Faultline Brewing Company
Sam Ghadiri (center), owner of Faultline Brewing Company, says the new Scotts Valley location is chock-full of nods to local history. — Drew Penner/Press Banner

As the fog began to envelop the coastal areas of Santa Cruz County Tuesday evening, the sun beamed, uninterrupted, on a building up the hill that, from a distance, looked like there could be aircraft stationed inside.

A remote-controlled copter buzzed about the open field next to it, swooping this way and that. Someone swept the patio outside. Someone else wiped glass panels along the edge.

It’s been a long road to the opening date for Faultline Brewing Company’s Scotts Valley location, in a building designed to look like an airplane hangar. Its form reflects the history of the airstrip once located out the front window, a greenspace that still serves as a touchdown point for medical evacuations.

But the Sunnyvale brewer’s Santa Cruz County expansion date had finally arrived, and the excitement in the air was palpable—particularly given the seemingly endless construction delays due to pandemic challenges and supply chain bottlenecks.

“We just kept getting pushed back and pushed back,” said Sam Ghadiri, the 38-year-old who owns the business with partner Joe Jean. “It’s frustrating when you order something in September 2021 and you receive it in March 2022.”

He’s thinking about the hood for the kitchen, for one, a key component they needed in place before many of the other puzzle pieces could be assembled.

“All of these things are made to order,” Ghadiri said. “It was a little frustrating. But now, when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, all is forgotten. All the hardships, the aches and pains, they go away when you’re on the precipice of opening.”

From updating the layout to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to heading to auctions to source equipment when Plan A got jammed in logistics snarls, the developers behind the restaurant say it certainly wasn’t easy to get here.

“It just becomes a joke,” said Corbett Wright, of CW Land Consultants, Inc., noting the team wanted the facility to be as sustainable as it was sparkling. “It just takes a lot of time, energy and money—lots of money.”

But as front-of-house staff cleared the dust from outdoor tables and checked the orientation of disc golf and apparel merchandise by the front door, the pain of the coronavirus era could almost be forgotten.

And it seems the community can’t wait to get in on the action, either.

When Faultline opened reservations for the soft opening, Saturday, they were flooded with 70 reservations of over 200 people.

Kurt Hoerzing, the 51-year-old general manager from Boulder Creek, has been trying to ensure employees get up to speed.

“We let everyone try our food and they’re super excited about it,” said the service industry veteran with 30 years of experience, most recently at an Applebee’s. “Overall, our menu’s just unique and different. It’s not like everyone else has.”

Mike Ward, the head chef—who locals may recognize from his days at Malone’s Grille—says he appreciates being allowed to continue the experimentation he started in his last job, over the past three years.

“I want to start bringing back childhood classics, but with an elevated fine-dining twist,” he said, adding he’s blending comfort food with healthy fare for the gastropub. “We care deeply about how the food pairs with the beer.”

So, along with the Louisiana-style or bourbon BBQ “Faultline Wings” ($15) and pretzel sticks with hefeweizen beer cheese ($11), Ward’s planned roasted portabella ($18) and an elote with a citrus vinaigrette ($16) for the initial pared-down slate.

He’s particularly excited about the cheese skirt burger, which features two quarter-pound patties and a mound of sharp cheddar cheese, dressed around a stainless steel lid for a unique effect.

“Your cheese is going to be that crispy cheese that everyone’s going to love,” he said. 

Andrew Pederson, 31, has been tapped as assistant general manager.

“We want to be that all-inclusive spot in Scotts Valley for everyone to lay their hats down and relax,” said Pederson, who grew up in Santa Cruz. “Our mission statement, so to speak, is ‘Food, Beer and Community.’”

Not only do lights spell that play on the brewer’s initials (F.B.C.) out on the main floor, but upstairs, neon lights proclaim “CHEERS” in different shades and translations.

“We didn’t get every language, of course, but I don’t see why we can’t add more things on as we go,” he said. “Everyone’s welcome. And no matter what, we’ll ‘Cheers!’ you at the bar.”

Ghadiri says it was important for him to weave a sense of continuity into the establishment.

He worked with Scotts Valley historian Jay Topping to design a series of vignettes posted on the walls.

“I said, ‘Tell me this history here, tell me what happened,’” he recalled.

Topping regaled Ghadiri with the stories of the post-WWII period when California Highway Patrol-sanctioned hot rod races occurred on the property next door. This became one of the first panels visitors will see upon entry.

Lesa Jackson, the sous chef, says she’s excited to see how Faultline can continue the city’s storyline into the future.

“I think it’s something that Scotts Valley really needs,” the Felton resident said. “I think they can expect to build community here. It’s more than what’s on the sign. Everyone here has this air of hospitality.”

The soft opening was set for Oct. 12, with the official ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for Oct. 20. For information about Faultline Brewing Company, visit faultlinebrewing.com.

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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