VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – News 3’s final Small Business Spotlight of 2022 is the home of a crab cake the owners would put up against any other around.
After spending years operating food trucks, Deltonio and Sumiko Thompson opened the brick-and-mortar version of Crabby Cali’s Seafood in Virginia Beach in 2018.
Deltonio is an Army veteran who was injured while serving in Iraq. After getting out in 2005, Deltonio attended the Culinary Institute of Virginia where he learned to become a chef. Sumiko would later join her husband; leaving her job as a dispatcher for Sentara’s Nightingale Air Ambulance.
Together, they’ve created a number of dishes that have people waiting for Crabby Cali’s’ doors to open every day.
“The crab cake, I’d put it to anybody’s, the chicken wings and shrimp combo, seafood mac n cheese, crabby fries,” said Deltonio.
With a clientele built from their food truck days, and other family members helping out around the restaurant, the Thompsons say business was strong the first three years on Holland Road — even through the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, in 2022, business slowed down for the first time.
“We’re still busy, but just not as busy as we were,” said Sumiko.
In 2023, this family-run seafood joint is embarking on another first in the hopes of lifting up sales.
“We’re going to be on DoorDash for the first time and we’re going to change our hours. (We’re) going to be open later,” said Deltonio.
But they say what won’t change are the recipes that the business is built on, including a secret seasoning blend only known by the two of them — added to just about every item on the menu.
And if anyone is slacking off, the “boss” is sitting in the back. The Thompsons’ seven-year-old daughter, Cali? It’s her name on the business and she has a reputation to uphold.
She does. She promotes it all the time,” said Sumiko.
But, when the food that comes out of the kitchen looks and tastes as good as what you find at Cali’s, why wouldn’t you?
For more information about Crabby Cali’s, including hours, click HERE.