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Finley’s: Good food along with plenty of spirits
” Finley’s Bar & Grill is located along the busy Airport Way not far from French Camp Road - photo by VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin

Finley’s Bar & Grill has long been known for good food and plenty of spirits.

The latter can especially be taken quite literally today given that it’s Halloween.

Motorists and truckers roar past this old Manteca establishment once known as Tally’s and Miller’s Post at 10477 S. Airport Way on a daily basis.

Some are aware of the eerie history of the place owned by Deborah and Mark Finley for nearly 25 years.

About eight years ago, a local group of researchers of the paranormal were granted permission to investigate paranormal activity at Finley’s.

Back then, Dana Mierkey, who was part of the Ghost Research Investigators of the Paranormal or GRIP, was having dinner at the restaurant when she recalled feeling a strong presence of paranormal activity.

Deborah Finley had long sensed that she wasn’t alone. She still feels that way today, referring to her out-of-the-ordinary experiences as that of a force, energy, entity or even ghost.

“I’ve seen Jack here,” she said on Tuesday.

Jack is John Franklin “Frank” Jack, who was the first property owner of the building.

Little is known about the origins of the place or Jack, for that matter.

According to the Finleys, attempts to secure information on the first property owner were mostly futile since his only child, Muriel Jack Pierson Lund, was already at an advanced age when asked about the history.

Family members were able to pool some information during a 1991 reunion in Acampo.

Frank Jack was known to be an outdoors man as well as an excellent ballroom dancer. He was the fourth of five brother and was married to Gertrude Brown, who was an accomplished piano player and acclaimed excellent cook.

Frank Jack’s principle occupation was that of realtor under Joe Sacco of Stockton.

After losing his real estate position due to a reorganization, Frank and Gertrude opened a grocery store and cardroom at the present location of Finley’s Bar & Grill.

Frank Jack was 57 when he died of complications from a broken arm on Feb. 8, 1928. He was buried at nearby Park View Cemetery.

Some believe that Jack suffered that fatal injury to some not-so-happy gamblers as a result of misdealing during a card game.

The card room was in the area of the current kitchen, Deborah Finley said.

She also witnessed some possible paranormal activity in the kitchen during the GRIP team investigation of 2010.

Other paranormal investigating groups have come near and far to Finley’s Bar & Grill in recent years. It got to the point that Deborah Finley had to cut back on these disruptive practices at her place.

Last Saturday, she hosted her annual Halloween party featuring palm readers and aura photography not to mention some 60 to 70 in attendance.

Finley’s Bar & Grill is open today. Just like any other day.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail