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November 26, 2022

New pizza shop opens in historic Pajaro location

PAJARO—The tiny town of Pajaro, nestled on the most northerly corner of Monterey County, just got its first pizzeria.

Thanks to a dream of Pajaro native and resident Eric Ramirez, fresh homemade pizzas are prepared in-house and baked in a brick oven at Idle Hour Cafe at 3 San Juan Road.

Situated in an older building that once served as a speakeasy for drinking and dancing, and later as a market, the business still features an early day neon sign from the Idle Hour Cafe above its front door.

“I wanted to keep some of the older, historical parts but I also wanted a new restored look inside,” Ramirez said. “Though there are new modern lights, furniture and flooring inside, we kept some older elements, like these five old paintings right where they have survived on the walls for so long; it adds to the atmosphere for sure. ”

Three employees now keep the doors open and word of mouth has thus travelled far, evidenced by a steady line of customers.

Ramirez said that for now he features six kinds of pizzas, the Hawaiiano, Classico, Royale, Cheese, Veggie Bomba, and Build Your Own. He also offers a variety of cold drinks and papas, or baked potatoes with cheese, sour cream, pepperonis and green onions. Though the pandemic currently won’t allow for indoor dining, the business is well equipped for it. They do offer a few outdoor dining tables.

“I want to eventually expand the menu once we get settled here,” Ramirez said. “With Pajaro Park right around the corner, I think hot dogs would be good for the kids. I want to have different kinds of salads, pastas and local beer and wine. I’m also thinking of breakfast items like scrambles and pancakes: We’ll see. I want to keep the cafe theme alive. ”

Ramirez said the seeds for the business came from a great deal of research, reading and then a lot of testing until he narrowed his choices down to what he serves today.

“Our brick oven came all the way from the east coast,” he said. “Then we had to put it together. And now we have pizzas in Pajaro. We hope people come in and give us a try.” 

For information and to place orders, call 536-5316.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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