Travel back in time to the late 1970s, back to a time when there's nary a Starbucks to be found anywhere, a time when good coffee is extremely hard to find, especially in the hinterlands. Sure, you can get a cup of espresso in places like North Beach in San Francisco or Little Italy in New York City, but if you are a constantly touring musician with a yen for good food and drink, you know as well as you know the highway that a non-greasy meal is not an easy thing to find, and most coffee served in American diners is so thin and weak you can read a newspaper through it.
Back then, Norton Buffalo was one such musician, playing a gig at the now-defunct Cabos, a nightclub in Chico that brought prominent blues and rock artists to town every weekend.
For those who don't know him, Norton Buffalo is a harmonica virtuoso, a guy who had already been making his living as a performer for a half-dozen years or so, back in those days when he first came to play Chico one fine weekend, in that place that now houses Herreid's Music. Norton Buffalo is one of those Italian-Americans whose idea of la dolce vita begins with the notion of good food, and so good food and good coffee were on his mind that weekend almost from the moment he got to town.
"When I first met Angelo Lucido," he said, "I was playing at Cabos with my band, probably around 1979. Don DiBono, who owned Cabos, was a great friend of Angelo's, and he took many of his bands to Angelo's place for dinner. Angelo had one of his first restaurants down the street from the club on Park. It was a small place.
"Angelo and I and his brother, Vince, just hit it off. Those guys have 'big' Sicilian personalities. And there was all that great food. So we always made a point of going to his restaurant whenever we came to Chico, even the first few times I was playing at the Sierra Nevada Brewery.
"I especially loved the big place he later opened on Park [where the ARC of Butte County now has its offices]. I would hang out in the kitchen and get him to show me how to make some of the dishes. His brother, Vince, even jammed with my band up on stage a couple times."
That was then.
Flash forward some 30 years and, after being out of the restaurant business for more than a decade, Lucido is back with a new establishment over on Nord Avenue, a place he calls Cucina Trinacria.
Dinner from 5:00 Tuesday - Saturdays