This summer I had a chance to grab a bite twice at AJ's Mart in Soquel. Located in the Chevron station and car wash, AJ's is much more than the usual convenience store found at filling stations. It has a full-fledged meat counter and fish market, a deli and seating for prepared foods, the best from local bakeries, boutique wines and craft beers, and local organic produce. The butcher case includes grassfed meats (as well as conventional) and halal selections. Not a huge inventory, but thoughtfully stocked, from my brief observation. If I were in a beach vacation rental nearby, this would be my grocery stop without the hassle of going into Santa Cruz.
The first time I had a cheeseburger. Made from house-ground, choice beef, this had nice grill markings and was cooked medium-rare, as ordered. Garnishes were very fresh and you add your own condiments.
Next visit, I tried the chicken shwerma plate. Seasoned and assembled in-house, this was tasty, if a bit dry. Sliced off the spit to order, the roasted chicken breast meat was arrayed on a bed of chopped lettuce, tomato, cucumber and parsley, and served with yogurt sauce. Some hot sauce on the side added extra fire power.
AJ's Chevron Market & Natural Foods
5955 Soquel Dr
Soquel, CA 95073
Deli/restaurant hours, 7am - 9pm daily