In March, 2005, Albuquerque’s East Downtown area was featured on ABC television’s “The View” in a segment on the “top five up-and-coming” areas in the nation” as determined by real estate experts. Several blocks away sits Lindy’s Coffee Shop, an anachronism for which there will always be a place. Situated on historic Route 66, it may be a living reminder of Albuquerque’s nostalgic past, but has assured its future by serving hearty, homestyle meals for more than 75 years.
Lindy’s is one of Albuquerque’s longest continually operating restaurants, having launched in 1929 as the Coney Island Cafe. In the 1960s, it was purchased by Narke Vatoseow who renamed it Lindy’s Coffee Shop. Remnants of its past include a long lunch counter at which long-time patrons congregate to catch up, red vinyl booths that you stick to on hot summer days and vintage Coca-Cola memorabilia.
In 1999, Gourmet magazine feted Lindy’s in a feature called “Sentimental Journey Through America’s Main Streets.” In 2002, Jane and Michael Stern celebrated Lindy’s on their Roadfood Web site. Despite such national recognition and its longevity, many Duke City residents have never heard of this unassuming historical treasure–and it’s likely the folks at Lindy’s like it that way. It allows them to maintain the personal touch and comfortable pace its clientele has come to love.
Breakfast is served all day long and during breakfast hours you can order anything off the menu. American comfort food favorites, bounteous sandwiches, salads and New Mexican entrees hold prominence on the menu, but you can also order Mediterranean specialties. It’s a safe bet everything on the menu is somebody’s favorite.
My early favorite is the sour cream enchiladas, three flat cheese enchiladas served Christmas style (both red and green). The green chile sauce is slightly more piquant than the red chile and while neither will singe your tongue, they’re both very flavorful. Most sour cream enchiladas I’ve had incorporate both chicken and cream of chicken soup, but at Lindy’s you can also have this entree with beef. Another difference is that a huge dollop of sour cream is added after the rest of the entree is baked. It imparts a mild and not too tart flavor that complements the chile very well.
Better chile is slathered on the Frito pie which includes a generous tossing of Frito corn chips garnished with a mountain of lettuce, tomato, onions and Cheddar cheese. Scale down that garnish and you’ll uncover one of the best Frito pies in the city.
Breakfast favorites include a traditional American breakfast of bacon, fried potatoes and eggs. The eggs are prepared to your specifications. The potatoes are small, delicately cubed and well-salted spuds reminiscent of very good French fries with a soft texture inside. The star of this triumvirate, however, is the bacon. It’s the type of bacon only old-fashioned American diners seem to serve best–three six-inch strips of porcine perfection fried perfectly. if you’re tired of bacon as stiff and dry as jerky, you’ll love the pliability of this bacon. It’s crisp on the edges and beautifully bendable elsewhere with just the right amount of fattiness for flavor.
You can add a short stack of fluffy, golden brown pancakes with syrup to any breakfast for a pittance. The syrup comes unheated, but you ask for it to be nuked for a steamy syrupy treat. The wait staff is very accommodating.
In 2003, the Vatoseows launched Lindy’s American Cafe in a Northeast Heights former location of JB’s. Larger accommodations (seating for 140 patrons) than the downtown restaurant allowed for a more expansive menu, but the new cafe lasted just about a year. It must be true that there’s only one Lindy’s.
500 Central, S.W.
LATEST VISIT: 28 December 2008
# OF VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Sour Cream Enchiladas; Frito Pie; Pork Chops; Pancakes; Bacon