Housed in one of the oldest commercial buildings in Scotts Valley, Malone’s Grille has been a local hit since it opened in 1980. Mark Pike became the new general manager a month ago, after stumbling onto a Craigslist ad. His adoration for Santa Cruz’s beautiful beaches initially brought the Italian to America, where he learned the kitchen trade during stints working at New Leaf Market and Staff of Life—he already had some experience in restaurants.
Pike says that Malone’s menu notables include “mouth-watering” burgers with unique toppings like spicy Padron Jam, Dr. Pepper candied bacon and Forbidden Fruit Marmalade. Meanwhile, the Fred Beef Dip is a longtime favorite: sliced prime rib, caramelized onions, cheddar-jack cheese and au jus.
Malone’s is open Tuesday-Saturday, 4-8pm (9pm Friday and Saturday). GT picked Pike’s brain about the future of Malone’s and his industry knowledge.
What’s your vision for Malone’s moving forward?
MARK PIKE: Bringing back the family fun atmosphere and making it a place for Scotts Valley to come together with great live music and wonderful food, and bringing the personal touch back to Malone’s with guest relations and a priority on customer service. I interact with every guest that comes in, no matter how busy I am, because that’s my thing, and it’s important to me. I also look forward to expanding our hours and offering lunch soon, and I also want to add my own flair to the menu by breaking it down and increasing the quality.
What struck you about learning back-of-house?
Just how hard it is and how hard [back-of-house employees] work. All the pressure that cooks are under gave me a very high appreciation for what they do and what it takes to get it done. Back-of-house is the heart of the restaurant that pumps blood into the business, keeping it alive and healthy. After working in several kitchens, I gained a lot of respect for the people behind the scenes that don’t get enough credit. Without them, the restaurant industry would not exist.
Malone’s Grille, 4402 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, 831-438-2244; malonesgrille.com.