Spend a Summer Day in Santa Cruz at Alderwood from Square Feet Studio


There are plenty of reasons to visit Santa Cruz any time of year, but there’s something about the beachside city during the summer that makes it extra special. Now you have a new excuse to head to SC: Alderwood, downtown’s seasonally-driven restaurant from chef Jeffrey Wall.

Designed by Atlanta-based multidisciplinary architecture, planning and design firm, Square Feet Studio, Alderwood pays homage to Wall’s background as a photographer and forager, with an aesthetic inspired by his photographs of wild mushrooms. To capture the feel of his foraging adventures, Square Feet Studio integrated a balance of colors and textures to complement the restaurant’s menu.

The restaurant’s natural palette complements the organic materials throughout, including wools, leathers, woods, concrete, plaster and metals. The intimate, 79-seat restaurant features a central dining room with bar seating and custom booths with blue pieces and cool black panelling and tile with brass and copper accents to emulate the Santa Cruz coast. bright blue upholstered pieces are layered against darker blue and cool black panelling and tile to emulate the sublime feel of the coastal waters of Santa Cruz.

Communal seating is delineated by live edge slabs of walnut handcrafted by a Santa Cruz-based millworker, and the walnut bar and chef’s counter tops are canted in plan and butterfly-jointed to sculpt the area and soften the counters’ expanse. Rough-hewn oak tables are tucked into bench-like booths around the perimeter of the restaurant while smooth-planed oak shelving anchor the bar and open kitchen.

Square Feet Studio retained the existing skylights and used sconce lighting to primarily illuminate the space. The central seating area is located beneath two of the existing skylights, which are framed with sound-absorbing wool baffles to balance the acoustics.

Constructed by a contractor native to Santa Cruz with a long-standing relationship to the restaurant’s team, Alderwood’s strong framework allowed the designers to incorporate subtle touches of home, like potted trees, plants and floral arrangements dotted throughout the space.

Alderwood is located at 155 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060.