Soif is relocating a few blocks away, and a former chef has plans for the Walnut Avenue spot.
(Via Soif / Instagram)
Food & Drink

Soif 2.0 coming to former Caffe Pergolesi spot as ex-chef Majano plots return to Walnut Ave.

Soif Wine Bar and Merchant will close the doors on its Walnut Avenue location Sunday in downtown Santa Cruz, but a short move to the Victorian that once housed Caffe Pergolesi is in the works. Meanwhile, Santos Majano, onetime Soif chef who also headed the Kitchen at Discretion Brewing, is cooking up something with business partner Lejla Borovac for the spot Soif is vacating.

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One of Santa Cruz’s most beloved wine shops is preparing for a new season of life. Soif Wine Bar and Merchant is closing its doors on Walnut Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday after 21 years, owner and founder Patrice Boyle announced last week. Boyle is passing the reins to longtime employees Alexis Carr and Dede Eckhardt, who plan to reopen Soif at a new location nearby: the historic Dr. Miller building at Cedar and Elm streets, once home to Caffe Pergolesi.

Carr and Eckhardt continued to manage the wine shop after Soif Restaurant and Wine Bar closed in February 2022. They are keeping the name alive and continuing the legacy of Soif as a woman-owned and -operated business. Like the original, Soif 2.0 will offer an exceptional selection of thoughtfully produced wines from small producers by the glass, bottle and case. The duo plans to continue the wine club, wine classes and tasting events. No timeline was given to reopen the shop, but they are “working with various Santa Cruz agencies to facilitate the rapid opening of the new space.”

Visit now to toast the end of one era and the beginning of another — and stock up on wines before the break in operations. Soif is open at its original location through this Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Brutta, a pop-up by chef Amelia Telc, is in temporary residency at Soif for dinner on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch. Telc offers wine-friendly European bistro fare, like braised artichokes with aioli; cavatelli pasta with fried zucchini and pesto; and sabayon with Santa Rosa plums — although Tuesday, expect a pivot to Chinese. Such is the whimsy of pop-ups!

What’s next for the Soif space, which has been a vital culinary hub for more than 20 years? Former chef Santos Majano and business partner Lejla Borovac aim to open a new restaurant there in the coming months. Majano was the chef at Soif for six years before opening the Kitchen at Discretion at Discretion Brewing in Soquel, which he operated until it closed in 2020. Expect more information about this project soon.

It’s exciting news for anyone who loved and lost Caffe Pergolesi, housed in a beautiful Victorian home on Cedar Street with an iconic wraparound patio and wide front porch. The coffeehouse was a bohemian outpost in the community for 25 years until it closed in 2017, and has remained vacant, partially remodeled, for the past six years. Zillow shows that the building, which was listed for just shy of $3 million last June, reportedly sold for just over $1.7 million in March. Now, we can look forward to sipping drinks on the porch and rubbing elbows with Santa Cruz intelligentsia again.