Capitola Village restaurant repairs moving along; some aiming to reopen within weeks

A worker dumps sand back onto Capitola Beach.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The timelines vary for Capitola Village restaurants’ reopening, but the work is under way, and some look to open within weeks.

Battered buildings and flooded dining areas replaced the typically idyllic scenery of Capitola Village in the aftermath of January’s series of atmospheric rivers, and the city’s beachside restaurants make up many of those damaged structures.

While some are looking at extended closures as they piece their establishments back together, others could be open for business again in the very near future.

Paradise Beach Grille manager and Capitola Mayor Margaux Keiser was at the restaurant Monday, alongside workers in the process of redoing the floors in anticipation of the restaurant reopening as early as next week.

“Not full capacity, but some capacity,” she said, adding that the current plan is to pay out of pocket to restart service and seek reimbursement later. “We’re just kind of working with what we have.”

Jeff Lantis, who owns The Sand Bar restaurant with his wife, Minna, dealt with the loss of their food and beverage inventory along with extensive floor damage.

“There was a significant loss that we haven’t even been able to totally tally yet,” he said.

Lantis said he has had friends and construction teams alike come to the restaurant to work on various aspects of the rebuild, and is grateful for the support from the federal and local levels.

“We started a GoFundMe, and that’s pretty much all going towards trying to save my kitchen staff,” he said. “I’ve had at least three staff members that have been with me since the very start. They’re like gold to me.”

While the building’s landlord hopes to have the business up and running by spring break, Lantis thinks that might be difficult. Much like nearby Zelda’s On The Beach, Lantis hopes his restaurant can reopen by Memorial Day.