Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Aug 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Just Do It!

dining_diningFrom fried appetizers to fresh salads and giant burgers, Rocco's 503 is fresh

I have great respect for restaurateurs. It's a time-consuming profession, and in Santa Cruz, includes a seasonal risk. The odds of surviving a year in this business are small, but for Peter Rinaldi, owner of Rocco's 503, it was time to take the leap.

Rinaldi's Italian grandfather, and then his father, grew Brussels sprouts on the north coast. All of his cousins and their children still farm throughout the county.

"It just wasn't for me," Rinaldi says, "I always wanted to do something a little more social. I wanted to make my own path."

Rinaldi has been working in or managing restaurants since he was 23, and in March 2007 purchased Callahan's bar on Water Street.

"When the restaurant next door became available," Rinaldi says, "I thought it was a perfect opportunity to run a restaurant without having to run across town. If I didn't do it somebody else would have. I've always wanted to be able to facilitate food to my bar patrons."

In just two rent-free weeks, Rinaldi painted, decorated, added a draft beer system, and wired a high definition TV. This was easy, he says, compared to pulling together a menu and staff, but he couldn't afford to pay rent without customers.

Fortunately long-time local chef James Gorman was an occasional patron at Callahan's. He prepared an amazing New York steak with blue cheese au gratin potatoes for Rinaldi, and the chef was on board.

There were numerous reasons why Rinaldi should not have opened Rocco's, including his financial situation, the fact that October is the beginning of the slow season, and the circumstances under which the previous restaurant closed.

"For me the timing was wrong," Rinaldi remembered. "After you assess everything and have your page of pros and cons, it comes down to 'are you going to do this or not do this?' On the page of pros I had the experience and commitment to make it work."

Rinaldi works four service shifts at the restaurant to control costs, as well as cleaning, maintenance, accounting and ordering for both of his establishments.

"I'd love to have a bigger staff," Rinaldi laments," but I just can't afford it right now."

He delivered fliers to local businesses to lure lunchtime customers.

"Lunch has been picking up and I'm really proud of that," Rinaldi says. "I bought a business that was doing low lunch dollars, and I'm building it."

Besides the regular menu, lunch includes weekday pasta specials ($8.95). All of the pasta is freshly made by Santa Cruz Pasta Company. Available daily, the gourmet Burger and a Beer ($9.95) can be embellished with bacon, avocado and other tasty toppings.

Rinaldi is there to open the doors every day, keeping close watch on the pulse of his two businesses. After many straight months of work, he could finally escape for a snow day.


Rocco's 503, 503 Water St., Santa Cruz, 425-1213. Beer and wine. Serving lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. Visit roccos503.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

His Dinner With David

Author + reporter = brainy talk in ‘End of the Tour’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual