Brief History of the Saturn Cafe
Saturn Café first opened in 1979, in a tiny house on Mission Street in Santa Cruz, California. The founders aimed to create a community gathering place with a commitment to social and environmental justice. Although the Saturn has grown and changed in many ways since its inception, these core values still guide us in all that we do. The cafe quickly outgrew the house on Mission Street, and moved across the street to a new location. There, it became a college hangout featuring vegetarian soups, salads and decadent desserts. On New Years Eve of 1999, a fire broke out at the new location, which burnt a hole through the roof. The Saturn Café then moved to the heart of downtown Santa Cruz, where we continued to expand our menu, as well as our hours to include late night dining.
Over the years, our menu at Saturn Café has evolved, keeping up with the ever growing demand for healthy twists on American comfort food. The first new additions included mouth watering vegetarian burgers, such as the Space Cowboy, and award winning French fries, which we cook in trans-fat free oil that gets recycled into bio-diesel fuel. After a while, we began serving a Late Riser’s Brunch, and are proud to say that our vegan breakfast burrito and fluffy omelets are gaining fans all over the world. Each year, we bring home the gold in the Santa Cruz Metro Goldie Awards in categories such as "Best Milkshakes", "Best Comfort Food", "Most Innovative Menu" and, "Best Burger"! In 2005, we set a goal to deepen our understanding of what it means to own a sustainable restaurant, which is dedicated to the triple bottom line of planet, people and profit. Putting our values into action, we set out to improve our business both internally and externally. As we focus on growth and the future, we remain rooted in our values as a local progressive business by marking a percentage of our budget for investment in our local community.
In 2009 we introduced The Saturn Satellite Project, and we couldn't be more thrilled about helping our satellites launch in exhilarating new locations.
Throughout our thirty years in business, one key element remains the same. We know that the well-being of our customers, staff, and the farmers who produce our food, the health of the planet, and the sustainability of our business are completely interdependent. As we continue to reach for the stars, we are dedicated to finding socially and ecologically responsible ways to move our business forward. To learn more about our commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility and progressive business practices check out our Sustainable Future page.
Saturn Cafe offers traditional American diner fare with a vegetarian twist. Our menu features local and organic ingredients, served a vibrant atmosphere. We believe that the health and happiness of our customers, staff and the business itself are inextricably linked and we are deeply committed to socially responsible and green business practices.
TRISTAN NATHE has owned and operated the Saturn Café since 1995. Prior to owning the Saturn, she had been a staff member since 1991, and has worked in virtually every position within the business. Tristan is thrilled that the Saturn has become legendary for its fantastic food, as well as its commitment to social and environmental justice. She has utilized her degree in Cultural Studies at UCSC to strengthen her visions as an owner of a business driven by its values. Tristan is currently the Vice President and CFO of Saturn Café Inc, and Saturn Satellites Franchise System LLC.
ERNESTO QUINTERO is a proud owner of the Saturn Cafe, a Santa Cruz based icon in vegetarian dining. As a business owner, he is committed to fair labor practices, and to supporting local and independent businesses. He prides himself on being a responsible member of this ever-expanding community. The focus of his work-life has been building conscious business practices that assist in creating sustainable communities. Prior to owning the Saturn Cafe, Ernesto served as the Chair and President of the Board of Directors of Good Vibrations. Ernesto has over 20 years of management experience, and is a respected business consultant in the San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles areas. He is committed to working with other socially responsible business owners and green entrepreneurs. He is the President and CEO of Saturn Café Inc. and Saturn Satellites Franchise System LLC.