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Long-Gone Restaurants ... Which Ones Do You Miss Most?

We've seen a few close down for good in the past few years. What are some of the places that you wished could have held on?

The story on the Beach Street Diner's planned reopening brought back a lot of memories of the old place—it was the unofficial place for farmers and ranchers to meet in the mornings and the spot to get the most thorough agriculture news in the valley.

Every Patch restaurant story seems to spur recollections of other eateries from times-gone-by. Writing about Jardines in San Juan Bautista led to an education on La Manzana, a restaurant that the late Jardines patriarch Manuel Santana.

Patch reader Steve Bankhead shared that Santana had "local restaurant La Manzana, which was open in the 1980's on the 100 block of West Lake across from the Resetar Hotel. It offered fine food, live music, and a beautifully landscaped courtyard, where one could enjoy an excellent meal enhanced by acoustic guitar or other musical enjoyment."

The opening of Props, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"props-takes-off-at-airport"} --> at the Watsonville Airport brought back memories of and

Lena Gilardoni September 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Long before Manuel Santana opened El Jardin,he had Manuel's in Seacliff.I believe,it began in the early 60's.Fantastic food!
Born & Raised September 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Before it was Lorene's Packing Shed, it was The Leprechaun. Green Valley Grill began as Shells, and Zuniga's (now Props) was the Belly Landing once upon a time.
Jennifer Squires September 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM
And it's still there!
Jennifer Squires September 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Reader Steve Bankhead shared this, and two photos you see above: "I wish I had happier photos to share, but here are two I took Feb. 17, 2008 when Peter and his mom Lucy had the iconic Del Monte sign (dating from the 1940s) taken down. The first photo shows it being removed, and the 2nd photo shows Lucy and Peter with the sign and the friends who helped remove it. Left to right: Rick Machado, Lucy Kovacich, Peter Kovacich, Eric Buska, Steve Bokariza and Butch Russo. "
Geechyguy September 17, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Yes - George at both locations was Fun and Friendly at Rancho Grande - I LOVED the old place - lots of charm - I feel the NEW place was the downfall of it all ....too big - lost the charm........and I bet it cost a mint...... Rancho Grande was a fun place to go eat lunch..... and weekend breakfasts. A Watsonville Classic.............. AND don't forget about the MONA LISA down off Riverside and the Patio - and the biggest tostadas and burritos around............long before the BIG burritos became fashionable........and I believe if I remember right - food for $1?
David H. Perez September 17, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Mansion House and Bistro Cafe.
831 September 17, 2012 at 06:27 PM
I would say mansion house,Rancho Grande Tubby's
Patricia September 17, 2012 at 06:34 PM
The Miramar on Main St. had great food and made everyone feel so welcome . They served the hot garlice French bread while we waited for our meals to be served ... friendly and welcoming was as good as the delicious Mediterranean food. And the old Rancho Grande way out in Freedom ... the little red building was always full and served delicious food to families as well. I do agree, the move to the new building on Marin and Freedom Blvd. was a big mistake. The Del Monte Cafe at Walker and W. Beach was another great place for people to meet and be welcomed like family. The delicious food was prepared before your eyes and was served with welcoming smiles ... no packaged potatoes or veggies ... always fresh. The original Chopstick was a favorite for the family as well. Shell's and later Green Valley Grill was always a great place for special dinners and banquets. Lorene's Packing Shed was another great place for get to gethers on special occaions ... great food and lots of it! And now we enjoy Cowboys' Corner where we are all made to feel like family and welcomed by congenial staff! Applebee's has given so much to this community and deserves an award for their donations to the many non profits with their special breakfasts on Saturdays.
Lena Gilardoni September 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Yes and remember how Lucy would go to the walk in and bring out the side and cut the ribs steaks . I would also say both The DelMonte and The Miramar had a few things from their Croation heritage.
Kristie Jones September 17, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I miss Rancho Grande and Green Valley Grill at its old location.
Fred Pointer September 18, 2012 at 02:33 AM
the Noon, the Manzanita and their skirt steak sandwich, Virg's Pizza & Chicken, let's not forget Big Al's for breakfast, Mt. Madonna Inn, and the best hamburgers in town at Georgia's Hamburger Heaven.
Fred Pointer September 18, 2012 at 02:36 AM
sorry it was the NOOK.
Judith Johnson September 18, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Del Monte Cafe for lamb shanks 2X/ mo was a favorite for us; same table; same waitress-Stella. Sorely missed.
Gold Country Gal September 18, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Goldcountry Oh yeah I remember Mona Lisa they we're HUGE burritos an only a dollar I had my first when I was in my late teens now over 50!! Wow that was so long ago thanks for reminding about that place. Whenever I get a burrito I Always think of Mona Lisa.
