I have eaten at the Walnut Avenue Cafe dozens of times, though not as much recently as Santa Cruz is no longer my hometown. It is one of the places I try to eat at whenever I am back there for a visit. Last time I was there a waitress recognized me, even though I hadn't been in for over a year.
It isn't anything fancy or trendy or cutting edge, it is similar to a diner but with a little more variety than most offer. They are packed for breakfast on the weekends.
They have a great set of scrambles, combinations like feta, tomato and basil or green chiles and cheese, all served with homefries and toast. The create your own omelets are fluffy eggs surrounding a pile of the fillings of your choice. The huevos rancheros, flavor and just the right amount of everything, delicious black beans and tortillas. For a sweeter dish, the beautiful golden waffle topped with strawberries and whipped cream is delicious and satisfying.
It is a really popular restaurant so service can slow down when it is packed. Getting there on a Saturday morning around nine will require a wait for a table and for your food. The place has faded a little, not the people or the food or the delicious cold ice tea or the happy customers, but the tables and chairs. It was like going back to see a friend I hadn't seen in a while and seeing a few new wrinkles.
On that last visit (in early summer) we had lunch and I ordered the shrimp, tomato and red onion caesar (pictured above) with a spicy dressing that was tasty but not so spicy. The cajun chicken sandwich on a onion kaiser roll was generous and flavorful. On the side was a mixed green salad with a great vinaigrette, the kind that makes the salad an equal opportunity player in the meal. I liked lunch but it will always be one of my favorite breakfast spots.