Scotts Valley: Where to eat and drink

Fresh sushi at Scotts Valley's Otoro Sushi.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

There are many fast-food joints dotting Scotts Valley’s two main roads. But there are just as many family-owned eateries that serve delicious and diverse food. Don’t expect a dinner date to turn into an all-nighter. Most restaurants with bars close by 10 p.m or earlier.

The sushi: Otoro and Rumble Fish have some of the best sushi in the county. It is obvious that both these establishments value freshness, flavor and service.

The Loaded Bloody Mary at Bruno’s Bar & Grill: Stop by for a drink and meal all in one. Brunos’ bloody mary is decked out with a chicken wing, a tri-tip slider and all the garnishes to boot. Order the loaded tots for the table and thank me later.

Malone’s Grille: This Irish pub originally opened in 1980 and was purchased by the local Fontana family in 2016. The transformation into an American gastropub suits locals and visitors with unpretentious, delicious food and a deep drink menu. My nieces and I are partial to the Hiram Scott Burger. Its bun is seared with a bold letter M which could stand for Malone’s, or Mia, or just MINE. There are six other burgers on the menu, creative small plates, thoughtful salads, quality steaks and seafood, too.

Cruise Coffee Cafe: Sometimes it’s the simple things that get us through the day. Perfect coffee and breakfast burritos are two of those things. A drive-thru kiosk awaits commuters alongside Mount Hermon Road before the Highway 17 entrance. This woman-owned business has many regulars and recently opened a second location in the bus depot across from the library.

Camp Evers Shopping Center: This funky-shaped shopping center at the corner of Mount Hermon Road and Scotts Valley Drive always has action. Whether it’s late-morning pancake seekers at Auntie Mame’s, middle school students flooding the parking lot after school craving sandwiches from Redwood Sandwich Company, or parties celebrating with chips, salsa and pitchers at Maya Mexican Restaurant. It’s hard to miss the equally funky mural on the south-facing wall that honors some of the best characters of the late Santa’s Village.

The Hangar complex in Scotts Valley
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Hangar: One of the newest additions to Scotts Valley, the Hangar is home to a Penny Ice Creamery, Faultline Brewing Company and Home by Zinnia’s boutique. There’s a proposal to open a gym in the space, too. The large retail space has the potential to be a local hangout. Time will tell.

Jia Tellas Cambodian Cuisine/JT’s Bar Next Door/Two Doors: Since Jia Tellas opened in 2007, owner Jason Revino has seemed poised to take over the Scotts Valley Junction shopping center with his various culinary passions. The Cambodian menu features both fried and fresh spring rolls, traditional soups and main dishes with your choice of beef, pork, chicken, tofu or shrimp. It has similarities to Thai and Chinese eateries, but with a Cambodian flair of its own. Two Doors (which is fittingly two doors down from Jia’s) is a great place to grab a beer and a burger. Its mountain biking décor attracts local bikers looking for fuel and a fun atmosphere. JT’s Bar is temporarily closed.

Erik’s DeliCafe: I know, I know. It’s a franchise. So why am I writing about it? Because Erik Johnson opened the original Erik’s Deli in its current Scotts Valley location in 1973 and he hasn’t franchised this one to date. I’d estimate I’ve consumed over 20,000 calories in sandwiches, pasta salad and cookies from this historic establishment in my lifetime — and I’ll continue to add to that number. Thank you, Erik, for your quality food, employing locals and staying put for all these years.

MacKenzie Bar & Grill: If you feel like getting out for breakfast on a weekend morning, I suggest the short drive (or longer e-bike ride, or lung-bursting bike ride) to this Pasatiempo Golf Course gem. Located in the clubhouse, this casual spot doesn’t require a golf club membership or collared shirt to dine. Most tables offer incredible views of the bay. The menu isn’t fancy or long (my preference), and the bacon is just … well … special. The restaurant also serves tasty lunch, and it’s a great place to have a drink and watch the fog roll in from the bay, often lingering at the base of the hilly neighborhood in dramatic fashion.

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