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What Should Go Here: Marie Callender's Building

What would you like to see replace the pie-centric restaurant?

It's been over nine months since next to the Capitola Mall, and still the building remains empty.

According to the Mercury News, that closure put approximately 38 people out of work in Capitola.

What would you like to see go in its place? Are you jonesing for a particular restaurant that Capitola currently lacks? Should it be a chain? Something locally-owned? Tell us in the comments!

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Brian Childers March 28, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Rumor was that Red Robin was moving in. Whoever moves in, I hope that they keep the meeting room in the back. We used to hold our Santa Cruz Marketing Roundtable meetups there. Haven't found a better venue yet.
Colleen March 28, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I would love to see a brewery at that location. Not a national chain, but keeping it local to Santa Cruz County. A good family friendly pub, similar to Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur which has had a robust run for many many years. The last thing we need is another corporate run establishment.
Brian Childers March 28, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Great idea Colleen!! Breweries always work for me!!
Jacob Bourne (Editor) March 28, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I guess that raises the question of it there's enough interior space to actually brew beer and serve food there, although I suppose beer could be brewed off site.
Peking March 28, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I, too, would love to see a brew pub or gastro-pub in this location, but there is no population density to support something like that. Chili's and Fresh Choice seem to have found the right formula for survival. So many restaurants like Red Lobster and others failed because they couldn't attract enough customers to keep profits going. Somehow, I think that if the demographics showed support for a new thriving restaurant with a vibrant bar scene, there would already be something in that location. This is a tough town for restaurants.
Kathy Katsuyama Ishikawa March 28, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I like the micro brew idea.... otherwise, I would like to see an Outback Restaurant. Where in mid-county and south can you find a good, reasonably priced steak?....
Jacob Bourne (Editor) March 28, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I recently realized the closest Olive Garden is in San Jose. We certainly have great Italian restaurants around, but Olive Garden has a huge following. I wonder how it would do in that location.
Fran Wincek March 28, 2012 at 04:52 PM
How about a cooking school/restaurant?? I LOVE the brew pub idea, too...
Always Question March 28, 2012 at 05:00 PM
IN 'N OUT! Definitely! They were denied consideration at Bay Ave & Nob Hill because of prospects of a traffic jam. IN 'N OUT always is crowded which would bring in moretax dollars than anything else suggested, and more customers to a wilting mall.
Peking March 28, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Olive Garden and Outback are great ideas, but density of population is lacking for these types of restaurants to be profitable.
Peking March 28, 2012 at 05:28 PM
The city of Capitola has an ordnance which prevents any new restaurants with a drive-through, therefore, no IN-N-OUT no matter where it's located.
Matt March 28, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Something like Claim Jumper or Cheesecake Factory.
Matt March 28, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Five Guys Burgers & Fries is another idea. They don't require a drive-through.
Peking March 28, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Love your suggestions, Matt. Now if only we could hear from some people who have the ability to put in actual restaurants I'd feel better about this whole discussion. What's the owner of the property doing to bring in something? This property has been empty for a long time.
Ashley S. March 28, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Hunans
Diana Jo Peters March 28, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Outback or Applebee's
Willow March 29, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Peking says that drive-thrus are forbidden in Capitola, yet when IN 'N OUT was first proposed, it was the traffic jam possibility, not the drive-in configuration, that was cited by the City as the reason why it was rejected. I even spoke with a person at the City Planning Department and that reason was not only verified, but I was also informed that the City liked the idea of an IN 'N OUT and was "working on getting them there." So it would seem that the Mall location would solve the traffic jam problem. IN 'N OUT does bring in a lot of business, even to its indoor seating, and a lot of employment opportunities and tax dollars to wherever they are. Seems an ideal setup to me.
Willow March 29, 2012 at 12:30 PM
There's already an Applebee's in the area in Watsonville, and I don't think there's enough possible customer base to justify another one so close. The nearest Outback is in San Jose, so that might be a better possibility. However, except in tourist season, the customer target studies might not show enough for either. I personally would enjoy either one, but all eateries have to consider their profit margin when settling on a location. Because the building is actually outside the mall, one would have to intend on going there, not stop by on impulse, as many do within the food court. I would hope that people throughout the area, including Watsonville and Scotts Valley, would come in to patronize whatever goes there, especially if it is an Outback, Olive Garden, or similar.
Willow March 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM
You're right that this is a tough town for restaurants, yet people here, as elsewhere, do go out to eat. Problem is, they go out to eat elsewhere because there is no where here. Sort of a Catch 22. Even though fast food places are plentiful (Carl's Jr, Dairy Queen, MacDonald's, Burger King,to name a few), I still think the addition of IN 'N OUT would bring a lot of customers. There is not one IN 'N OUT that sits idle any time during the day. Customers from throughout Santa Cruz County would make it there. I say this with confidence because they now go to Salinas, which is a lot, lot further than the Capitola Mall. Additionally, the last thing we need is another restaurant with a "vibrant bar scene" anywhere in this area. Capitola village is full of them, as well as Santa Cruz.
Willow March 29, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Hindquarters, Santa Cruz. Applebees, Watsonville.
Willow March 29, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Isn't the idea of filling that space to have something that is profitable and thus will stay, serving a dual purpose of offering food that the people, not only in the area, but beyond the county, will like, as well as providing a good tax base for the city? All of the ideas are great. I personally love Olive Garden, Outback, etc., but they have to consider their customer base which doesn't exist in enough quantities in this area to turn a profit, and thus make it worthwhile for them to be there. Have to have something that will fill up the parking lot with customers, customers who might be interested in moseying over to the mall either before or after eating, and patronizing the stores there. Outback, Olive Garden and the like are not the type of restaurants one goes to as part of a shopping expedition. The Mall needs a new breath of life, which Target will hopefully bring, and a new resturant in that location should also bring. A mini-brewery, while interesting, would not fit that bill.
Matt April 01, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Another idea: Original Pancake House! They have way better food than IHOP. http://www.originalpancakehouse.com/
Jamie Walker December 19, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Spaghetti factory or OLIVE GARDEN
Carol January 03, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Red Robin was an excellent idea, what happened? The building looks a lot like Mimi's Cafe, that would also be an idea. Santa Cruz/Capitola really need better restaurants we have such a poor selection compared to other towns
Carol January 03, 2013 at 06:26 PM
I think In & Out likes to be just off the freeway for visibility

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