Food & Drink

Windmill Cafe Offers Home Cooking on the Eastside

Owner Mary Apra cooks, bakes, grows many of her own ingredients

Owner Mary Apra grows many of the ingredients used in Windmill Café’s dishes. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Owner Mary Apra does the cooking and baking at Windmill Café. She also grows a lot of the ingredients she uses. Apra had worked in food service for much of her life, so she jumped at the opportunity to purchase the business—housed in a historic building on East Cliff Drive—12 years ago after seeing it listed on Craigslist. Windmill Café offers a variety of eclectic comfort food from 8am-2pm every day of the week. Take-out or dine in the enclosed garden patio flourishing with flowers and fruit trees. Apra recently spoke to GT about menu standouts and her delicious baked goods.

What are some breakfast menu highlights?

MARY APRA: We do a croissant with scrambled eggs, sheep’s milk feta cheese, sautéed organic veggies and a dill mustard sauce. The sauce is our house specialty, and people love it. We also do a daily scramble with two eggs sautéed with organic greens from my garden and served with toast of choice. We specialize in vegan and gluten-free food, too, such as our delicious gluten-free waffles. We also do a great tofu scramble that is totally vegan, and house potatoes can be added. These are Yukon Golds that are oven-roasted and sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and paprika, salt and pepper. Another really popular breakfast item is our “Breakarito,” which has sautéed cabbage, potatoes, cheese, salsa and eggs; guests can add bacon, sausage or avocado.

Lunchtime favorites?

We do a lot of wild salmon dishes, such as seared with vegetables, in an Asian-style stir fry, and a coconut curry that can have tempeh, tofu or salmon. We also have a gluten-free white rice noodle bowl with organic veggies and a spicy Thai coconut sauce. And we do a great grilled goat cheese and lox sandwich with dill mustard sauce and tomatoes on a choice of organic sourdough, organic sprouted wheat or gluten-free bread.

What baked goods would you recommend?

I do a lot of gluten-free muffins that change often, such as a zucchini chocolate, lemon poppy seed, blueberry-orange, and a ginger plum with plums from the tree in my front yard. We also do a great gluten-free Mexican chocolate brownie with cinnamon, ancho and espresso. I use my proprietary blend of gluten-free flours focusing on almond meal and ancient grains such as amaranth, flax, sorghum and brown rice.

21231 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz, 831-464-4698;

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