As I mentioned on Monday, Jeff and I decided to head over to Aldo’s in Santa Cruz for lunch before heading out of town. I’d been there a few times on past visits with my parents, but Jeff had never been and I knew it would be right up his alley.
The restaurant has the perfect spot on the harbor–we grabbed a corner seat on their outdoor patio and had fun watching the boats and kayakers come in and out.
Aldo’s is entirely family run and features fresh, local ingredients and fish. According to their website,
Originally from the Italian coastal town of Sestri Levante, the Olivieri family came to California in the 1950’s and opened their first “stand” next to the Santa Cruz Wharf. Aldo fished while his wife Inez ran their business selling pizza, candied apples and other fresh fare. Their young sons Mauro and Walter helped out, with Mauro just old enough to park cars on the Beach Street Hill.
The operation grew, a pancake house on Portola Avenue followed. Aldo still fished, but found time to make fresh pasta and gnocchi each weekend — with recipes used by the family to this day. The family recognized the opportunity at the Santa Cruz Harbor and negotiated the Harbor’s first lease in 1962, opening a bait and tackle shop. The following year the family opened the Aldo’s Harbor House Restaurant where the Crow’s Nest stands today. Moving to what is now the West Harbor, the operation became a restaurant in 1977.