This story has been updated.
Heavenly Café, one of Scotts Valley’s landmark breakfast destinations, closed for business abruptly Sunday, June 9 due to an undisclosed family matter.
Co-owner Junior Rodriguez and a cleanup crew were working Monday, June 17, removing all the food, tables and chairs and cooking equipment from the restaurant.
“It was a community staple,” Rodriguez said. “It’s unfortunate it had to happen like this.”
Rodriguez declined to go into specifics about the reason for the closure, only saying that it was “a personal family matter,” and that the family is “unable to operate it anymore.”
Rodriguez who ran the front of the house, co-owns the restaurant with his uncle John Gryspos and cousins Nicko and John Jr.
He said the restaurant would not be re-opening under the family’s ownership and the family members were going separate ways.
“We had a strong run,” Rodriguez said. “(The family matter and closure) came out of nowhere. We had to close within a couple of days.”
The restaurant was founded in Felton in 1955 as Heavenly Hamburger and the name was changed to Heavenly Cafe in 1978. Rene Lehman purchased the restaurant in 1981 and added a catering element, calling it Heavenly Café and Catering. In 1989, it was sold to Okcha Mix who dropped the catering business and renamed the restaurant as Heavenly Café. Mix married Robert Blonder of Boulder Creek and after losing the lease in Felton, the couple moved the café to the larger location at 1210 Mount Hermon Road in Scotts Valley, just outside Scotts Valley city limits. Mix passed away in 1999 and several years later Blonder sold the restaurant to Marite Dufour who owned and operated it from 2004 to 2006 before selling to the Rodriguez family who purchased it in June 2006.
The Rodriguez’s leased the property on Mount Hermon Road from Blonder. Rodriguez said that the family will take the liquor license and name with it, and has not attempted to sell the business. However, if approached, they may entertain offers, Rodriguez said.
The café, which was open for breakfast and lunch, was known especially for its eggs Benedict. The family-run restaurant had 12 employees.
Blonder said he is working with REG Real Estate in Santa Cruz to lease the now vacant property.
“We’re hoping something happens soon,” Blonder said this week. “We expect with that location, that it will.”