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Photograph by George Sakkestad

Both Ends Now: Patty and Russell Zoccoli now make lunch specials at the south end of the mall.

Lunch Powered

Zoccoli's expands its Pasta House location to deli dimensions

By Janet Blaser

EVER SINCE the Zoccoli family bought the Red and White Grocery Store in 1949 (in the same location where the deli currently is, at the north end of Pacific Avenue), it's been successful at feeding this community. The Red & White was operated as a grocer's with home delivery until the mid-'70s, when the influx of big supermarket chains began to affect its business. At that point, according to Russell Zoccoli, the family decided to "start making some sandwiches," and the rest is Santa Cruz history. Manager Russell, working closely with big brother Craig's wife, Patty, has watched (like everyone else) the demographic of the downtown lunch crowd change. They know that lots of people only have half an hour for lunch and need something that can be prepared quickly and eaten the same way. And if you're at one end of Pacific, you don't have time to walk to the other. Changing with the times seems to come naturally to this family, and so it has done it again. Zoccoli's opened its second deli location barely two weeks ago, expanding the offerings at its Pasta House on Front Street and doing a bit of remodeling as well.

You'll notice that the outdoor patio, wedged between the Pontiac Grill and Zoccoli's entrance, has fancy new window-box dividers, faux marble tables and large market umbrellas. But the biggest change is the menu. Now you can get all the sandwiches the "other" Zoccoli's is known for--and then some. The new menu offers 10 special sandwiches (like the Castroville Italian and the New Yorker), eight basic varieties (including turkey, pastrami or tuna), seven hot sandwiches (Italian Sausage and Sweet Peppers, Chicken Pesto), six pasta lunches (all about $5.95), and soups and salads, too. If you're really pressed for time, orders can be called in. Zoccoli's Pasta House and Deli is at 431 Front St., Santa Cruz, and is open weekdays for lunch from 11am to 4pm, and for dinner from 5 to 9pm. To phone in orders, call 423.1717.

Ice, Ice Baby

Ten years in this town, and I'd never done it. Thought about it, but never actually gone and done it. So, on a bright and sunny afternoon, with a carload of hot and sweaty kids, I decided to, as the ads say, Just Do It. Tumbling out of the car with big smiles on our faces, we headed into the Twin Lakes Market & Deli on Seventh Avenue in search of "real" Hawaiian shave ice.

How many hundreds of times had we driven by that big faded sign out front? Who knows? But suffice it to say, we won't be able to pass by anymore without fond memories of this sweet refreshment. The owner, who prefers to remain anonymous, takes his craft seriously, mounding the ice carefully and making sure you get just the right amount of cherry, root beer, piña colada, bubble gum or half a dozen other kinds of syrups. They come in one size--giant--for $3, and you can have two syrup flavors for an additional 25 cents. And don't think you won't be able to eat it all--big as those cups look, remember: it's only water.

What could possibly be so memorable about ice and flavored syrup, you might ask? Well, it's finely shaved ice and fresh-crushed to order, too, but still ... it is only ice. Couldn't we just make it at home? We tried, with our trusty Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker, but somehow it wasn't the same. This particular "real" Hawaiian shave ice has a texture that's silky and crunchy all at the same time, and combined with your choice of the thick, sticky-sweet syrups, well, it's a child's delight--no matter how old you are. And on a hot day? 'Nuff said.

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From the May 10-17, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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