.Alderwood Pacific Opens in Downtown Santa Cruz

Its Walnut Avenue location spotlighted in new Michelin Guide

Familiar yet new. Reliable yet daring. Exceptional yet accessible.

That’s the philosophical burger Alderwood Pacific, which opened on Feb. 3, is trying to flip.

Fittingly enough, the same headlining burger at original Alderwood Santa Cruz—just a few blocks away—will be a big part of that. 

So will less splurgy price points, draft cocktails, handmade pasta, a wider selection of sandwiches and a 4-6pm happy hour with oyster-Champagne specials among others.

Beyond the burger, the familiar

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elements include a raw bar, AWSC’s signature hen-of-the-woods dish, a solid wine list and a contemporary setting.

As Pacific opens, Alderwood on Walnut Avenue, recently spotlighted in the latest Michelin Guide, has embarked on “a style refresh and menu update,” according to a statement.

That also allows Executive Chef Jeffrey Wall and company to focus on the new place, as Executive Director of Operations Sam Woods points out.

“It is an important moment for us as a company, and why we chose

to temporarily close [ASC],” Woods says. “We’re putting our name on a new restaurant, and the only way to pull it off is to focus all of our energy here and let the community know how important it is to us.”

In what ultimately will become a double debut, the improvements for the first Alderwood sound promising on their own.

“When we refocus on Alderwood Santa Cruz, we have a plan for an exceptional new culinary experience that hasn’t been done here,” she says.

More than anything, Woods—who recently returned to her native Santa Cruz after extended time working in New York City’s fashion scene—hopes the Pacific Avenue spot is the kind of place repeatedly frequented within a given week; somewhere that’s welcoming and affordable.

“Back East, you have your neighborhood spot,” she says. “For us, we want to carve that out. The goal, eventually, is to be a seven- days-a-week restaurant. There’s no place like that in Santa Cruz.”

At the same time, Alderwood’s fast-casual fried chicken spinoff, Flashbird, in the Abbott Square food- and-drink hall, anticipates two new locations soon.

The “craft-fast” fried chicken sandwich spots aim to open on Mount Hermon Road in Scotts Valley and 41st Avenue in Pleasure Point in mid-February and late spring, respectively. alderwood-pacific.com

BIG DEAL FOR BIGFOOT

Inventive chef Jessica Yarr, who brought Santa Cruz foodie sensations Chicken Foot and The Brunch Shift, has something fresh coming. She’s returning to her native Felton—where her parents own Bigfoot Discovery Museum—to debut The Grove Bakery Cafe on March 2. She’ll do wood-fired vegan baked goods, grain and veggie bowls, grab- and-go goodies, coffee alternatives and more. In the meantime, she’s prepping Valentine’s Day treat boxes, available for preorder via Grove’s Instagram through Feb. 10 ($60), packed with delicious baked goods and chocolates. “A preview of what we’re going to do, to share with your sweetheart and support our opening,” Yarr says.

DRINK BAY BEER

Day drinking, overrated. Bay drinking, underrated. San Francisco Beer Week 2023 stretches south, all the way to Lupulo Craft Beer House in Santa Cruz. Lupolo is rocking collaborations with Seattle’s Fair Isle (and nine of their beers) on Feb. 10 and Portland’s Upright (seven more brews) on Feb. 11. A Saison spotlight follows on Feb. 12, with still more events the next weekend. lupulosc.com

3 COMMENTS

  1. We went for a cozy dinner. First, it was very cold inside. Many people with jackets on during dinner. Secondly, the food wasn’t good. The best was the dessert. I wouldn’t return nor would I recommend this place.

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