Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her
Luke Aton, a supervisor at Betty’s Eat Inn on Pacific Avenue, moved to Santa Cruz from the Midwest in 2011 and found a job right away. We sat down with with Aton, now a supervisor, to talk burgers, how to cope with the weather and his Green Bay Packers.
How long have you been here?
LUKE ATON: I’ve been here almost four years, originally from Wisconsin. I’ve been busing, serving, bartending, since 17.
Oh, I remember you. I came in your first week. My friend and I were asking, ‘Who finds a job immediately after moving here?’
Yeah, I came a month beforehand, because I knew I wanted to be here. I put resumes all around town, every restaurant. I handed out 100. And I got a call back the first morning, and I’ve been here since.
Do you have a favorite burger?
The Mad Mex here is amazing. Homemade guacamole, spicy pepper jack cheese. We’ve got a chipotle mayonnaise we put on the burger—really popular. It’s my go-to, but I like to switch it up—some chicken, some veggie burger.
Do people ever comment on the sexual themes in the menu items and descriptions?
They very much do. It’s funny, and we play to it. If they want sauce instead of lube, we say “OK, so no lube?” I think people have fun with it. It keeps people having a good time, and that’s what we’re all about here.
Have you met Betty yet?
I have. She interviewed me. She hired me because I’m in a band, which is great, because anyone who’s a fan of music, I’m a fan of. I’m in a couple of bands around town—Jolly Llamas, Snakeskin Heart.
Huh, I always assumed Betty was just a fake person, a play off Bette Davis.
Oh no. She’s not really around, but she, I think, lives in San Francisco. Laurie and Juan Vallador run the company. But she was here at the very beginning, when they opened here. So, it was nice to meet her, because she’s not around for a lot of hiring right now. Which is awesome—she’s been able to retire and do her thing.
What’s your take on Aaron Rodgers’ season?
Definitely MVP of the year. He’s fascinating to watch: tightest spiral in the league, best decision-making. He can do it with his feet, outside the pocket. Unbelievable, man.
1222 Pacific Ave Santa Cruz. 600-7056. PHOTO: Luke Aton has met the real Betty of Betty’s Burgers. CHIP SCHEUER