Running a Mexican restaurant was in Octavio Cruces’ blood. After all, his family had owned Mexican restaurants throughout Stockton for more than 17 years, and growing up, Octavio had learned the business from the ground up—washing dishes, cooking food, serving customers, and even tending bar.
Guided by those experiences, he founded his own now-thriving business, Casa Flores Marina, which has been lauded by local diners and reporters from The Record alike. Octavio oversees kitchen staffers who fold fresh, homemade ingredients into authentic Mexican dishes as bartenders blend premium silver, reposado, and anejo tequilas into margaritas. Colorful flags and Mexican artwork adorn the dining-room walls, while numerous tabletops speckle the sunny outdoor courtyard. On Wednesdays, the restaurant hosts live performances ranging from local bands to lone mariachis delivering lengthy Shakespearean monologues.
In 1959, Straw Hat created the very first California pizza crust. Different from any other crust at the time, the layered, flaky bread crunched like a cracker and carried Straw Hat's signature sauce to mouths with ease. More than 50 years later, this recipe for hearty, flavorful pizzas has changed very little. But while Straw Hats' pizza twirlers still cover their crispy dough in a secret sauce, their menu has expanded to included hot wings, hot sandwiches, and a slew of beers. Diners can also pick and choose from the salad bar, which previously existed only in pizza-parlor legend. Straw Hat's locations often boast high-definition TVs, video arcades, and play places for children.
Diners can order dishes as varied as salmon in a teriyaki sauce to steak fajitas to Tuscan turkey burgers topped with a pesto cream sauce. To complement these dishes, guests can order a beer, wine, or cocktail from the extensive drink list. There are drinks that complement every style of dish, with sangria pairing well with the freshly caught fish of the day and mojitios pairing well with spicier food. Breakfast is served all day, and the menu has a wide selection of soups, salads, burgers and more. A full bar offers happy hour from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a late happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to close.
Ono Hawaiian BBQ brings the island to the mainland with tender meats soaked in made-from-scratch marinades. Chefs hand roll chicken katsu in panko bread crumbs to give it a fresh, crispy texture, and assemble generous portions of crispy shrimp, island whitefish, and barbecue chicken in the seafood mix.
For more than 30 years, the chefs of De Vinci’s Elk Grove have been hard at work perfecting the traditional Italian recipes that stock their deli counter. They begin every morning with their hands floury, crafting doughs that will form the base of housemade foccacia breads, cheese-filled ravioli, and custom sandwiches. Joined occasionally by a fluffy ravioli mascot in a toque, staff combine dishes into prearranged packages ready for the family dinner table or parcel out single dishes by the pint, quart, gallon, or 10-gallon hat.