Dozens of new restaurants spice up dining options

Dozens of new restaurants spice up dining options

Sandra Sunio, Staff Writer

For years, Stockton has had a bad reputation for being one of the most miserable cities in the nation — and many residents admit to turning to neighboring cities for sources of food or entertainment.

“I enjoy going to other cities so that I can venture out and try new things like different foods, fun activities, and to just have a good time with my friends,” sophomore Jaelyn Ha said.

However, that may change as Stockton welcomes many new restaurants to town. Within the past year, about 20 new restaurants have chosen Stockton to expand their business.

Lincoln Center opened up Prime Table steakhouse in December, Café Rio Mexican Grill in January, and Pieology Pizzeria in February. Other newly opened restaurants include Poke Salad, Teppanyaki2go, DREAM Ice Cream Parlor, Chik-Fil-A, Blaze, Nation’s, and Dutch Bros.

DREAM Ice Cream Parlor celebrated its grand opening on Jan. 21 by offering free t-shirts to the first 50 people waiting in line to get their first taste of DREAM ice cream. By the end of the day, the restaurant sold out of everything.

The ice cream parlor is popular for its unique ice cream flavors such as taro, green tea, horchata, and Thai tea. They are especially popular for their DREAM buns, a warm glazed or non-glazed donut filled with a choice of ice cream and toppings. They also offer egg waffles (puffles) and honey brick toast (ice bergs) with their ice cream.

Co-owner Brian Shin, who attended Bear Creek before receiving his GED in 2012, says he and co-owner Dawson Phan opened up the ice cream shop to give back to Stockton.

“We grew up in Stockton, and we wanted to do something cool in our city because of the lack of things for people to do,” Shin said. “One of our goals is to make Stockton’s food scene pop. Everybody is tired of all these chain restaurants. It’s about time we bring back the mom and pop shops with food that is actually made with a little tender love and care.”

Some students say they think DREAM has been the best addition to the food scene in our city so far.

“I think DREAM has been the best addition since it was created by someone who is from here and takes pride in putting Stockton on the map,” Ha said. “[Since they are] young business owners, the parlor has easily spread throughout social media for people from other cities to see and want to try it for themselves.”

Shin takes pride in the ice cream parlor’s huge success in its first few months.

“We believe we are inspiring the youth and showing them that you can do anything yourself,” Shin said. “Being in our early 20’s, it’s remarkable that we have our own business.”

Recently, more local businesses have opened: House of Ice Cream opened in downtown Stockton in May 2016, and Scoop Ice Cream opened in the same area just this month on March 4. Two new locally-owned Hawaiian poke shops, Poke Salad and Superfish, are also coming soon after the close of Poke Island in 2015.

Although Stockton continues to fight its bad reputation — such as former mayor Anthony Silva’s arrest on embezzlement charges — the city may be evolving especially with all the new local businesses opening up.

“Stockton is definitely becoming a place with more things to do, and the restaurants that have opened up make the city more appealing,” Ha said.