There were several restaurants that opened in 2014 in the Santa Cruz area, and I’ve narrowed that group to my favorite seven.
Restaurants are listed alphabetically, with the first likely coming as a surprise to no one.
First up is Assembly, which opened to much fanfare this past March. Read the Assembly review, or use the links below to read about a few of the best new restaurants in Santa Cruz:
Zach Davis and Kendra Baker opened Assembly, their latest venue and their first full-service restaurant, in March. The dynamic duo first opened The Penny Ice Creamery in 2010 and followed that with The Picnic Basket and then more Penny locations.
Back Nine Grill & Bar
Back Nine Grill & Bar replaced the former Peachwood’s at The Inn at Pasatiempo. The restaurant opened in August after undergoing interior renovations, resulting in a pleasant ambience that is a vast improvement over Peachwood’s.
Kaito opened in May in the former location of Pink Godzilla. The fact that the web site includes the word smile should tell you a lot: it makes chef/owner Koji Goto very happy to provide customers with first-rate, reasonably priced food.
Lúpulo Craft Beer House
Lupulo Craft Beer House, owned and operated by Noëlle Antolin and Stuyvesant Bearns, is a tasting room, restaurant, and bottle shop that offers 16 rotating taps and over a hundred bottled beers. The atmosphere is cozy, with tables and a bar.
Zac Craeger opened Midtown Cafe in January 2014. It’s primarily a breakfast and lunch place, although they are open “most Friday nights” (more on that later) and they do have beer and wine available. It’s a casual, friendly neighborhood spot.
Chef Noah Kopito is the man behind Mortal Dumpling, which is mostly a restaurant that does pop-ups, including a regular Thursday gig. Every Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. you can find Mortal Dumpling at POPUP, next door to Assembly.
It’s in the former location of Yogurt Express.
There is bound to be some debate. Let us know if you agree with these selections. Are there other new restaurants that you think Santa Cruz Life readers should know about? Feel free to mention them in the comments.