There are no white tablecloths at Earthbelly, and no special dress codes—and that’s exactly the point. The restaurant serves food that is 100-percent organic and non-GMO-based—a luxury more common at high-end restaurants. But the cuisine is casual enough to grab and go, or sit down and have a cozy meal with friends after a day at the beach. The point that co-owner Tammy Ogletree insists on is that even when you order a slice of pizza or grab a burger, there’s no reason to fill your body with chemicals. Ogletree opened the restaurant a couple months back with husband Chad Greer and general manager Sarah Davis. She tells us exactly what makes Earthbelly tick.
What’s the concept behind the restaurant?
We feel that people of all incomes should be able to have access to clean, unprocessed food. It’s very sad and disheartening to see what’s happened to food production in this world. There’s no relationship left with the people and the Earth and what they’re putting in their bodies. My husband and I have been in fine dining for a long time. These people have a lot of money, and they can afford to have whatever they want—the 1 percent. We’re not a health food restaurant at all. We’re not vegan, we’re not vegetarian, we’re not gluten-free. We have something for everybody. We have a pretty wide, varied menu. Our main priority is to serve 100-percent non-GMO and organic food for the 99 percent. It’s a great place to meet up in Santa Cruz because it’s centrally located, we say it’s in the belly of Santa Cruz. It’s a meeting place. People get together and share ideas and meals over food, over beer, maybe a cappuccino.
What’s the scope of your menu?
A lot of what Earthbelly is doing is convenient-style food—not sitting down, having a swanky dinner and several courses. It’s about being on the go, and we have a busy lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you have to bite the bullet and eat McDonald’s, or put something in your body that’s not necessarily good for it or the Earth. The menu was designed with salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas—these are things that we can get out, and you can have on your table in 5-10 minutes. Our fish sandwich is a huge seller. It’s made with local cod. We have this monster BLT that we just can’t cook enough bacon for. Our BLT is made with organic bacon, non-GMO of course. We put it on a house-made brioche bun. But you have choices to add on to it. We also use heirloom tomatoes. You know a BLT is all about the tomato. You can add avocado, you can add cheese, you can add a fried egg. This BLT can really turn into a monster BLT. We sell quite a few of those.
381 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. 621-2248, eatearthbelly.com.