Authenticity is key to ethnic food stores and Turlock is home to a European grocery gem.
Ishtar Mediterranean, located on the business saturated side of Monte Vista Avenue features a grocery style market with a deli as well.
“We sell pretty much everything,” said Joe Tio, owner of Ishtar Mediterranean.
From fresh grilled kebabs (including chicken, beef and whatever special is that week) to donuts and fresh vegetables, Ishtar Mediterranean covers it all.
“People really enjoy our kebabs and different types of food,” said Tio. “We have what you see from all over.”
The genre of food sold in his market, he says, is mainly European but more specifically from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and “just all over.”
That was evident in his store.
Every aisle features something different, something unique and multiple varieties of each food item displayed.
“I sell over 82 different kinds of teas and 31 different kinds of rice,” said Tio.
It doesn’t stop there. An entire shelf stacking 3 rows high is filled with different types of honey and jams.
Tio explained that the store wasn’t always how it is today and that he is proud of what he’s made of it.
“I’m from New York but moved here last year and bought the store,” he said. “I’ve been so busy since then there’s no way I’ll go back.”
The section of his store also features a fresh produce section complete with pomegranates, oranges, white grapes, apple ladies, lemon sweets, cucumbers, Italian, eggplant, tomatoes, limes and persimmons, to name a few.
When asked if Tio plans on staying in Turlock as long as the store runs, his reply is true to same opinion people have in the valley.
“I like it here, it’s quiet,” he said. “I think I’ll stay.”