Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Foodie File: Ken Botelho

dn foodieKen Botelho, owner of Caffe Bene, says his coffee shop on Cedar Street has had plenty of ups and downs since it opened in 1988. But he doesn’t mind when it gets slow: in between regular customers, Botelho just picks up a book or newspaper and reads. At this point, Caffe Bene is a local institution. “I still see cars going by—the years change. The models change,” he says. “I’m still serving coffee.”

GOOD TIMES: How have things evolved in 25 years?

KEN BOTELHO: I was much more successful here when I had two schools flanking me, and now they’re gone. The [Santa Cruz] Sentinel’s gone. I think the Sentinel at that time had around 150 employees. There were 100 kids at each school or more. Teachers used to hold their classes in here. When the city went on furlough, that took a bit out of Fridays. It’s been up and downs.

Did this building survive the 1989 earthquake?

Yeah, they came by and looked at it and said, ‘We’re going to have to yellow tag the building.’ I said, ‘What does that mean’ He said, ‘No unauthorized personnel in the building.’ ‘Okay, am I authorized?’ He says, ‘Oh yeah.’ ‘Are my employees authorized?” He says, ‘Oh, yeah.’ ‘Are my customers authorized?’ He says, ‘No.’ ‘Okay, so my employees can come in, but nobody else—I can live with that.’ I moved the entire operation to one counter, put a table up to the door, set up my pastries in the window and had people coming up to the door. I sold like that for two weeks.

What are we listening to? Mozart?

Pandora. Yeah, Thursday is classical day for the mornings. Some people really enjoy it and say, ‘This is the only place in town where you can hear classical music to drink your coffee.’ Monday’s Rat Pack, basically—Frank Sinatra and friends. On Tuesdays it’s French café music because I have a French club that meets here, and they speak conversational French for an hour.

Why do you and former Sentinel editor Tom Honig play dice here at the counter?

For many years, Tom and I roll for the coffee. If he wins, he gets it free. If he loses, he pays me twice.

And how does the house do?

He contends that he wins more than he loses, but I’m thinking it’s probably even. I’m not keeping track.


INFO: 1101 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, 425-0441

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

In The Time of Leo: Our Creative Efforts

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.