Valley girl

A young chef lures drivers off I-5

Rebecca Reichardt could have opened her restaurant in Sacramento, or even San Francisco. Instead, she stayed in Woodland, where she was raised, and where she still lives.

Though she's a hometown girl through and through, Reichardt did live in Sacramento for four months, taking courses at American River College's culinary program and working at Paragary's, a well-known Sacramento restaurant. She stuck with the job, not school: "I was learning more at work, and they were paying me," she laughs. And, she says, "I liked the speed and the pressure and the people."

Apparently, it liked her too. Now, at age 27, she's packing in crowds at Tazzina Bistro, which opened last year along Woodland's quiet Main Street. The bistro, with a changing menu of inventive New American fare like sweetbreads, a Kobe beef burger, and fried green tomato salad, has lured visitors from as far away as Oregon and Washington― most of them venturing off Interstate 5―but it also has an enthusiastic following with a broad cross section of locals.

The support from locals is only fitting, given Reichardt's emphasis on buying from area farmers and on helping her hometown come into its own. "People have known that Woodland could do a lot more and had resources that weren't being tapped," she says. "Woodland is proud that someone is using their ingredients, and they show that in their support." ―Kate Washington

INFO: Tazzina Bistro ($$; lunch Tue-Sat, dinner Tue-Sun, breakfast Sat, brunch Sun; 614 Main St., Woodland; 530/661- 1700)