Carol Chandler was born in Chicago, but raised in Capitola, and has always appreciated its community-oriented feel. Forty-five years ago, she took a summer job in town as a server at the Cook House while she attended college. Chandler eventually began working there full-time, and bought the place from the previous owner. Even though she was only 24 then, she already knew enough to run the business successfully. She also had the pedigree; her parents had owned a restaurant. Chandler defines the Cook House as a local favorite that serves traditional all-American breakfasts. Known for omelets like the Popeye with spinach, onions and cheese, as well as thick-cut bacon and multiple fresh fruit options, breakfast is served all day, along with classic lunch items like burgers, patty melts and club sandwiches. The Cook House is open every day, 7am-2:15pm. GT asked Chandler about buying the restaurant and her parents’ reaction to the news.
What was it like owning a restaurant at such a young age?
CAROL CHANDLER: It was an accidental career, becoming a restaurant owner. I had no idea it would take the amount of hours that it has, but it all worked out really well for me. It is nice to be in a small community because we get a lot of support from visitors and locals alike. And this career also allowed me to work, own a business and still have time for my family. I feel lucky I was able to have this life.
How did your parents react?
With them having already been in the restaurant business and knowing the challenges of ownership, when I bought it they said, “Didn’t we teach you anything? Don’t you know better?” And I said, “Yes, you taught me the restaurant business.” They have supported my decision ever since. Sometimes when you plan for something, it doesn’t work out as well as this has. The day the previous owner told me he was going to sell, I already decided that I needed to make a change. And then, the change presented itself, and I have no regrets.
The Cook House, 706 Capitola Ave, Capitola, 831-476-5519; thecookhouse.business.site.