Benicia foodies having to settle for brand name cooking oils, condiments and spices for the last month can now rejoice. Heritage Pantry and Spice has reopened at a new location.
In case you need a refresher, here it is: Heritage Pantry and Spice was opened last September in the Tannery Building by husband and wife Dominick LaLicata and Suzanne Joncoaltz. The store specializes in gourmet pantry foods, including oils, vinegars, jams, honeys, pastas, sauces, tapenades, olives, spices, salsas, hot sauces and a whole lot more. Nearly all the items were produced in California.
“We’re both passionate foodies,” LaLicata said. “I worked in an Italian specialty food store for 13 years, and I wanted to focus more on California-produced products. Our line has a large percentage of California-produced or locally produced items.”
The “heritage” in the store’s name refers to the inventory of foods that were a large part of both owners’ heritages, thus the store carries a lot of Sicilian and Spanish products.
“I’m Sicilian, and my wife is Basque,” LaLicata said. “Our ultimate goal is to embrace multiple heritages of all the different kinds of cuisines that you can get.”
LaLicata and Joncoaltz were looking to expand and carry new items, so when an opportunity came to move into a new location on 364 First St. over the summer, they moved the shop out of the Tannery and brought it to its new spot which was previously occupied by the pet boutique shop Koda & Co. Heritage is now sandwiched between Java Point Cafe and The Chill, which LaLicata says will be good for attracting new customers.
“It should be a really good combination of businesses,” he said.
The new location has a refrigeration unit, which means Heritage can now sell locally produced cheeses and salamis, something the previous location was unable to carry. Additionally, the store will continue to sell the same kinds of items available at the former location, including cake and scone mixes, truffle honey and gluten-free items, as well as party appetizers like pate, roasted walnuts and sardines soaked in olive oil. Many of the products are made by independent companies throughout California in places like Gilroy, Napa, Sonoma, San Jose and Santa Barbara. Some of the products are even made in Benicia, such as Gourmet Temptations’ mustard blends and Nan’s Gourmet Foods’ honey ginger teriyaki sauce. LaLicata says these connections have been helpful in finding new products to carry.
“We have good relationships with all the vendors that we carry right now,” he said. “If we have a question about something, we can call them and they can point us in the right direction. There’s two vendors that are from Benicia, so they’re a good resource when we have a question about, for instance, getting some cheeses, they point us in the right direction. A lot of it is networking with the different producers that we’ve met along the way.”
LaLicata says the store is also willing to carry products upon request.
“If someone comes in looking for an item we don’t carry, we’ll research and see if we can get it and then we’ll carry it for them,” he said.
LaLicata is happy with the response he has gotten in the new location and is looking forward to continue his and his wife’s business in the new center.
“The neighbors are great, the customers are fantastic, there’s a real good vibe in this center and everyone is friendly,” he said. “We’re excited from all the feedback we’ve gotten so far, so it seems to be a really positive experience for us to be here in this building.”
Heritage Pantry and Spice is located at 364 First St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on every day except Thursday, in which it is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit HeritagePantryAndSpice.com or call the store at 742-4142.