Opened way back in 1957 during the golden era of its type, Sno White Drive-In has been a pillar of the Seacliff Aptos community. Kosal Ky’s sister bought the place in 2014, and Ky moved to Santa Cruz. Born in Cambodia, Ky had no previous experience in restaurants, but learned the ropes of the industry.
The popular neighborhood spot is open every day from 6am-8pm, and Ky credits all the local regulars with keeping the place afloat during the pandemic. The menu is full of classic nostalgic throwback American drive-in food, headlined by hamburgers and French fries that can be cooked crispy to the customer’s liking.
The surprisingly extensive menu also features egg rolls and burritos, chicken wings and tenders, and fish and chips and calamari.
Breakfast favorites include English muffins with egg and cheese, sausage or ham, hash browns with bacon and eggs, and even pancakes. And no drive-in menu would be complete without thick and classic milkshakes, available in options like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, as well as more exotic flavors like banana and pineapple.
What has been the hardest part of owning a restaurant?
KOSAL KY: The long hours and having to deal with everything from food ordering, to staffing and finding employees, to the safety and quality of the food. Management is hard, and arranging employee’s schedules as well as our own is a constant challenge. And we also have to worry about making a profit, which is especially difficult with inflation. We want to keep our prices fair and reasonable, but also make money, and that can be a challenge as well.
What’s it like being an independent quick-service restaurant?
KK: It’s hard competing with the large chain fast-food restaurants because they have their own suppliers and are able to get food and supplies for much cheaper. Unlike some other places, we get our meat fresh and cook it fresh, and our French fries are the same way. And we also serve some non-American items like egg rolls that are very popular and customers always rave about them. We have a large and diverse menu, and offer many items that other fast-food places don’t.223 State Park Drive, Aptos, 831-688-4747