With Covid-19 travel restrictions easing, borders opening and the relaxation of mask mandates at popular destinations, people are once again turning their attention to what used to be a familiar gateway for many Americans—the airport.
For those who remain wary of venturing out into the wild blue yonder as coronavirus variants proliferate—or for those looking for a place to dream up future vacations—there will soon be a fresh air travel-themed space offering a unique food-and-beverage journey.
Faultline Brewing Company, the Sunnyvale-based microbrewery, is opening a Scotts Valley location at The Hangar at Skypark development, which will also play host to a Home by Zinnia’s boutique, and a parlor from The Penny Ice Creamery.
“This used to be an airfield,” acknowledged Faultline Brewing Company co-owner Sam Ghadiri, who says they’re planning menu items and décor to keep the focus on the heritage. “You want to make sure you give the appropriate nod to the past.”
The brewpub will occupy about 5,000 square feet of the roughly 12,000-square-foot building, including a mezzanine—allowing for an open-concept second-floor that can be rented out for special functions. The outdoor patio offers an additional 4,000 square feet of dining or performance space, says Corbett Wright, of CW Land Consultants, Inc., who built the structure alongside Rob Stuart of Timberworks, Inc.
“We copied the original architecture of the original hangar building that was located near the airfield,” he said, noting their arching interior rises to 35 feet at its apex. “That kind of construction lends itself to high, open space.”
And for those cautious about indoor dining after a year-plus of coronavirus restrictions, the restaurant will include roll-up doors, to allow plenty of air to flow, Wright said. Even on rainy days, he added, the state-of-the-art temperature control system will cycle the interior atmosphere every seven to nine minutes.
Ghadiri, who purchased a home in Aptos with his wife in January, says the business could open as soon as December. And when it does, he wants to ensure Scotts Valley residents are treated to a gourmet experience.
“There’s a lot of pride that goes into our food,” he said. “We cut our own croutons—it’s that level of care.”
Ghadiri, a lawyer by trade who got into the restaurant world by way of a pizzeria, had only owned the Sunnyvale location for three months before Covid-19 arrived and they had to close down. Silicon Valley became a ghost town.
Located within striking distance of Google, Apple and Texas Instruments HQ buildings—and colloquially known amongst the tech crowd as “Building F”—when work-from-home became the modus operandi, the future of Faultline was thrown into jeopardy.
Ghadiri was afraid of the financial consequences. But he was more terrified of his 60-person workforce evaporating.
“I knew we were going to lose money staying open,” he said, remembering what went through his head during those early days. “If we close for six months, what are they going to do?”
Ghadiri says they had to operate at a loss for about six months while they built up their takeout business from a trickle into a steady stream of income.
“I was just shooting for break-even; it’s weird to say,” he said, remembering the Christmas lockdown. “You just have to keep going, because eventually there’s going to be light at the end of the tunnel—and now we’re seeing it.”
Early this year, as their numbers started improving and vaccines were being distributed among health care workers and the elderly, Faultline saw an opening.
“I thought right now was the perfect opportunity to expand, right before everything gets back to normal,” he said, referencing the strategic planning that goes into opening a new location. “If I wait until September or December, I’m going to be left out in the cold.”
Ghadiri began to cast around Santa Cruz County with business partner Joe Jean, but kept coming up empty—Ghadiri says he visited at least 10 potential sites.
They finally got close on an Aptos location, but then their broker told them about Wright’s Hangar project in Scotts Valley. Suddenly, things fell into place.
“I fell in love,” Ghadiri said of the concept. “I could see the vision.”
His own plans, with brewmaster Peter Catizone at the helm, include hefeweizen, Kölsch, and Dunkelweizen—in addition to the required hazy IPAs and similar fare.
He also wants to take advantage of the space to have one-of-a-kind brunches, invite local bands to play, and bring in DJs to add to the vibe.
“You play all this stuff by feel and see what’s going to work,” he said. “I want to engage the community, and sometimes that takes a little bit of trial-and-error.”