Step inside Stockton’s Heirloom Kitchen for your first meal of the day and you’ll find yourself welcomed by the golden sunshine cascading through the dining room windows, uplifted by the bright and airy walls accessorized with green hanging plants and earthy accents, and inspired by the family heirlooms of husband-and-wife business partners and restaurant owners, Mathew and Tori Ortiz.
The Lincoln Center’s latest breakfast hot spot is celebrating San Joaquin County’s local farmers and vendors, its abundantly rich soil, and the unmistakably fresh flavors of the season’s finest produce and agriculture. With backgrounds in the food industry, and a love for excellence in the kitchen, Mathew and Tori knew that one day the right opportunity would present itself to open their very own restaurant. In July 2021, their waiting paid off.
“The concept for Heirloom Kitchen came to us quickly,” the couple agrees. “Before the idea of Heirloom Kitchen came to be, we would frequent many other restaurants and cooked a lot of our own food and would always talk about what we would want to put on a menu… By the time we actually needed to write our own, we realized that we already had it drafted in our hearts and minds!”
As San Joaquinians, we are benefiting from the menu that Mathew and Tori dreamed up over the years, a seasonal creation that changes each fall, winter, spring, and summer. Think sweet pears and apples and creamy butternut in the fall, braised roasts and persimmons that taste like candy in the winter, savory asparagus and seasoned lamb in the spring, and juicy stone fruit, figs, and spicy chilis in the summer.
“We both learned to cook from our families, who gave us our Mexican and Lebanese heritages, and we incorporate what we’ve learned from them over the decades,” says Mathew. “Cooking is the greatest gift you can pass down, so we are forever grateful to our families for teaching us and giving us our passion for quality food.”
“We cook everything from scratch here and we don’t use any frozen foods. We’re really happy about that,” says Tori. “The greatest compliment we can receive is when a customer tells us they can taste the quality in our food.”
With dishes such as mouthwatering Oatmeal Griddle Cakes that are delicately crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and golden Genova milk bread French Toast with seasonal fruit (it was Peach in the summer and tea-poached pear this fall), topped with a cloud of whipped cream infused with chai spice and Bourbon, your tastebuds are sure to be doing a happy dance with each bite.
Savory breakfast and brunch options include the Risky Biscuits & Gravy, a soft pillow of scratch-made biscuit served with thick and creamy gravy and made with bites of freshly spiced sausage. The Labneh & Eggs will blow you away with its bright and tangy garlic labneh (a Lebanese classic similar to yogurt), warm Za’atar spices, toasted sourdough, chili butter, and chopped sweet pistachio. And do not forget to try Angelique’s Chilaquiles, featuring house-made tortilla chips, red ranchero sauce, and fried egg (we recommend ordering it with the pork shoulder for an extra indulgence).
One thing is for sure, after trying the menu, intuitively and heartfeltly created by the Ortiz’s, you are sure to want to make Heirloom Kitchen a part of your family’s tradition, too.