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Around Pleasanton: Happy retirements to Vic and Rick

 

Rick's Picks, a popular retail store just a short walk south on Main Street, is closing soon, and Vic's All Star Kitchen, a restaurant that has anchored the south end of Main Street for the last 26 years, is seeking a buyer.

For years, Vic Malatesta's All Star Kitchen has delivered a starry mix of American food, fast service and a bustling, cheery atmosphere.

Vic has teamed his love of sports with his passion for good food to create a solid dining experience with a local sports theme. The walls of his 155-seat restaurant are adorned with photos of teams from Foothill and Amador Valley high schools for that last two decades.

For 33 years, he was also part of the chain gang at Foothill home football games, one in a group tasked with staffing the first-down markers and chains along the visitors' sideline.

The menu features specials named for coaches of both schools and a banquet room is even called "The Coaches' Room."

Vic, who comes from a family of chefs and restaurant owners, is selling his namesake restaurant "to head outside and enjoy some fresh air" while he can. Now 74, he's endured a triple heart bypass, had both knees replaced and had back and cataract surgery. "I think I'm the real bionic man," he said.

He's had a remarkable career. He served two years in the Navy, including in Vietnam. After college, he worked at and managed a number of restaurants, was beverage director for Holiday Inn, food service director at Chevron and a district manager for Taco Bell.

In 1994, Vic bought the Town House Coffee Shop at 201 Main St. "It's been a love story with Pleasanton ever since," he said.

He's been president of the Pleasanton Downtown Association three times, chairman of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce and president of the Kiwanis Club of Pleasanton.

Like Vic, although younger at 58 years old, Rick Hirshberg has also decided that it's time to take a break after nearly four decades of operating retail businesses.

He closed his Rick's Picks store on Hartz Avenue in Danville three years ago after a 12-year run. After 16 years in Pleasanton, Rick's Picks at 719 Main St. is closing, too. A liquidation sale is now underway.

Rick is originally from Boston. He began to work in retail soon after graduating from the University of Vermont, and learned about deep discount retailing working for Towle Silversmith while managing its eight factory outlet stores in the Northeast.

He earned his MBA at Boston University, then his wife Rene, who is from Monterey, persuaded him to move to California in 1991. They first lived in San Francisco and Rick opened an outlet store in Vacaville called Silver and More. He added stores in Gilroy and Milpitas, but after 10 years began winding down those businesses to partake in the dot-com boom, at buylink.com.

Rick was living in Danville when he spotted the vacant storefront on Hartz. He told Dolores Fox Ciardelli, Pleasanton Weekly's features editor: "I always wanted to open a store like this. The timing was right. The store was available and I could always get the product."

After 36 years in retail, the time is right for Rick to retire and close his remaining store in downtown Pleasanton.

Rick said luckily Rene grew up with a father in retail so she understood the long hours. But now, like him, she probably won't miss them either.

Editor's note: Jeb Bing is editor emeritus for the Pleasanton Weekly. His "Around Pleasanton" columns typically run on the second and fourth Fridays of every month.

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Grace Xerri
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 9, 2019 at 6:57 pm

Oh my gosh !!! My most favorite places are closing !!
Vic's is a staple that will be sorely missed...and Ric's Picks my go to for everything under the sun is leaving as well. I have spent many hours in both places and I just want to say good luck to both and may you have many more years to do all the things that make you happy. Thank you so much for making me happy.


Like this comment
Posted by JeriAnn
a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 10, 2019 at 11:15 pm

Oh it is with mixed feelings to hear this. Congratulations and best wishes on the retirements, but we will miss both establishments. Hoping the next owner of Vic’s maintains it’s character, charm and uniqueness to Pleasanton that we have always known and loved.


Like this comment
Posted by justthefacts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2019 at 7:57 am

justthefacts is a registered user.

Thank you Vic for supporting high school sports. Enjoy your well earned retirement!!


2 people like this
Posted by Lisa. Brown
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 14, 2019 at 10:59 am

Both of these establishments will be missed.


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