Patch Picks is a weekly feature highlighting editor and reader picks of great local businesses, destinations, services, organizations, ways to spend a day off and more.
You’ll find useful lists to help you, your family, friends and significant others find the best places for everything from Sunday brunch to New Year’s Eve celebrations, pumpkin patches, date-night destinations, florists, girlfriend nights out, kids party places, parks and more.
Best BBQ in Santa Cruz: If you are staying in town this Memorial Day weekend, why not celebrate with a festive BBQ meal from one of these five local restaurants? From Scotts Valley through Santa Cruz and all the way to Aptos, you are sure to find a restaurant that will satisfy your appetite for juicy pulled pork, spice-rubbed ribs or smoky brisket.
: Delicious BBQ is hard to come by, but Cole's never fails to satisfy its regular customers. Located away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Santa Cruz, you can enjoy its award-winning barbecued ribs in a relaxed atmosphere. Not too much seating in this place, so be prepared to stand if needed. Cole's BBQ is open daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
: If you are looking for a sit-down experience either indoors or outdoors, head over to the Hindquarter Bar and Grille and try its slow-roasted prime rib or hickory-smoked Chicago baby back ribs, among other meaty delights. This place is proud to serve Rocky the Range Chicken free-range birds. Open Monday through Sunday with hours varying daily.
Aptos Street BBQ: Try the buttery, soft and juicy BBQ tri-tip sandwich or the moist and tasty BBQ chicken sandwich, both cooked to perfection at this casual eatery in Aptos. Actually, while you're at it, you may as well indulge in the sweet cornbread and crisp coleslaw—you’ll leave this restaurant with a full, happy belly. Known to sell out, you should get there early to guarantee a meal. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Brunos BBQ: For good-ol' backyard BBQ, go to Brunos. Sure, you will have to drive a little up Highway 17, but for this sweet and tangy BBQ, it’s worth it. Brunos BBQ in Scotts Valley serves hefty portions in a family-friendly atmosphere—you most certainly will need a doggy bag after eating here! Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. it is happy to offer dine-in or take-out.
SmoQe BBQ and Woodfired Pizza: Known for its superb BBQ and pizza, this place is a must for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The BBQ and pizzas are cooked with 100 percent wood, just as they have been for thousands of years. SmoQe uses no gas, no electricity and no shortcuts. The restaurant dry-rubs its BBQ and slow smokes it for hours, until it’s perfect, and best of all—it's not covered up with loads of sauce (it's served on the side so you can decide how much to use). Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.