Capitola’s Shadowbrook Restaurant Celebrates 75th Anniversary

Capitola’s Shadowbrook Restaurant enjoys a storied history as one of the region’s first destination eateries. This signature spot has been the setting for proposals, celebrations, and other commemorative events throughout its history. Originally built as a summer home overlooking Soquel Creek in the 1920s, the log cabin that is now Shadowbrook restaurant was once a private residence. Later the hillside structure was enlarged to include what is now known as the “Fireside Room,” with its hanging balcony and Swiss chalet decor. Eventually, the home was sold to another family, who, for unknown reasons, abandoned it a few years later.

When the restaurant’s original partners discovered the house in 1944, it stood in ruin. It took those entrepreneurs three years of painstaking work to restore the structure, hacking a steep path out of the tangled underbrush and carrying every piece of furniture and equipment down the treacherous hillside.

Expansion of the eatery continued, and care was taken to thoughtfully preserve the architectural design of the structure. A garden room, wine cellar, redwood room, rooftop herb garden, and a dramatic skylight was added to the bar area, which includes redwood taken from large antique wine vats, which were recycled and re-milled specifically for the project. Shadowbrook’s signature hillavator, transports guests via cable car downhill to the eatery.

Shadowbrook is located in the diminutive seaside town of Capitola-by-the-Sea, approximately six miles south of Santa Cruz. Capitola is known as the west coast’s oldest seaside resort town.v

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