Santa Cruz County Businesses To Support

As Santa Cruz County and the rest of America enter yet another week of sheltering in place, small businesses need community support more than ever. Not only are family-owned restaurants suffering, but some established local businesses have completely shut down or relying heavily on internet sales. While grocery stores are thriving, these essential businesses have …

Santa Cruz County Businesses To Support Read More »

Delicious cauliflower salad in a black bowl that is available at local business Avanti Restaurant in Santa Cruz

As Santa Cruz County and the rest of America enter yet another week of sheltering in place, small businesses need community support more than ever. Not only are family-owned restaurants suffering, but some established local businesses have completely shut down or relying heavily on internet sales. While grocery stores are thriving, these essential businesses have struggles too, as employees take painstaking precautions to protect its customers and themselves from the coronavirus.

Avanti Restaurant

1917 Mission St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 427-0135

Under new ownership but still on Mission Street, Avanti Restaurant is offering a to go menu. Orders are taken daily from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and customers can order appetizers, entrees or Family Style Dinners that can feed for people.

Wine List

The restaurant is also offering 25 percent off any selection from the impressive wine list, which includes several premium European selections and local selections from Alfaro Family Vineyards. Customers can call or email the restaurant to place an order. In the Westside Santa Cruz area for more than 30 years, Avanti Restaurant was acquired by Jonathan and Tatiana Glass last year.

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2400 Porter St.
Soquel, CA 95073
(831) 476-6260

A local favorite since 1981, Carpo’s is currently handling orders to go and online orders. Updated hours are daily from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and orders to go may be purchased directly over the phone. A curbside service is also available. No daily specials are available but customers still have a wide selection of items to order.

Carpo’s Menu

A complete menu is available online, as well as through DoorDash and Doorbell Dining. The Carpo Burger and  house specialities like Terikyaki Chicken Kabob are among the popular dishes. But the affordable restaurant is also known for its outstanding seafood dishes and homemade pies. Carpo’s Family Restaurant continues to be family owned and operated by Todd family.

Related: Support Santa Cruz County Businesses Now

Deluxe Foods

783 Rio Del Mar Blvd.
Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 688-7442

Located in Deer Park Marketplace, Deluxe Foods has been a popular local grocery store for nearly 40 years. Owned by the Monte family, the store has had to modify its hours, with reduced hours for Peet’s Coffee, the bakery and deli. On Wednesdays, the store opens earlier at 7:30 a.m. to accommodate only older adults ages 65 and over. Deluxe is among the most popular grocery stores in Santa Cruz County.

Marc Monte

Currently the store is unable to provide a home delivery service or curbside assistance.  Marc Monte, the highly respected community leader who established the non-profit Monte Foundation in 1996, serves as the President and CEO of Deluxe Foods.

Ella’s At The Airport

100 Aviation Way
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 728-3282

Located at Watsonville Airport, Ella’s at the Airport is offering an abbreviated menu at this time. An increasingly popular restaurant from the “creators of Café Ella”, Ella’s is offering curbside pick daily from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition to the abbreviated menu that features wood fried pizzas, pastas, entrees and more using fresh, sustainable ingredients, the restaurant is also offering its Family Style Menu for 6-8 people.


Orders can be called in. Many of the signature dishes are prepared by Ella herself -Tiffany Ella King. In 2007 Ella opened Café Ella on East Lake Avenue in Watsonville and in 2015, Ella’s at the Airport.

Update: Ella’s is in business at the Watsonville Airport. However, original owner Ella King is no longer with the restaurant.

Lenz Arts

142 River St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 423-1935

Serving the community since 1968, Lenz Arts is currently offering a curbside service for art supplies. Founded by award-winning artists Andy and Cynthia Lenz, customers can order supplies by emailing them with the subject line of “CURBSIDE” and a contact number to reach between the hours of 11 am to 3 p.m. Hours and dates of curbside service will be regularly updated on the Lenz Arts website.

Current Store Policy

At this time, no customers will be allowed inside the art supply store. Located at the same spot on River Street since 1972, Lenz Arts has an extensive collection of art supplies and is considered one of the last remaining art supply stores on the West Coast. The store has been managed by Andy and Cynthia’s son Andrew Jr. since 1989.

Manuel’s Restaurant

261 Center Ave.
Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 688-4848

One of the oldest Mexican restaurants still operating locally, Manuel’s is currently open for take out service. Hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Also well known for serving some of the finest authentic northern Mexican cuisine on the Central Coast, Manuel’s offers an extensive menu including regional specialties like Enchiladas Mexicanas, Mole Poblano and Tacos de Pescado.

Near Seacliff State Beach

The popular Mexican restaurant near Seacliff State Beach is also offering margaritas to go, as well as premium beer and wine. Established in 1965 by the late Manuel Santana, a very talented artist and community leader, Manuel’s is now owned and operated by his son Leonardo and his wife Patricia.

Red Apple Café

783 Rio Del Mar Blvd.
Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 685-1224

Another long-standing Aptos-Santa Cruz County business in Deer Park Market Place, the Red Apple Café is open only for to go orders. Led by Dan and Gracia Krakauer, the café is currently accepting take out orders daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. While the café is well known for its delicious breakfast and lunch dishes, some items may not be available due to supply. However the food is consistently delicious, so good that the café has repeatedly been voted Best Breakfast and Lunch restaurants in Santa Cruz County.

Scotts Valley Market

14 Victor Square
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
(831) 438-4324

Scotts Valley’s most popular grocery store has temporarily modified its store hours due to the current health crisis. Current store hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Scotts Valley Market also has special hours only for older adults 65+ from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The grocery’s deli is also open, serving items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. According to current online information, the grocery store does have toilet paper in stock. Scotts Valley Market and sister Ben Lomond Market are owned by the Clements family, whose business history dates back to January, 1946.

Staff of Life

1266 Soquel Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(831) 423-8632

The only green certified, locally owned market in Santa Cruz County, Staff of Life has had to make several adjustments due to the coronavirus pandemic. On weekdays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., only older adults and higher risk shoppers are allowed to shop. Among other temporary store policies in place are no returns for any item taken outside of the store and shoppers who bring their own bags are asked to bag their own items. Some items are currently unavailable, like the seating area and self-service hot foods.

Taylor Brothers Hot Dog Stand

336 Union St.
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 722-2402

Serving generations of residents, Taylor Brothers Hot Dogs is a clear Watsonville landmark. In the community for 65 years, Taylor Brothers hasn’t adjusted its hours for the pandemic, which is good news for loyalists. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday and closed on Sundays. Hot dogs “with everything” still come with mustard, relish, onions and flavorful chili made from a Taylor family recipe.

First Fast Food In Watsonville?

Perhaps the first fast food joint in Watsonville, Taylor Brothers also accepts phone orders but for large orders, customers must first come to the stand and make payment. Still owned by the Taylor family, the Watsonville-Santa Cruz County business is preceded by the Visalia business by two years.

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About The Author:

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS Local websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, he reportedly had a digital audience reach of 489 million. His stories have also appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC and and, among others. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.

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