Persephone Restaurant
4.7 stars - based on 84 reviews
7945 Soquel Drive Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 612-6511 Hours: Fri-Sat 4:30pm - 9:00pm Categories: Seasonal Cuisine , Mediterranean Price Range: $$$ Takes Reservations: Yes


Chef Cori Goudge-Ayer

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About Us

Who is Persephone?
According to Greek Myth, Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Mother Earth. Along with her mother, she kept the earth bountiful. Hades, the God of the Underworld, so taken by Persephone’s beauty, abducted her and took her to be his wife and Queen. Demeter, in her despair, allowed the fruitful earth to wither and die. Zeus intervened and forced Hades to allow her to return home but before Persephone left, Hades tempted her with a Pomegranate. Persephone was told to eat nothing while in the Underworld as it could bind her there but, as she left, she ate 4 pomegranate seeds forcing her to return each winter after the harvest. Although she had ultimately triumphed over the death of Hades, allowing spring and life to return to the earth, she was still obligated to sojourn there for winter, giving us, according to Greek Myth, our seasons.

Besides the fact that our Chef is named Cori (Kore in Greek translated to the maiden of Korinth or Persephone) it is meant to represent our mission in serving only fresh, local, seasonal foods. We are excited to feature the amazing bounty that our Community offers and are working closely with locals in order to do so. Our menu will be small but will change with the seasons. We hope you all will join us on our culinary exploration through the seasons!

Our Story
By ‘Mama’ Karen

Cooking=family=love is a tradition that goes a long, long way back in our family. It was very rare that we didn’t all sit down together for a homemade dinner together. Sunday waffles have been a tradition for decades as well.

So, how did we ever consider such a crazy venture? It started with a rather rundown building that my husband’s father owned in Aptos and which fell to his management when his father passed. Then there was the recognition that our daughter, Cori, a long time chef, needed an opportunity to showcase her talent.

Cori grew up with home cooking so it was no surprise that she was drawn to a vocation as a chef. She started with Cabrillo College Culinary school which she attributes as truly inspiring her passion for cooking and confirming her decision to pursue it as her career. She went on from there to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She has also had the opportunity to work under some brilliant chefs, including Acquerello in San Francisco, Au Midi in Aptos and others. She also worked as head chef of Laili (where many of her dishes remain on their menu) as well as Suda and others.

So, we presented her with this opportunity and my husband asked her to present a business plan...she gave us a menu so my husband, a long time businessman, took on the herculean task of creating a business, dealing with the onerous task of permits, as well as overseeing the remodel itself.

For the remodel, my husband, Miles called upon a long time friend and architect, Dennis Britton, to oversee the remodel (who also designed our beautiful home). But it evolved into something much more. Dennis is well known for his sense of space, light, pattern (just look at the ceilings and the light!), and has transformed this small, funky space into truly a thing of beauty!

Then, our son, Alex and his wife, Brittnii, decided to move back to the area and needed work (and had been working in the restaurant business up North). So, Alex expressed an interest in running the front of the house (Cori only wishing to rule the kitchen!). As blessings have followed blessings, he and his wife soon found out that they were about to have a baby, our sweet grandson, Ronan (now 5 months) which made it all the more important to have steady work. Brittnii, is working, while Ronan is young, from home as our social media, reservation and PR planner until Ronan is old enough for her to work with her husband on the front of the house. Alex is also overseeing the wine cellar (and some local beers).

I stepped in as the dessert ‘designer’ which was a step up for me from being a simple home-baker to a pastry chef but it turned out to be an incredible opportunity to use some of my artistic skills combined with my baking skills in a whole new direction. I like to think of it as creating in 5 dimensions, using all the senses of taste, color, texture, smell, temperature, combinations.

We feel incredibly blessed that this has come together in so many unexpected and beautiful ways and that it is something we are able to do as a family (and still love each other through it all!). We do hope you will step into the restaurant and experience the love and incredible effort that has brought this whole project together.