.Restaurant Triple Win

Coming spots share a chance to be long-term community places

This could come as a shock.

A new community-focused and beer-brewing downtown landmark will not be showing photos of its flagship taproom on social media.

The big reveal of the 100-year-old bar may happen as soon as late February. Co-creator, brewer master, Presbyterian minister and Watsonville High JV coach Rev. Robby Olson is somehow succeeding at preserving the suspense.

“The carpenters and woodworkers have made something beautiful,” he says. “We’re intentionally not posting because we want people to experience it in full when they visit it for the first time.”

Olson started brewing on site last week. The brews he’s making have been tuned up over a decade home brewing, donating creations to nonprofit events and entering home-brew contests. The two most popular overall are his West Coast IPA and Mexican-style ale.

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Give the people what they want—and what Watsonville is eager for, complemented by neighboring Tamale Factory fare, rotating food trucks and their own small kitchen operation.

The intended takeaway for guests, Olson adds, is good vibe + good bev.

Debut #1: Watsonville Public House leads a trio of places that are both among the biggest debuts of the year and should open soonest.

 Debut #2: Winter in Santa Cruz can be a nice time and place to recharge, and that could be a working motto for Pretty Good Advice of Soquel.

PGA’s second spot is making final touches on the former Pacific Thai and plans on a conservative debut of “late January” (!!), per do-everything GM Page Traeger.

Debut #3: When Chef Nick Sherman opened Trestles in Capitola, it ranked near the top of Best New Restaurants. Now he has a great team and skilled partner in longtime friend and chef Shawn Ryberg to open Cavalletta.

I’ve attended a training session there and the pizzas and pastas hold up nicely, and the easy Italian-Santa Cruz versatility and overall seasonality of the menu help.

After a long wait—which allowed the team to add reps—Sherman messages that they could open as soon as early February.


Another look ahead: Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust, the nonprofit that supports local fishers, the fishery and equitable access to fresh catch (and where I also write) has announced its lineup of restaurants for the 2024 Get Hooked! dinner series. The next on the Santa Cruz side happens March 7 with Fonda Felix fish empanadas, Monterey Bay fish paella and corn miso bread to go with Madsen Wines. It presents a fun way to support an industry on the brink of more consolidation. At least as of last week crab season is a go, finally, with restrictions on how much can be harvested. montereybayfisheriestrust.org.


Burger Week cometh, and I’d love to hear any and all of your suggestions for great burgers via @MontereyMCA on Instagram…Chef, food justice activist, publisher and author Bryant Terry speaks at Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium Wednesday, Jan. 31 for UCSC’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Convocation, which is free and open to the public…The Curious World of Seaweed is up and eye-catching at Santa Cruz Museum. Humble Sea has started experimenting with limited openings of its tavern space in Felton like a smashburger run with S.C. Bread Boy they ran with earlier…Hasta pronto.


  1. Restaurants triple win is very confusing. Are there going to be three different individual new places to open?

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