25th Avenue in San Mateo

Tommy ‘Toonz’ Predovich inside his Vinyl Solution Records store along 25th Avenue in San Mateo. The 25th Avenue business district in San Mateo blends old and new along two blocks.

It’s a two-block time machine — with a Grateful Dead display and old-school Italian restaurants that could serve as movie sets — but still ready for 2020, merchants say.

The 25th Avenue business district in San Mateo provides the past along with boutique fitness and teaching how to code.

Tommy ‘Toonz’ Predovich, owner of the Vinyl Solution Records where Dead albums and memorabilia are displayed, says the street “still has the personality of the ’50s and ’60s.”

The district also promises a future as a hidden gem of San Mateo, Predovich said.

Younger residents moving into nearby neighborhoods has brought more pedestrians, Predovich said.

MVCode teaches coding — the language of computers, said lead instructor Andrew Pometta, who notes the number of walkers helped the business decide on its 25th Avenue location.

“It has fantastic foot traffic,” Pometta said of the street.

San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals said “walkability is a key to quality of life and enjoying your neighborhood.” He used to live one block from 25th Avenue and said the business district is home to La Lanterna and Luceti’s, among his favorite restaurants in the city.

Cheryl Angeles, chief executive officer of the San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce, describes Luceti’s as akin to old San Francisco business-style dining.

Bodyrok, which includes cycling and hybrid Pilates, began in the business district two years ago partly because owner Teresa Rodriguez knew the area from her son attending nearby Serra High School on West 20th Avenue.

“I felt this could really be a neighborhood business,” Rodriguez said.

Trish Goity, 54, who lives on Garfield Street, said she’s happy to have a business district nearby and noted the avenue holds on to its heritage.

“It’s authentic,” Goity said.

The street is rich in nail spas, with a half-dozen such businesses.

“I don’t know,” Soleil Luna nail spa owner Anthony Ha said when asked about the proliferation.

“Everyone wants their nails done,” Ha added.

Predovich, whose record store is home to at least 50,000 albums, has been located along 25th for nearly four decades.

“I’m the old man on the block these days,” he said.

Predovich remembers when the Manor Theatre, closed more than a quarter-century ago, was open.

Twenty-Fifth Avenue now reflects the new digital world. A barber shop allows you to book online appointments.

Vinyl Solution Records is a throwback to an earlier era. Albums sold there are meant to be played on a turntable.

“If you’re serious, that’s the way you’ve got to play it,” Predovich said.

The best-selling record during a recent week at the store was “Kind of Blue” — recorded in 1959 by Miles Davis.

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