Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jul 03rd
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 Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food