Matt Twisselman has a few favorite times of day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
One is the morning, when, save for the waves crashing on Cowell Beach, everything is calm and quiet. There are also Friday nights, while there’s a band rocking onstage, and September, when the crowds start dying down. And then, of course, there are busy summer afternoons, when the whole scene is bustling with people. “You see people speaking all different languages, and everyone is having a good time. That really feeds me,” says Twisselman, who co-owns four Boardwalk concession stands with his wife, Paula.
At their four food stands—Board Wok, California Wraps, Hot Dog on a Stick, and World Grill—the Twisselmans have prioritized real food and fresh ingredients. Twisselman says that on the day that California Wraps first opened in 1997, a customer walked up to the stand, glanced at the menu, threw her hands up and screamed, “Finally, something I can eat at the Boardwalk!”
Twisselman, who eats at his stands every day, first worked at the Boardwalk at age 15. His family has been in business there for 84 years.
What’s your favorite thing to eat here?
MATT TWISSELMAN: Usually I get some chow mein with some fresh chargrilled chicken, put some vegetables on it. We make our own sauces as well. My absolute favorite is the spicy peanut sauce.
I love the Giant Dipper. I honestly don’t ride the rides much anymore. I avoid the spinny rides, but when they bring a new ride in, I always go on it, and then I think I shouldn’t have done that three times in a row. You get to a certain age, and you lose your equilibrium.
What’s the best band coming this summer?
I love the Fixx. That’s my genre. Blue Oyster Cult is fun. It’s a big draw. I like the big draws. We’re looking forward to Los Lonely Boys. They’ve never been here before, and they’re good.
I just ate three Hot Dogs on a Stick. How long should I wait before I go on the Fireball?
At least an hour.