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DeVincis owners return to Manteca to restore expectations for Italian deli
DeVinci’s Delicatessen owner Chris Trotter looks over the shoulder of nephew Justin while he stirs the sauce at the family’s Manteca location. After franchisee problems, the business is now back in family control. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Chris Trotter knows exactly how beneficial the bond of family can be.

All he has to do is look at the chain of DeVinci’s Italian Delicatessen that has grown to include eight locations – each one with the assistance of the member of his family – to see how powerful the blood line can be.

And after problems with a franchise in Manteca brought Trotter back to the community earlier this month to take over the establishment, he started by installing his nephew – who cut his teeth at the family’s original restaurant in the Venetian Shopping Center at the corner of Pershing Avenue and March Lane in Stockton.

“The first thing I’d like to do is apologize to the people here in Manteca for any bad experiences they may have had in the past – we’ve come back in here to make sure that doesn’t’ happen again,” Trotter said. “As a family restaurant we want to treat all of our customers as family and unfortunately that’s not something that happened here in the past.”

In fact, it was his love for family that led Trotter down the path that would ultimately lead to the establishment of one of Stockton’s most established eateries.

Fresh off of a real estate deal that netted him a considerable amount of cash at the time, Trotter – the youngest brother in the family – took a look around and saw that those who he looked up when he was growing weren’t doing as well as they could be.

Both were renting houses. Both had families.

When Trotter realized that one of his brothers had some experience as a cook, he decided to invest his money into something that would eventually grow into what it is today. It is an empire built on raviolis and love that includes eight dining locations and a Linden factory where they hand-roll all of their own ravioli, tortellini, and just recently cheese tortellini.

“Right now we just want to grow the stores that we have and in this came improve our relationship with our customers and show them what the DeVinci’s name is really all about,” Trotter said. “In this business it takes a little bit of caring, but when you appreciate the people that patronize you and they can sense that it goes a long way.”

But while it’s easy for someone like Trotter to just make verbal promises to make people feel good about his products or his intentions, he lets his actions back him up – like in the charity dinners that he donates food to in order to help everybody from high school band programs to sports teams.

With his nephew Justin at the helm, Trotter says that the problems that the Manteca site had been experiencing in the past – which tarnished the DeVinci’s name – won’t be happening anymore thanks to family oversight and a presence that will bring the warm and friendly atmosphere that helped turn what was just a small deli into a regional standard.

“He’s going to be the guy who everybody knows and he’ll know everyone’s name when they walk in the door,” Trotter said. “That’s the type of business that we’re all about.”

DeVinci’s is located at 1471 W. Yosemite Avenue, and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They also deliver. For more information call 823-2444.