Infrastructure design at Alderwood—an upcoming outpost of “oysters, cocktails, and steaks”—is already well underway at 155 Walnut St. (former location of Erik’s Deli) in downtown Santa Cruz. At the helm as partner and chef is Jeffrey Wall who brings a resumé with him that includes Atlanta’s Kimball House and Denver’s Hearth & Dram. Three seating areas, including a bar and chef’s counter will showcase Wall’s fresh food stylings built upon a French culinary background spun forward into a fresh California setting.
“I am a beef enthusiast,” Wall told me last week. “And California, as with nearly every ingredient, is home to excellent beef.” The cuisinartist has some sophisticated plans. “Alderwood will feature five to six types of beef, from ultra-lean grass-fed to the richest wagyu breed.” Wall, who was trained in French cooking techniques, plans to add “fresh fish and tons of local vegetables” to the menu focus on aged beef.
The restaurant-in-progress will fill several other niches in local cuisine. For example, Wall plans to offer a dozen or more kinds of West Coast oysters at his in-house oyster bar. “The most obvious gap for me is the fact that we will be open later than most other restaurants,” he reveals. And that means that foodies can enjoy a meal after the movie or theater. And Alderwood will be able to “offer great food and dining to the industry professionals of Santa Cruz.” Good news for those who don’t get off work until closing time at most other restaurants.
“The primary goal for me is to write a truly expressive menu,” Wall says. “The true colors of the menu will always be expressed with the produce.” A savvy professional barely into his ’30s, Wall knows that however provocative one’s food philosophy may be, “philosophy alone will not yield a great restaurant. The average diner will not eat our food just because it was grown a certain way. It has to taste amazing, too.”
To that end, he is interested in organic produce because the results are invariably “more dynamic, delicious and explosive.” Same with locally grown items. “A peach grown and picked closer tastes better. It is less likely to be refrigerated. More likely to be ripe.” Wall chose Santa Cruz when the recent opportunity arose, but he’d been impressed with the Bay Area market scene since visiting seven years ago. “I quickly learned that Santa Cruz was home to some of the best farmers in the country—possibly the world.” Jeffrey Wall is also pretty convinced that Santa Cruz is a community that shares his love for “tasty and healthy food.” All the more reason to look forward to the October opening of Alderwood. I’ll be watching the development of this new restaurant, so stay tuned.
Storrs Readies Corralitos Debut
At long last the dust has settled and winemakers Pam and Steve Storrs can actually say the words “grand opening” about their LEED-certified estate winery and tasting room, ready to open next month at their Corralitos winery. “Early August,” promises Steve Storrs, who plans to have tasting hours at the gorgeous new winery building on Saturdays “and possibly Sundays too during the summer.” The familiar Sash Mill Storrs tasting room will stay open, but the winemakers hope that between the exciting new facility and the award-winning reputation of Storrs wines, even more winetasting action will aim toward South County.
“Corralitos is such a super spot,” he (needlessly) reminded me. Storrs, Windy Oaks, Alfaro—three outstanding reasons to visit the south side of the Santa Cruz Mountains winegrowing region.