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Stocktons de facto downtown gathering place
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The familiar Lincoln Center tower has been a fixture for over five decades. - photo by Photo Contributed

WHAT: Lincoln Center

WHERE: Pacific Avenue and West Benjamin Holt Drive, Stockton

HOW TO GET THERE: From Highway 99, take Hammer Lane west and turn left on to Pacific Avenue. Go southbound for about a mile. From Interstate 5, take Ben Holt Drive and go east for about three miles.

MORE INFORMATION: (209) 477-4868 or log on to

A few months ago, I caught sight of an elderly couple doing lunch outside of Podesto’s Market.

They purchased food items from the store’s full-service delicatessen and, bringing along a table cloth and place setting from home, transformed the wrought iron table into a spread from right out of the pages of Sunset Magazine.

Podesto’s has been a fixture at Lincoln Center since 1982.

This family owned and operated market has anchored Stockton’s premiere shopping and dining experience for over 60 years.

Located at Pacific Avenue and West Benjamin Holt Drive, Lincoln Center is what downtown should be and more.

The ambiance is welcoming, relaxed and vibrant. Lincoln Center is a mix of upscale shops and boutiques, with restaurants ranging casual family to fine dining.

The open-air atmosphere includes some store front parking.

Podesto’s, meanwhile, is more than just a supermarket. The deli and bakery feature made-to-order mouth-watering sandwiches. Barbecue ribs and tri-tip roasts are also served up nice and hot.

This is one of the few supermarkets worth browsing around. The choices and presentation of the full-service meat counter and the bakery are impressive enough.

Take a walk along the aisles and prepared to be wowed by the thousands of special, organic and natural imported items.

Podesto’s (open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) is just one of the stops while taking a stroll along Lincoln Center.

Other places to check out include:

Lino Bella (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.) – This place is your source for the finest European linens not to mention unique gift ideas. Lino Bella is home to an extensive collection of bath and body products, Italian dishware, distinctive furniture, and curious goods, to name a few.

Flair Boutique (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.) – Open since 1980, this specialty boutique offers contemporary, classic, and refined designer women’s clothing along with European collections and accessories.

Stage Two (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.) – This is home to dancewear, dance shoes and all dancing related accessories. Open since 1982, Stage Two also offers yoga wear and a complete line of swim wear and accessories.

Artesian Natural Foods (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.) – A large selection of vitamins and supplements can be found here along with gluten-free foods, and grain-fed beef, lamb and raw dairy items.

C.R. Porter Home Décor (open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.) – When it comes to home furnishings, this place is a one-stop shop for home décor, gift items, and pillows to fit any budget. Special order items can be purchased via catalogues.

Legacy Antiques and Interiors (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) – This store specializes in hand-selected European antiques, high-quality new furniture, and elegant wedding gifts and accessories. Design associates are also on hand.

Papapavlo’s Bistro & Bar (open daily from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.) – This family-owned restaurant caters to everything from special occasions to casual gatherings. The open kitchen invites patrons to watch the chef prepare their meals.

Sho Mi Japanese Cuisine (open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., lunch; Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., dinner; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) – Hailed as one of the best sushi restaurants in San Joaquin County. Other Japanese foods are also offered.

Stockton Joe’s (open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 4 p.m.) – Stockton Joe’s offers top quality food, friendly staff, and an award-winning lounge voted the best Happy Hour.

Whirlow’s Tossed and Grilled (open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 3 p.m.) – This is a quick-serve restaurant that offers quality food such as grilled chicken, smoked tri-tip, baby back ribs, tender pulled pork, and a signature roasted turkey and entrée salads.

•Bud’s Seafood Grille (open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m.) – Bud’s provides an extensive menu of fresh seafood. However, beef and chicken entrees are also available along with salads and homemade desserts. Early dinner specials are offered Sunday through Thursday (4 to 6 p.m.) along with daily Happy Hours (4 to 6:30 p.m.).

DOMO Japanese Sushi Grill & Bar (open daily from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) – Patrons can sit back and enjoy Teppan Yaki, from lobster to filet mignon and chicken.

Lincoln Center, in addition, hosts a variety of events throughout the year.

“Lincoln Live!” is a popular summer fixture that features live entertainment and antique cars.


209 Staff Reporter