Manuel’s Restaurant Celebrates 50 Years with Tribute to Local Organizations

celebrationAptos, CA – February 11, 2015 – March 15, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in Aptos, a family and neighborhood institution known for serving consistently high quality, classic Mexican meals at affordable prices. To celebrate and honor the memory of restaurant founders Manuel and Alice Santana, owners Leonardo and Patricia Santana will give 50% of proceeds during the week of March 9 – 15 to five local groups dedicated to causes that were near and dear to the founders’ hearts, and still supported by the owners today. “We are very excited about achieving this milestone,” said Manuel’s and Alice’s son Leonardo Santana. “Starting from when I was a young child, I saw how much it meant to my parents to give back to the community that supported them.  Our 50th anniversary celebration week is an event after their own hearts,”

Awarded Business of the Year by the Aptos Chamber of Commerce In 2012, the restaurant has a rich and colorful history. It’s a place that not just serves good food, it has built community. Founders Manuel and Alice Santana were prominent and beloved figures in Santa Cruz. Manuel was a left-leaning political activist motivated by social justice, a cultural leader and artist. Alice, Manuel’s childhood sweetheart, adeptly handled the restaurant’s administration and volunteered at numerous nonprofits. In the 60s the restaurant was a hangout of Ken Kesey and some of the Merry Pranksters. In the 70s it was headquarters for a farm workers cooperative Manuel formed to help migrant farm families settle, find housing and send their children to school. In the 80s Manuel turned his attention to painting and ceramics and was later awarded Artist of the Year by the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission in 2008, the year of his passing.  Leonardo and wife Patricia carry on the tradition providing a place where people come together to enjoy the best things in life, expressed in the restaurant’s tag line: “good food and good company.”

50th Anniversary Celebration Events

Each day during the 7-day celebration, 50% of the proceeds will be donated to local organizations:

  • Monday, March 9: Homeless Services Center of Santa Cruz
  • Tuesday, March 10: Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Wednesday, March 11: Teen Kitchen Project
  • Thursday, March 12: Cabrillo College Visual, Applied and Performing Arts
  • Friday, March 13: Women’s Crisis Support – Defensa de Mujeres
  • Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15:  Proceeds will be divided equally among the five groups.

To further support the beneficiaries, five different giclee prints of original artwork by Manuel Santana will be on public display in the restaurant. The prints will be given away at the end of the week with a drawing. There is no purchase necessary to participate; a $10 suggested donation will go to the beneficiary selected by the donor. Entry forms are available at the restaurant.


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