Located in Lomo Crossing, Pasquni's is a purveyor of fine Italian-American dining from the esteemed Chef Angelo Micheli.
In 1930 Addenaco "Dan" Pasquini, a local Live Oak farmer, purchased a piece of property from J.L. Sullivan and his wife, Annie Berg Sullivan. The small property at the junction of Highway 99 and Kent Avenue included what became the location of Pasquini's Grocery and Gas Station.
Early on Dan was joined in the farming, grocery, and gas station operation by two of his nephews Alphonse "Al" Micheli and Roy Micheli. The third nephew, Justin Micheli would later join them.
During the lean years of the depression, they would augment their farming, grocery, and gas station income by serving big Italian dinners in the basement of Pasquini's. Dinners, including Dan's bootleg wine, cost a mere $1.00 per person which was good money in those hard times.
Pasquini's got its reputation as a fun place that served great food. Prohibition, however, was still in force. The fact that illegal wine was served was overlooked by the local Judges, Police and Highway Patrol Officers who found themselves enjoying the food, good times and road house atmosphere as well.
After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the bar was added. Pasquini's quickly became a popular watering hole and gathering place for local farmers and travelers on busy Highway 99. During the late 1930's and through the 40's, Dan's nephew, Al Micheli ran the bar and grocery and gas station. Known as Pasquini's Service, the gas station was a full service station. The gas station offered all the amenities of a service station at that time: engine repair, tune-ups, lubrication service and tires. In addition to his work at the service station, bar and grocery, Al also serviced and maintained all of the farm equipment for the farming operation. The expanded operation, now called A Pasquini and Micheli Brothers, included the third Nephew, Justin Micheli. Previously, Justin had served in the U.S. Army during World War II. The other family business, Lomo Receiving Station, which received local fruit for processing, was incorporated into the Ranch operation.
During the summer, Aninna "Nonna" (Italian for Grandma) Micheli with the help of Al's wife Annie, Roy's wife Violet and Dan's wife Reda would prepare lunches and dinners for family and ranch crew in the kitchen of Pasquini's.
In the 1950's and early 60's, Pasquini's was leased to Bud McBain (who ran the bar) and Orlando "Spud" DelValle (who ran the store until his death in the late 1950's).
When Dan Pasquini died in 1964 Pasquini's was inherited by his son Bernard "Benn" Pasquini. Benn returned from San Francisco where he had been working and going to Design School to operate the grocery and bar. He ran it as such until 1971 until a fire in the grocery and upstairs living area closed the operation for repairs.
After the renovation, the bar was re-opened but the grocery was gone forever. The small "Mom and Pop" markets were becoming a thing of the past and were being replaced by small supermarkets and 24 hour convenience stores. Pasquini's grocery had lasted longer than most. It was helped by the migrant workers which brought hundreds of customers to the store.
Stricter drinking and driving laws were also having an effect on the bar business. Benn decided another reason had to be added for coming to Pasquini's. He had toyed with the idea of food at the bar location for some time. Pasquini's had a reputation for good food, even though it had never been an actual restaurant. Bootleg dinners and summer lunches had accomplished that.
Benn started small in 1971. A spaghetti night once a week on Mondays was served in the bar. For $1.50 you got garlic bread, green salad and a plate of spaghetti. People came. Crowds grew. The old grocery store was soon converted into a dining room. The menu expanded. Chicken Wednesday. Cioppino Friday. The menu expanded again. Lamb Tuesday. Veal Thursday and finally Chef's specials on Saturday. Six nights a week only the small specialty menu was served and customers came regardless. They could always rely on fresh food and consistent quality.
After the restaurant fell on hard times, it was purchased in 1984 by Justin's son John and Roy's son Joe Micheli at a bankruptcy auction. Doug Bailey then leased the restaurant in 1984 until 1991 after which Rick Davis took over the lease until December, 2006.
In 2007 Angelo Micheli took over the restaurant. As a young boy he learned how to cook on his grandmother's apron strings; it was Angelo's dream to someday own Pasquini's. With a talent for cooking, Angelo pursued his dream and graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He's now making his dream a reality by having the opportunity to be the Chef/Owner of his own restaurant.