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Manteca couple gearing up to open Lincoln Cellar

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Manteca couple gearing up to open Lincoln Cellar

Chef Alex Moreno and his wife Alycia of Manteca are proud owners of the soon-to-be-open Lincoln Cellar. The wine bar featuring a fusion food cuisine and several microbrews had a sneak peek opening ...

VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin


POSTED August 28, 2014 12:15 a.m.

Lincoln Cellar is a new wine bar in the Lincoln Shopping Center.

While not scheduled to open to the public just yet, the establishment owned by Manteca couple, Executive Chef Alex Moreno and his wife Alycia, did receive some rave reviews during Stockton Beer Week.

Lincoln Cellar at 357 Lincoln Shopping Center – near Papavalos – welcomed customers during this time as a sneak peek.

 “We had a good first day (Monday) and we doubled (our attendance) that the following day,” Chef Alex said on Wednesday. “It’s been really encouraging.”

The business will officially open on Sept. 13, with the grand opening scheduled for Sept. 25.

“Our goal is to have multiple businesses,” Alycia said. “This is our jumping off point.”

For the past eight years, the Morenos have operated Say Grace Catering Company. 

They’ll bring that some of that eclectic menu consisting of a fusion of American, Asian, French, Italian and Mexican to Lincoln Cellar.

Chef Alex paired the various microbrews to Korean BBQ pork tacos, Baba Ghanoush (Mediterranean roasted egg plant spread with fresh herbs), Artisan sausage pretzel roll or Point Reyes grilled oysters.

He especially enjoys doing wine pairings with food.

Alex Moreno, like his wife, is a product of Manteca High. He’s a graduate of California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and spent over six years as an instructor at the Culinary Institute of Technology in Modesto.

 Talks of starting up the wine bar began in the spring when Alex worked as a part-time consultant with the owner of the Lincoln Shopping Center place on set wines.

Along the way, they developed a rapport.  “It made sense to come aboard fulltime,” Alex said.

Alycia added: “They shared a passion for the wine bar.”

During the sneak peek week, Lincoln Cellar brought out a few white wines – Il Torchio, Vermentino 2012 and Frank Family Vineyards’ 2012 Napa Chardonnay – and red wines such as Il Torchio, Rosso 2012 and, from Frank Family Vineyards, the 2011 Napa Valley zinfandel, the 2012 Napa “Carneros” pinot noir, and the 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, winner of the “Double Gold” and “Best of Class” at the New World International Wine Competition.

The Morenos are also looking to use their business to feature local farm fresh produce, in particular, seasonal items.

“We have the elements of world class ingredients right here,” Alex said.

He credited growing up in Manteca as one big reason for his awareness of the Central Valley’s cornucopia of resources.

 “We want to support the local agriculture,” Alex said. “That means minimizing how many hands (the goods and produce) touches.”

Services such Sysco or U.S. Foods are out.

Social media and the Lincoln Cellar menu will highlight locally grown produce, Alycia Moreno said.

As for meats, Lincoln Cellar will use organic-fed free range chickens and grass-fed beef.

Not to be lost in the shuffle is the brew selection. On tap during the Stockton Beer Week included Dust Bowl Brewing Company’s Stockton Session Amber Ale, Hops of Wrath IPA, Cherry Picker Belgian Fruit Ale, and the Baltic Porter.

From High Water Brewing are the Hop Riot IPA, Working Man American Pale Ale, and Another Kind of Frog Red Ale.

Bottled beer selections include Anchor Steam, Budweiser, Coors Light, and Lagunitas IPA, to name a few.

The interior of Lincoln Cellar consists of indoor and outdoor dining with the walls adorn by the works of local artists. Those pieces are also up for sale, Alycia said.

Another feature of the place is the wine emotion dispenser to allow connoisseurs to sample two-, three- and five- ounces of a particular wine.

For now, Lincoln Cellar, based on the liquor license, is only open to those ages 21 and older. But the Morenos are looking for that to change once they get established.

“We have our family. We want to eventually welcome other families to come here (to dine out),” Alycia said.

In addition, the Morenos would love nothing more but to expand their wine bar business into Manteca.

Lincoln Cellar will be closed after this week as the finishing touches are being applied in time for the upcoming opening date.

The Morenos see the wine bar fitting in nicely among the likes of Papavalos, Market Tavern, Bud’s Sea Food Restaurant, and fellow newcomer Midgley’s Public House.

“When people go out, they don’t go to just one place,” Alex Moreno said. “They like to hop around (to the nearby establishments).”

For more information Lincoln Cellar, log on to www.lincolncentershops.com.

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