The former Seagate campus onDisc Driveis bustling with activity less than a year after the tech firm pulled up stakes in Scotts Valley.
It is quickly becoming the hip place to be — not just foroccupantsBayPhoto and Fox Racing Shox, but for foodies, too
Café Carbonero, owned byMount Hermonresident and master chef Byron Gravelle, opened its doors July 11 and serves an eclectic, rotating menu of fresh, organic and custom-made dishes inside the former Seagate cafeteria.
For Gravelle, the restaurant is the culmination of nearly 40 years of work developing his skills both as a chef, and as a businessman.
“I started cooking as soon as I could reach the stove,” he said. “Cuisine, for me, started at the point where I pulled the hot water off the counter.”
By the time he began training in French cuisine at age 20, Gravelle had spent four years working in settings as diverse as an A&W eatery and an airline kitchen.
“Food was going to be a destiny for me,” he said. “I was experienced from fast food to high-volume institutional cooking.”
He studied fine cooking under chefs Tony Dietz and Gervais Henric inLos Gatosbefore entering West Valley College’s hospitality program, where his love of cooking was enriched by the knowledge to run a restaurant from the business side.
After 27 years of cooking, managing and consulting to make other people’s businesses profitable, Gravelle decided in 2011 that it was time to try his hand at running his own restaurant.
He revamped the old Seagate cafeteria with the help of his daughter and local artist and interior decorator Jayne Price, turning it into a space he describes as a “rustic, modern design that has a warm feel.”
The interior uses subtle earth tones in conjunction with the room’s large window to connect the indoors with the landscape beyond.
“It’s about enhancing the beauty of the area,” he said. “We’re really bringing the outdoors in.”
In addition to a burger station built on organically raised and grass-fed beef, Gravelle and his eight employees run a full-service salad bar, where customers can choose their toppings and greens and have a trained staff member toss them on the spot.
At the restaurant’s coffee and espresso bar, the customer’s preferred flavor is ground and brewed to order.
“I really like to listen to my clientele,” he said. “The potential here is awesome for great food and great fun.”
Gravelle said he was excited by the idea of having a staff of people who were as enthusiastic about a career in cooking as he was.
“This is a people business,” he said. “I’ve helped build a lot of careers in this industry.
“I pretty much share everything I know to anyone who wants to be a part of it.”
At a glance
WHAT: Café Carbonero & Catering
WHERE:915 Disc Drive
WHEN: Monday to Friday, coffee bar, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30; breakfast, 7:30 to 10 a.m.; lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
INFO: 740-4673 or www.cafecarbonero.com