KEN SCHWAN September 18, 2012 at 04:20 AM
THE WOOLWORTHS COUNTER ..DOWNTOWN..GRILLED RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU AND THE MILK SHAKE THE EVEN GAVE YOU THE REST IN THE METAL CUP... LAMB SHANKS AT THE DEL MONTE..THE BEST...OLD SCHOOL WATSONVILLE...
Jennifer Squires September 18, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Must've been amazing lamb. On Facebook, Susan Lonnblad said "The Del Monte Cafe. Lamb shanks to die for. Perfect calamari." Also, Pamela Moreno shared "Del Monte and Miramar..and the Nook for silver dollar pancakes." Marsha Marani said "The Miramar. When I was pregnant with my twins, they fed me pot roast and mashed potatoes in the booth, until I was too big for the booth... Then Pete brought a chair from home and sat me at the end of the booth. He was so proud to be feeding two little babies. We loved that place!!!" And Pam Cheaney weighed in with "Royal grill! Went there during lunch at WHS!"
Longtime local gal September 18, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Oh thank you for mentions of Woolworth's and The Nook Cafe. I was fortunate to be introduced to the Woolworth's counter by an elderly friend who had a long history of much-loved visits there. So glad I got to enjoy it for awhile before it closed. I wasn't here to experience the original Nook much but loved it when run by the couple ... late 80's?, 90's? By the couple who were also running the Good Earth up at UCSC. Maybe someone can refresh me with their names - and tribe? They were/are WONDERFUL people and I loved the proud native american heritage that permeated every aspect of the cafe. Great vibes and food.
Cathy P. September 18, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Definitely the Mansion House, the Nook, and Bistro - although I think it was originally called the Bagel Bistro - where the new Green Valley Grill is located. There was an awesome Mexican place where the new Nacho Mama's is called Fiesta Tepa-Sahuayo that was so authentic it was unbelieveable!
Martha P Quintana September 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I miss the Mansion House. It had a good variety of food. I had the best lobster bisque there once. I also miss the previous location of Green Valley Grill
Martha P Quintana September 18, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Oh yeah!! I forgot the Woolworth's counter. My sister actually worked there when she was in High school. Also the Ford's counter.
Steve Bankhead September 18, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Longtime local gal: The owners of the Nook in the 90's (and the UCSC eatery) you're trying to remember were Rio & Chavela Riotutar. I believe Chavela was Navaho and her husband Chippewa, but they retained many specialties of the former Filipino owner, including some great adobo. They also had a lunch special called "The Turkey Boat" whose name survives today as a Pajaro restaurant. Speaking of the Riotutars, their last restaurant in Watsonville was the coffee shop at the Cabrillo Lanes bowling alley...a couple of years before it closed. Memory check time: How many remember when the bowling alley had a lunch buffet back in the 80s? Best southern fried chicken ever.
Stef Field September 20, 2012 at 07:37 PM
ill go back even further.........Pronto Pup......would love to have the recipe for THEIR corndogs.....but actually there is a difference.....but Pronto Pup and Donut Den and the place by the police station that sold chili hotdogs, whatever the name was SF. displaced Watsonvillian
Lena Gilardoni September 20, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The hot dog stand was Taylors ,I believe same as today,and does anyone remember Spud Nuts,wasn't that before Pronto Pup was located in that building?? Oh yes,another was Carrolls Truck Stop.Twelve burgers for $1.00.
janey leonardich September 21, 2012 at 01:53 PM
The lunch counter at Ford's Department store....that was the place to gather and visit with the locals and enjoy great home made pies....especially the strawberry pie.
HizDesign September 30, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Yes! I remember Spud Nuts, as well as Pronto Pup, and how about C-Bar-M?
Tejas Edwards October 11, 2012 at 11:26 PM
The Train Deli, both the Scotts Valley and the 41st ave version, best Pastrami sandwich ever!
Old Watsonville November 28, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Lots of old memories stirred as I sit in Phoenix eating my sandwich.
Celi89 January 07, 2013 at 10:14 PM
For those who mentioned the Mona Lisa in Watsonville, it will be re-opened soon!!! Keep an eye out... The recipes will be the same... Super everything is coming back!! See you guys soon :)
Amy December 09, 2013 at 01:17 AM
The Mirimar! Our family has so many memories of EATING THERE WITH our late Grandma. The place was so warm, inviting, and their hot beef sandwich was the BEST! I still remember all the pictures of Loni Anderson & Bill Reynolds on their wall! The place was legendary!
gailand simmons March 13, 2014 at 02:14 PM
Well, I can't believe my luck in finding WatsonvillePatch. I'd love to hear more about The Mirimar, the Del Monte, and Woolworths. I lived in Freedom when I was a little boy. My stepfather was Wally Honeycutt. He owned the bowling alley when it was across the street from the Plaza. I'd love to know the addresses of the three restaurants above, specific meals that were on their menus, and favorite memory stories. I remember going to all of these restaurants. Any one who remembers the bowling alley and the lunch counter there gets a gold star for any recollections, details, or stories they have to share.

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