.Beach Street Café Offers a Cross-Cultural Menu

Watsonville fave keeps it simple for breakfast and lunch

Since opening in 1979, Beach Street Café has been a Watsonville favorite with classic, old school diner vibes. Juan Sumano has worked there for over two years, initially as a prep cook before moving to the front-of-house and working his way up from bussing to his first serving job. Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, Sumano came to the U.S. at 15 and has worked in the restaurant industry most of his life.

He says Beach Street is all about a friendly and family-oriented feel with quick service and a menu of traditional breakfast and lunch diner food with some Mexican dishes sprinkled in. Some of these include the chilaquiles scramble and fried churro waffle with ice cream and fresh berries. The classic diner fare includes the customer favorite country fried steak with homemade gravy and the meat lover’s scramble with sausage, bacon, ham and cheddar cheese. For breakfast or lunch, the Beach Street Burrito is a big hit, and other lunch options are the club sandwich and hamburger, with either regular fries, curly fries or onion rings.

Beach Street is open every day, 7am-2pm. GT asked Sumano recently why he came to the country and about life as a server. 

What inspired your journey to the U.S.?

JUAN SUMANO: I had family here already, and I mostly moved here to pursue the classic American dream. I wanted to be able to have my own house, live my best life and get to be exactly who I am without limitations. And I love cooking and serving, so the restaurant industry has been a good fit for me. I’m very happy with where I am and what I’ve done.

Why do you enjoy being a server?

Meeting new people and also seeing the same people coming in and getting to know them. And just the little personal conversations, and even when I’m busy being able to project good and calm energy and caring about the customers. I also love when customers know my name, and I know theirs, and I can even guess their order sometimes. And just being able to ask about each other’s lives, about our families and how our weekends went—little things like that mean a lot to me and them. You don’t know what people are going through, so I always try to make their day. 

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Beach Street Café, 435 W. Beach Street, Watsonville, 831-722-2233; beachstreetwatsonville.com.

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