But there exists a kind of lull for SC restaurants in between the tourist season of summer and the holiday rush of November through January. Similarly, life tends to slow down for Santa Cruz residents as the sky grows grayer, school is back in session, and vacations can only be found in scrapbooks.
Modeled after restaurant weeks in other counties, its premise was simple: participating restaurants offer a fixed-price menu of $25 per person, with three options each for appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
That model remains the same, but while the first SCRW features only eleven fairly homogenous restaurants, this year diners can choose from a menu of thirty-three different places of various types of cuisine. Some new eateries to join this year’s festivities are Hula’s Island Grill, Pearl of the Ocean, and Zelda’s. Although it would be impossible to tackle every participating restaurant, many Santa Cruzans take as much advantage of the week as they can, with the local economy reaping the benefit.
“Many people dine out several nights during the week, and some every night,” says Lily Stoicheff, SCRW coordinator. “One of the ways this event is unique is it allows fine-dining restaurants in Santa Cruz County to promote as a group.”
You can find all of this year’s menus at SCRW’s website. One of the most creative options this year comes from Chocolate, a European-style cafe on Pacific Avenue. Their sister restaurant in Italy inspired their menu, which offers such temptations as artichoke shrimp salad, butternut squash rosettes, and a chocolate and apricot torte.
Louie’s Cajun Kitchen, which just opened last year, is approaching it’s first SCRW with style, serving fried green tomatoes, catfish with jalapeño cream sauce, and beignets to top it all off. Meanwhile, Long-time SCRW veteran Red Restaurant and Bar will keep things interesting with mizuno salad, seared duck breast, and the option of a cheese plate with blackberry compote for dessert.
Regardless of which spots you select for your dining pleasure, Stoicheff says Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons.
“SCRW encourages locals to experience new restaurants they haven’t try before,” she says,” or return to an old favorite and rediscover it.”