The fourth annual Golden Carrot Award recipients from Santa Cruz County were announced late last week and six of the 22 food joints are proudly located right here in the Capitola-Soquel-Aptos area.
The winners include popular spots like the in Capitola, in Soquel, on Soquel Drive, Pleasure Pizza on 41st Avenue, in Capitola, and The Farm Bakery Café in Aptos.
The “Go For Health! Collaborative” recognized these six spots for going beyond the standards of food quality and providing customers with some of the healthiest dishes around town.
“We are so happy to win this award,” said El Chipotle owner Pedro Hernandez.
Pedro and his wife Susy Hernandez have operated their restaurant on Soquel Drive for the last three years with a traditional Mexican restaurant menu but also throw in a robust variety of 22 different veggies like zucchini, eggplant and cactus as well as the use of brown rice and peanut oil.
However, Pedro admits they didn’t offer nutritional items right off the bat and it took time for him and Susy to offer healthier alternatives.
The growing number of children and adults who are obese or overweight has become an epidemic in our country and local community, which can lead to devastating chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and early death, according to the Go For Health! Collaborative.
Most folks are always on the run either because of work, school, or just a busy day of running errands, and when it’s time to eat people tend to choose a burger joint or sandwich shop, where little is known about the quality of ingredients.
But Pleasure Pizza owner Derek Rupp doesn't want people to worry when they come into his restaurant.
“Health and Nutrition are a big part of my life,” said Rupp.
His background in healthy foods is impressive. After graduating from Bauman College with a degree in Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, he became a nutrition consultant.
“People love pizza,” said Rupp. “But they can see we also have organic salads, organic sandwiches and gluten-free items like pancakes and French toast. I thought, ‘You can have pizza, but you can get a healthier option and get a serving of vegetables at the same time.’”
What's your favorite healthy restaurant in town? Are you a fan of the ones that won locally? Tell us in the comments!