Woodies Cafe

Santa Cruz, California

Project Objectives

Located on a sunny wharf in Santa Cruz, CA, Woodies Café attracts visitors from across the country. The café's owner came to I-5 looking for an updated design that would capture the essence of the classic wood-paneled cars that inspired the restaurant's name—a design that would impart a sense of destination, while preserving a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.

Restaurant Design - Woodies Cafe on the Wharf, exterior design.

Design & Planning

Given the setting, and the built-in theme of vintage woodie automobiles, I-5 envisioned a unique restaurant concept that celebrated the surfing spirit and the classic beach wagons made popular by surf culture.

A custom arched façade at the café’s exterior entrance, supported by new wood pilings (reminiscent of the posts supporting the pier) with large rock bases. Posts are wrapped with thick nautical rope at their bases and showcase mounted, hand-formed wooden surfboards.

Inside, the design plan features a wood-beamed ceiling with suspended surfboards, and a thatched roof over the order counter, creating a classic beach ambience. Wood ceiling beams reflect the various types of wood used on classic woodie autos.

Life-sized wall murals of ocean imagery, surfers and classic cars open up the sense of space

A variety of iconic elements and images of the vintage surf era produce a truly unique environmen