Going to the ocean for vacation was one of the most wonderful memories I have as a child. I grew up about 300 miles inland from the east coast and as such it was a big deal. Well, I still need that “ocean fix” every couple of months as an adult and one way to satisfy it is to fly to the coast. I still get excited when I get that first peek over the coastal range of the vast pacific.
Watsonville has a great little airport that also hosts an airshow on Labor Day weekend every summer. Right on the airport grounds is a restaurant that has been there for some time. It was a middle of the road Mexican restaurant that was certainly convenient for pilots. I’m happy to report that it is now Props Restaurant, one of the best places in town for classic American food.
I flew in during the week at about 11 a.m., just in time for an early lunch. After looking over the menu, I was stuck between ordering fish and chips or a hamburger. So, when caught in this dilemma, I always ask the waitress/waiter what they would recommend. The young lady who was serving my table recommended the hamburger, hands down. So that’s what I ordered. I decided to forgo the French fries and ordered a side of cole slaw since those extra calories are hard to eliminate at my age. The burgers are ½ pound and there are eleven to choose from. I ordered the California Burger which included guacamole, crisp bacon and melted cheddar cheese. It was very tasty and filling and the cole slaw was the absolute best I have had in a long time.
The thing that really makes this place is that it has a real aviation theme, not only on their menu but throughout the restaurant. There are exquisite aircraft models suspended from the ceiling and stained glass incorporating aircraft. They have a large patio area that allows you to practically lunch with the aircraft, with only a chain link fence between your table and the airport ramp area.
If you are able to fly in, or are just in the area, I recommend Props for lunch or dinner. It features great food and great service, a winning combination.
UPDATE 5/19/2014: Looks like the restaurant is having trouble. They are currently facing eviction and their website is down. More info at www.SantaCruzSentinel.com.
UPDATE 8/15/2014: Props is closed.