By Tab Berg –

Any list of California’s most interesting restaurants has to include Al’s Place – locally known as Al the Wop’s – located along a Sacramento River levy road in the historic town of Locke, the original “china town.” Built in 1915, and operated by Al Adami since 1934, Al’s was the only non-Chinese business operating in the town of Locke. The town has dimmed over time, but Al’s remains an iconic place that’s a rite of passage for anyone interested in California history or traveling through the Delta.

Al’s has a short menu featuring its famous and affordable steak sandwich – more like a steak dinner with bread on the side – a great selection of local wines, including one of my favorites – the Old Vine Zinfandel from nearby Bogle Vineyards.

Steak sandwich ala Al’s Place

Served parlor-style on picnic tables with a bizarre array of condiments ranging from peanut-butter to chili-sauce, the atmosphere is very casual.

Condiments on a table at Al’s

Don’t be put off by the “dive” character of Al’s – that’s part of the charm. The walls are covered with photos and posters and the ceiling is littered with dollar-bills that patrons have stuck there over Al’s near-century of operation.

It’s the perfect place to relax with simple, hearty food at the end a wine tour of the Delta or if you take the back-roads from Sacramento to Napa/Sonoma – even a Sacramento River fishing trip. You can dock in a nearby marina.

Al’s Place is at 13936 Main Street, Locke, CA. Phone is (916) 776-1800. You can read Tab Berg’s biography and see more of his restaurant recommendations at  The web page for Al’s Place can be reached through

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