Dino Saavedra, owner and chef of The Farm House, a new restaurant that will open in the former Roger’s Diner, shows off a new wood counter at the Green Valley Road location. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—If Dino Saavedra had it his way, he would open his new Watsonville restaurant this weekend.

“My dad just wants to start cooking already,” Saavedra’s daughter, Andrea Saavedra, said. “I think we’re all excited to open up.”

Dino and Andrea Saavedra will have to keep a cap on their excitement for a few more weeks.

The family is shooting to open The Farm House in mid-October at the old Roger’s Diner location on Green Valley Road.

It will be Dino Saavedra’s second restaurant. The family, which lives in Prunedale, also owns Chubby’s Diner in Scotts Valley, which holds rave reviews on Yelp, Google and Facebook. 

The new eatery hopes to land in the sweet spot between an American diner and high-class restaurant while keeping a relaxed mood that will encourage customers to catch a game on one of their flatscreens and sip at a craft brew.

“We want people to feel comfortable in here, and we want them to enjoy the food,” Andrea Saavedra said.

Andrea Saavedra said The Farm House will serve American food — breakfast, burgers, steaks — with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients from vendors such as Watsonville Coast Produce and Glaum Egg Ranch. 

It will also feature anywhere from four to eight beers on tap. Andrea Saavedra’s brother, Richard Saavedra, is in charge of determining which beers make the cut.

“He’s crazy about craft beers,” she said. “We trust him.”

Andrea Saavedra said the family has invested roughly $50,000 in the full-scale renovation. When they moved into the location on Aug. 1, both Dino and Andrea Saavedra knew they had a lot of work ahead of them.

Like the name would suggest, The Farm House will have a rustic farmhouse look accentuated by a custom live edge wood bar top and new tables, chairs and booths.

“We had to rip everything out,” Andrea Saavedra said. “We wanted to start from scratch. Make this place our own.”

Dino Saavedra said he comes from a family of chefs, as three of his nine siblings own restaurants, including Hot Rod Diner in Turlock and Ryderz Restaurant in Oakdale. 

He started cooking in the mid-1980s at a Howard Johnson hotel after working his way up from dishwasher. He went on to cook at Olive Garden, Lyon’s and Hungry Hunter before opening Chubby’s.

“I can cook anything you want. You name it, I’ll make it,” he said. “I try to make people happy.”

Roger’s Diner called the 11 Green Valley Rd. location home for nearly eight years before closing down on July 28. Before that, Tabacchi’s Family Coffey Shoppe and Golden West set up shop in the building currently managed by Oak Tree Property Management.

Andrea Saavedra said The Farm House will employ roughly 20 people.

“I’m nervous to open because I grew up here, so I really want to do this thing right,” she said. “But I feel like this place has great curb appeal and potential…I feel like Watsonville needs another great restaurant.”

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Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.


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