Donatello’s

Donatello’s Gelato Cafe

713 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 1983-1989

David Foran, Sean M. Monaghan and Karin Vollrath opened Donatello’s Gelato Cafe on 8/8/83.  Sean traveled to Japan in 1986 and opened three Donatello’s locations in Tokyo, designing the cafes, uniforms, calendars, fans, delivery vehicles, etc.  Eventually twelve locations were opened in Tokyo.  The original Santa Cruz cafe was one of the many casualties in downtown Santa Cruz caused by the Loma Prieta Earthquake on 10/17/89.  Donatello’s was relocated for a over a year in the Food Pavillion, one of seven large structures that housed downtown businesses displaced by the earthquake.  Donatello’s was sold in 1991 and the new owner opened on Walnut St. in Santa Cruz, and although that location eventually closed, the current business (Falafel House, 113 Walnut St.) still has the trademark ‘black-and-white’ checkered floors.  Below are photos of the original location, including Sean’s bronze and alabaster drinking fountain, 3/4 life-size statue and bronze and marble entryway.  Also below are some of the advertisements that Sean drew for the local weekly papers, including the last one on 9/28/89, as well as two color photographs of the first Donatello’s in Tokyo as well as an article in “JJ,” a very popular Japanese fashion magazine.  The last photograph was taken on the day after the earthquake, with the serving freezer pushed up to the broken window, using a borrowed generator for power.  It was a very hot day, our last day open in that location, and one of our busiest ever!