Welcome to Tutor and Spunky's Deli, home of the BEST Sandwiches in Dana Point!
In July, 1988, original owner Tom Blake was burned out from working in the corporate world and dreamed of having his own business. He had worked for the restaurant chain Victoria Station and knew just enough about the restaurant business to at least give it a try. He wanted to open a deli near his home in Dana Point. One day, he noticed a "for lease" sign on a storefront location at 34135 Pacific Coast Highway.
He didn’t waste any time contacting a local realtor to sign a lease that day. The only problem: Tom had never owned a deli before and his dream was just an idea. There were no blueprints, he didn't know where to begin, he was still traveling in his corporate job and he was paying rent on the leased space. He didn't even know if the city of Dana Point would allow a deli on the site.
Tom set a goal to have his deli open by the end of 1988. Plans were drawn, permits approved and construction began. Tom continued to work until December 1, 1988. On December 22, Tutor & Spunky's Deli opened its doors with Teresa as its only employee.
The name - Tutor & Spunky's - came from the nicknames of Tom (Tutor) and his wife (Spunky). Tom is no longer married to her, but he elected to keep the catchy name.
In March, 1989, Rosalinda became the second employee. Debbie and Sandy soon join the team. All have been serving our customers for over 20 plus years. You can still see Teresa’s infectious smile, Debbie’s piggy tail, and hear Sandy’s warm laugh when you stop by the deli.
In February of 2015, new owners Jim & Shelley Mouzakis took over the deli. Jim had spent the last 35 years working his way up the corporate ladder of UPS but always wanted to branch out and do something of his own.
Jim spent many years living and raising his family nearby in Laguna Niguel and knew just how precious the city of Dana Point was. After scouring countless business opportunities to run his own small fast service restaurant, Jim & Shelley came across Tutor & Spunky’s. After reaching out to Tom they set a meeting. Once Jim & Shelley saw the heart behind Tom and his loyal employees they knew they had found a true gem.
Going into a longstanding staple in the community, Jim & Shelley knew that it would not be wise to even think of changing the signature sandwiches or the quality ingredients that Tom worked so hard to put in place. Keeping their changes very minor and only cosmetic, they served (alongside Jim’s brother Shaun Mouzakis) your favorite neighborhood deli.
On April 1, 2019, Samantha Nguyen and her sister, Elena Sik became the third owner of the deli. Samantha and Elena worked for many years in the beauty industry and cosmetic manufacturing. Their love of food and cooking led them to Tutor & Spunky’s. They have fired up the deli with energy, laughter, and pleasant surprises.
Off menu items you may find at the deli are Vietnamese coffee, Pho, and Banh Mi. These items are made fresh and available while supplies and ingredients last.
As an ode to the sea and the roads hugging the ocean, they created something of a mini surfing and vintage bicycle museum at the deli.
The deli has been part of the local community for so long. Samantha and Elena plans to do their part to carry on the Dana Point heritage and tradition by serving the people and community they love.
So come on by and say hello! We would love to make a handcrafted sandwich just for you!