Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > California >
Jan 7, 2007 06:00 PM

Good BBQ In Santa Cruz area?

Santa Cruz seems to have more than it's fair share of good restaurants, but I've come up short on one of my favorites: BBQ! I know of two places in the area Coles BBQ (horrid -- if the flies don't make you run, the gristle will) and Armadillo Willy's (not great -- I live a couple blocks away and have not felt the need to go more than once in 2 years.)

So I know I must be missing something... perhaps there's a place I'm missing? I'm willing to drive a bit, as long as I'm on this side of 17.

So, SC Hounds, are there any jewels out there somewhere?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The quick answer is no but...

    There are 2 Coles, one on Portola and one in Aptos so you might try the other. I ate at the Aptos location in the last year and it was certainly better than Armadillo Willy's IMO. There is also Brunos in Scotts Valley and they may have a newer branch in the Sashmill in SC off of River St. I've eaten at the one in SV and I would rather go to Cole's Aptos (not that I thought it was very good, just better) And I think your next stop is to head down to Castroville to Central Texas or is it Texan?. I've not been but you can find some mixed reports in the archives.

    Good luck in your BBQ search.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nathan P

      Dang, I had a good burger at Bruno's yeaterday. The best I've had in a long time. They've updated the menu too. There's now a wide variety of sandwiches. I'll be back.

    2. Cole's in SC was inedible the last time we went, so bad that I will never return. I haven't tried the Aptos location since the female owners took over, but I've heard mixed things about it. Haven't tried Bruno's either, although I can confirm that the Sash Mill location is open. Anyone know how the BBQ is at the Hindquarter?

      The one BBQ that I'd really like to try is from a guy known as "The Rib King." The Good Times did an article on him, and I've linked that and his website below. Has anyone out there tasted his work?? Where and when can I find his lunch truck?

      1. On Sunday, I went to the Santa Cruz Coles for the first time in probably two years. First thing I noticed is that the place seemed to have been cleaned up. They have a nice new menu board. I went there because I was in the mood for their BBQ turkey sandwich and that's what I ordered. I liked it. It was a pretty large and I think they're using a better sandwich roll than before. Although, I still miss how they used to make their sandwiches with big slices of sourdough. I had the cole slaw as my side and it was top notch. The folks at the other tables seemed to really like the food.

        If you haven't been to the Santa Cruz Coles in a while, it might be worth another try.