.Watsonville’s New Strawberry Patch Cafe Does Breakfast Right

The Strawberry Patch Cafe is ready to welcome all its devoted regulars—the ones who loved it as Ella’s Café (not the same place as Ella’s at the Airport), as well as newcomers looking for delicious housemade breakfasts and lunches.

The handiwork of owners Jennifer DeVault and her twin sister Erika Conrad, the new Strawberry Patch will offer flavor invention amidst a whole new cafe look.

“It took us forever to decide on a name,” Jennifer admitted. “We’ve owned Ella’s for two-and-a-half years, the neighbors know and love the place, so we’re not making radical changes,” she told me. “Why change it?”

But there are in fact a few changes to the popular eatery on the way to downtown Watsonville. “We’re now staying open until 6pm, and we’re also open now on Sundays. That’s new,” DeVault says. “We’ve had so much business on Saturdays that we thought we should extend hours into Sunday.”

Also new: there’s now beer and wine, plus creative cocktails featuring low-alcohol spirits. DeVault said that while they do have a staff, the sisters pretty much have their hands on all aspects of the food service.

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“We both do everything, the fresh soups and the specials. Yes it is a lot of work, but it’s so much fun,” she says. Both sisters have been involved in the food and beverage industry for many years. “But we always wanted to work together on a project—and now we can!”

The owner’s excitement is obvious. And the menu gives some insight as to why.

“We have pesto pasta salad, panini, soup and salad combos, fresh pastries, freshly squeezed juices, lemon mascarpone cake, red velvet cake, strawberry cheesecake and fresh soup everyday.”

And there’s more. New salads, new breakfast items like the Patch Burrito loaded with eggs, cheddar cheese, avocado, mushrooms, organic spinach, caramelized onions and choice of bacon, sausage or ham. Brie and blackened ham croissant, smoothies and espressos. I’m getting hungry just thinking about this menu! Bellinis, mimosa, bloody mary, micheladas.

Stop by and see what’s cooking at the vibrant redesigned cafe. The Strawberry Patch Cafe is located at 734 E. Lake Ave, #1 in Watsonville. Open 6:30am-6pm Mon-Sat., 7am-4pm on Sunday.

Breakfast by Candlelight

I’m not kidding. Early on, we found candlelight to start off the morning was a good way to take back the darkness from the pandemic shutdown. Eggs, toast and a pot of English breakfast tea tastes even cozier by candlelight. And now, approaching the winter solstice, mornings are so dark—and candlelight is as practical as it is soul-warming. Stop chuckling and try it for yourselves. You’re welcome.

Warm Rooms for Chilly Nights

The Rock Room at Shadowbrook comes to mind, for many reasons … sentimental dates, memorable occasions, lovely desserts … but especially during the cool weather, the room seems to glow with its own energy and romantic lighting. Shadowbrook at 1750 Wharf Rd., Capitola. 515 Kitchen & Cocktails, open Tuesday through Saturday, is one of those timeless interiors that might have been as perfect for your great-great grandfather as it is for you and your date. Love the deep plush couches and overstuffed armchairs. A vintage salon with complex Asian-fusion plates to share. An inviting outdoor patio, too, at 515 Cedar St. in downtown Santa Cruz.Mentone in Aptos Village offers a sophisticated welcome thanks to exceptional pizzas, amazing cocktails and a vivacious crowd. Warm, attentive service guarantees that you feel instantly in the right spot. 174 Aptos Village Way, Aptos.

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