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Restaurants and other downtown businesses near the Regal Cinemas Centre Stadium 16 draw plenty of foot traffic throughout the day.


POSTED December 31, 2011 1:51 a.m.

STOCKTON - From the windows of his business located at 155 N. Hunter St., Tom Dickey can view downtown Stockton’s foot traffic.

Most are there to catch a movie at the Regal Cinemas Centre Stadium 16 and IMAX.

He’s the owner of the Beach Hut Deli, which is conveniently located in the heart of the City of Stockton’s renovation plans that started about a dozen years ago. Included is the Bob Hope Theatre, Hotel Stockton, Dean DeCarli Waterfront Square, San Joaquin RTD Downtown Transit Center, Weber Point Events Center, Stockton Arena, Banner Island Ballpark, and University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, to name a few.

A 1994 graduate of Edison High, Dickey became a franchise owner not too long after coming across a Beach Hut Deli in Sacramento.

“I liked the atmosphere, I liked the beer (20 different brews on draft), and I really liked the sandwiches,” he said on Wednesday.

On Jan. 15, Dickey along with his wife, Nikki, will celebrate the fourth year anniversary of the business being at the same location (they’re also expecting their first child in February).

“We chose downtown because of what the city was doing to revitalize the area,” he said. “Since I was born and raised here I wanted to make a contribution.”

His Beach Hut Deli is one of 26 located on the West Coast. He serves up hot sandwiches – the Malibu, for example, has chopped pastrami and Swiss cheese served on toasted bread – and cold sandwiches, with “Surfin’ Bird” consisting of turkey, avocado, bacon and cream cheese being the popular choice among the regular patrons.

His regulars are folks from the nearby businesses or employees of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.

“Most of our customers are from out of town who came here after doing jury duty,” Dickey said.

He also supports the nearby businesses.

Those who grew up in Stockton are familiar with the downtown Mexican restaurants such as Cancun, Casa Flores, Tio Pepe II, or Xochimilco – “Xochi’s” for short among the regulars – Bradley’s American bistro, and Yasoo Yani featuring an array of Greek foods.

West of downtown is the Waterfront Warehouse featuring the Stockton Marina and the Joan Darrah Promenade. The Children’s Museum is located directly across the street.

The Warehouse is also home to the Chitiva’s Salsa and Sports Bar – free lessons in Salsa dancing is offered at least once a week – and Nena’s Restaurant.

Back to the Beach Hut Deli – founded in 1981 by Troy Feist of Granite Bay, who was 19 at the time – Dickey’s place has a resort atmosphere consisting of beach boards serving as tables in the private booths and sandwiches served on Frisbee plates.

Those working at the nearby movie theater or, say, Misaki, the neighboring Japanese restaurant and home to the deep-fried banana split, might stop by for lunch or just to hang out.

“All the businesses around here are like one big family,” Dickey said. “We all look out for each other.”

Perhaps the sign at the front counter says it all: “Good food. Good friends. Good times.”

— Vince Rembulat

staff reporter

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