Our family has proudly served the Santa Cruz community since 1979, but our passion for preparing and sharing good food started generations ago in Carini, a small town outside of Palermo, on the Northern Coast of Sicily. In Sicily, the way of life was centered around spending time with family and friends while enjoying delicious home-cooked meals made from fresh, local ingredients. Our family’s recipes were used to celebrate holidays, special occasions, and family gatherings and became tradition as they were passed down to the next generation.
Joe and Sharon Carollo, first opened the doors of Upper Crust Pizza & Pasta in 1979 with this idea in mind. Using their knowledge and passion for traditional Sicilian food, they brought Authentic Thick Crust Pizza to Santa Cruz and a tradition was born. Their original location on Mission Street flourished and continues to be a favorite of locals, students, and tourists today.
In 1985, they opened a new location on Pacific Avenue, across from the Catalyst Night Club. Their new spot sold pizza by the slice and attracted many visiting artists and their fans. Unfortunately, the building was damaged beyond repair during the 1989 Loma Preita Earthquake and the Pacific Avenue location was forced to close.
In 1996, an additional location was added on Soquel Drive, further expanding Upper Crust Pizza & Pasta to serve more of Santa Cruz. In 2004, Ernesto Chavez and his family took over ownership of the Soquel Dr. location. Ernesto had been working at the Mission Street restaurant for nearly two decades and now continues our Sicilian tradition of operating a family business.
Second-generation owners, siblings Nick and Katie, are proud to keep the old-world tradition alive and continue the family legacy. Working together they’ve updated the restaurant to become a California Green Certified Business, added online ordering, and created new specials including Sunday Brunch and Wednesday Night Trivia. You can find Nick in the kitchen making breakfast pizzas on Sunday, training new employees, or working behind the scenes. Katie can usually be found helping customers, serving the dining room, and pouring the perfect pint. Come see them at the restaurant, at community events such as Earth Day and Open Streets, or working slice pop-ups at local breweries.
We look forward to serving you on your next visit to Upper Crust Pizza & Pasta!
— Buon Appetito!