All-star Vic Malatesta heads PDA, next the Chamber
ic Malatesta is one of the best-known businessmen in town. Besides earning plaudits from his breakfast and luncheon customers at Vic's All-Star Kitchen on Main Street, which he opened in January 1994, he's in the rare position of holding back-to-back business leadership positions this year. For 2007, he is president of the Pleasanton Downtown Association, which represents mostly small businesses. In December, he'll become chairman of the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, a 900-member organization whose members include many of the same smaller companies but also corporate giants such as Safeway, Kaiser Permanente and Oracle.
Working with PDA Executive Director Christine Salidivar, Malatesta has helped add needed sizzle to downtown Pleasanton much as he has to his downtown cafe which has become one of the favorite meeting spots for the movers and shakers of the community most mornings and the place where school sports teams congregate for catered dinners after the restaurant closes at 2 p.m. Since becoming president last January, signs have gone up on Main Street alerting shoppers to retail stores on the side streets, public restrooms have been installed off Angela Street, a mural project is under way on the side of Strizzi's Restaurant and the PDA has boosted its membership to more than 600 with another 150 associate members whose businesses are not downtown but benefit from PDA's programs.
Malatesta joined the Chamber when he bought the former Town House Coffee Shop and renamed it Vic's. He was asked to serve on the chamber's board six years ago, served on various committees and last year headed the group's Government Relations committee, bringing in candidates for top state and local offices during the 2006 General Election to speak at membership meetings. He believes both the PDA and chamber are essential to businesses in a city that is nearing buildout and where the financial and marketing expertise found in these organizations can help city leaders transition from a fast-growing community to one with less new construction revenue. With the chamber's CEO Dave Bouchard, Malatesta also plans to reach out to more of the larger companies in Pleasanton to urge them to be more active in leadership positions and community activities.
Right now, though, Malatesta is hobbling around town, which is how I caught up with him at a recent First Wednesday street party. Suffering over the years with advancing arthritis in both knees, he's recovering now from arthroscopic surgery on the left knee, with the right knee due to be operated on next January. That gave us nearly half an hour to chat about the PDA, the chamber and his business background as we walked from St. Mary Street back to his food booth on south Main.
At 61 and despite the bad knees, Malatesta maintains a vigorous schedule. He opens his restaurant at 7 a.m., often sits with the wannabe policy makers who breakfast there, and then works with high school sports teams, mostly at Foothill High, where his two sons, Michael and Mark, and daughter Amy Wright graduated. His wife Terri also has two sons, Scott Howard and Ryan Howard, who are Foothill graduates. Vic and Terri married 10 years ago after they both had been married before for 25 years. Vic adds it up and tells people they planned to celebrate their 60th anniversary in Maui, which they did last week. Malatesta founded the Pleasanton Kiwanis Club and served as its president for two terms. But he's also ecumenical, agreeing to be a sponsor of Downtown Rotary's Spirit Run on Father's Day June 17. A Foothill Athletic Boosters' Club member for years, he has worked the chain crew for 21 years, marking the downs at Foothill football games.
In the meantime, he keeps adding to his collection of photos that line the walls of Vic's All-Star Kitchen, where Vic likes to regale customers about the kids and their teams in the photos and how they fared as high school varsity stars. That and a "Coach Sira" pancake breakfast are well worth the $8.25 price.