eye Clinic) and I have tasted their food....soooooo good!!!! I see BBQ lunches in my future!!

Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Dylan

A BBQ place sounds great! Although there are some good choices for eating out, we need more restaurants in a bad way in Chino Valley, especially since the fish fry stopped. Do it right and I'll be a regular.

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