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New Aptos restaurants open amid pandemic

Betty Burgers Aptos

APTOS, Calif. (KION) In the growing Aptos Village, several eateries have opened for business since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Betty Burgers, who is established within the Santa Cruz County community with several other locations, opened the same week the shelter-in-place began in March.

“We were standing in the parking lot the day the shelter in place took place," manager Naomi Winterton said. ""And all of our trucks were pulling in..."

"Loads of food coming. Ready to open for full service,” owner Laurie Negro said.

Since then, it's had to deal with the limitations that have closed many other restaurants during the pandemic.

“It was super scary. We didn’t know what the community would think. How crazy is it to open in the middle of a pandemic?” Negro said.

The burger joint had its hiccups with starting new online orders and adjusting to outdoor seating, but has managed to keep all of its employees amid the pandemic. Some employed at the downtown Santa Cruz location moved to the Aptos restaurant.

“We had put ridiculous amounts of money into this, and to let it sit with a mortgage still due and everything else was financially really not viable,” Negro said.

In early June, a new Penny Ice Creamery opened in the Aptos Village too.

“We’ve actually been planning for about seven years to open this location. It just happened it coincided with the health crisis that’s going on,” owner Zach Davis said.

The ice cream shop never opened inside, and serves the ice cream through the front window. Even with the limitations, the Penny Ice Creamery said they're looking to hire.

“Even within the few months of summer, there’s been a lot of ups and downs. It's hard to even anticipate week-to-week,” Davis said.

Businesses in the new Aptos Village were banking on the new “village green,” which planned to have weekly live music this summer. Instead the eateries say loyal locals, and their well known names are keeping them afloat.

The concern is when the weather starts to turn for fall.

“That will prove a huge challenge for the restaurants that are succeeding with outside dining and to go, whether or not you can muster through another winter of just [takeout],” Negro said.

Coronavirus / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories

Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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