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By Tim Hunt

New Vic's All-Star Kitchen owners have a long history here

Uploaded: Apr 16, 2020

Long-time Vic’s All-Star Kitchen server Laura Castro and her husband, Ernesto Castro, celebrated March 1 when they took over the Pleasanton institution from its founder Vic Malatesta.

As I reported last year, Vic was ready to join his wife in retirement and worked out a deal with the Castro’s and their partners, the Munoz family (father Antonio, daughter Jessica and son Antonio Jr.). She’s worked at Vic’s for 22 years and her husband cooked there for 11 years before leaving for another job—he’s now back in the kitchen.

The timing is providing to be both a major challenge and an opportunity.

The shelter-in-place order converted Vic’s to a takeout and delivery operation in mid-March. The partners already had updated the ingredients, shifting from frozen/pre-cooked product to fresh and adding new dishes. Because Vic updated the menu a few months before they’ve made limited changes—more are planned down the road.

They’re also planning to increase daily specials and are now offering a $7 early bird special from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday (the $9.95 breakfast at other times). One tweak to the menu was adding the Stay in Shape entrees such as an egg white scramble with soy chorizo or turkey sausage and avocado toast with arugula.

Once the shelter-in-place took effort, business held up in the takeout mode for a couple of weeks, but they were a bit concerned about it currently.

The forced closure created the opportunity to do cosmetic improvements in the restaurant without having to work around patrons or do it at night. They anticipate that work will be done before the current shelter-in-place order is scheduled to end in early May. The sports concept will continue.

The two families knew each other through church and Laura and Ernesto reached out to Jessica Munoz when they were considering buying the restaurant and needed a partner. She’s joined by her dad and her brother.

“More than anything we want to keep the restaurant as a Pleasanton staple. We just want to modernize it and to attract the new people that are moving to Pleasanton and the new generations that are coming to Pleasanton,” Laura said.

“We want our customers to feel like it's a safe space where they can come and always feel welcome. So we just want to continue innovating our menu but still keeping that hometown concept,” she said.

Both Ernesto and Laura emphasized that they will continue to support the schools and also want to continue to hire young people as their first employer.