Owned and operated by the Zoccoli Family since 1948
|Located in Downtown Santa Cruz, Ca
1534 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Mon - Sat 9am-6pm
Voted "Best Deli"
Good Times Magazine
Voted "Best Deli" and "Best Sandwich"
Metro Santa Cruz Newspaper
"Business of the Year 1990"
Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce
In March of 1948, Robert
Zoccoli Sr. and his wife,
Augusta, both Italian
immigrants, along with their
daughter Nelli and her
husband Lloyd Sherman,
formed a partnership and
bought a small grocery
store. The Plaza Grocery, a
Red & White Food Store,
was located in downtown
Santa Cruz where Zoccoli's
Deli resides now. It was a
very diversified operation
that sold everything from
household supplies to deli
meats and cheeses, many
of which we still carry today.
In December of 1955, downtown Santa Cruz was flooded. The back door on Front Street had 2 feet of water
pushing against it. The back door was carefully sandbagged which only allowed about 2 inches of water on
the main floor; however, the basement was flooded with 2 1/2 feet of standing water. A great deal of
merchandise of destroyed. Robert Zoccoli Jr. was in the Navy and was granted leave to assist the family
during this difficult time. The store was able to remain open during the clean-up to service their customers.
In 1962, Robert Sr and Augusta, turned their interest of the store over to Robert Jr, (Bob) and his wife
Ann. In the late 60's the store was renamed The Plaza Mediterranean.
Sandwiches! The early 70's was
when the store decided to start
making a few sandwiches. Nelli and
Ann began experimenting with deli
salads and soups, which are still
the same recipes used today. In
1977, Lloyd and Nelli sold their
interest to Tom Mills and his wife
Sharon, who is Bob's niece. The
store's name was then changed to
Zoccoli's Deli after the family name.
The deli business was booming! The store was completely remodeled, with the addition of a full kitchen, in order
to service the customers more efficiently. In April of 1989, Tom and Sharon sold their interest to Craig and
Russell Zoccoli, Bob and Ann's sons. All was well until October 17,1989. The devastating Loma Prieta
Earthquake destroyed most of downtown Santa Cruz. For the first time since 1948, Zoccoli's doors were
closed. A month later, operating out of a 10'X30' trailer, we were one of the first businesses to temporarily
relocate and service customers downtown.
It wasn't until 18 months later that our
customers were able to walk through
the same doors as they had prior to
the earthquake. Our customers
faithfully supported us as the new
downtown was being rebuilt around
Bob and Ann have retired, turning the
store over to their sons, Russell, who
runs the kitchen and Craig, who
oversees the daily operations of the
main floor. Craig's wife, Patty assists in
running the daily operations of the
deli. The Zoccoli Family, now in its
third generation, is proud to continue
running one of the oldest family run
businesses in Santa Cruz.
Lloyd Sherman, Robert Zoccoli Sr and Robert (Bob) Zoccoli Jr
Robert Zoccoli, Sr
This History of Zoccoli's Deli
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