Along the Soquel River in the village of Capitola near Santa Cruz there is one of the most unique restaurants in the United States, that has survived (in fact, it thrives) since 1947. My copy of the 1959-60 AAA Tour Book describes Shadowbrook as “enchanting”, which is probably the most apt term to describe it in one word.
The original building on the site of the restaurant was a simple cabin that was used as a summer home in the 1920s. This was later enlarged into a house that was used as a tea room in the 1930s, which included a large stone fireplace, now a major feature in Shadowbrook’s original dining room. The tea room had a boat that taxied guests along the river to and from a nearby beach. Sometime later the house was abandoned, but in the 1940s a fellow named Brad McDonald discovered it overgrown with brush and purchased it. In 1947 Brad and his partner Ed Phillippet opened Shadowbrook restaurant. Brad was the maitre’d and waiter, while Ed was the cook.