The Range – Bernalillo, New Mexico

The Range in Bernalillo
The Range in Bernalillo

The phoenix of ancient Egyptian mythology was a sacred firebird of beautiful red and gold plumage said to live for centuries. At the end of its life, the phoenix built itself a nest of cinnamon twigs which it then ignited. Both the phoenix and the nest burned fiercely and were reduced to ashes from which a new phoenix arose. Similarly, the Range Cafe in Bernalillo was claimed by a fiery conflagration only to rise up from the ashes to exceed its former glory to become one of the most popular restaurants in New Mexico.

Like the phoenix, the Range is a rare breed–one of the few locally owned and operated (non-chain) restaurants which at any given time (make that, almost all the time) has diners lining up for a seat. That may be because the Range offers the “familiar” in serving comfort foods and local favorites and serves them in the profuse portion sizes American diners love.

Surrounded by Art as You Dine

The original Range debuted in September, 1992 in Bernalillo’s main street, Camino Del Pueblo. The restaurant was an instant success, quickly becoming more than a local favorite. Not quite three years later (on May 30, 1995), the Range went up in smoke–a huge conflagration consumed the entire restaurant. The community let it be known that they wanted their favorite restaurant rebuilt and held fund-raising events to help with the process.

Two months after the fire, the Range was back in business, albeit in a temporary location directly across the street from the church, thereby making it unlawful to obtain a beer and wine license. In April, 1996, the Range negotiated to rent a circa 1905 property which once served as the warehouse of the Bernalillo Mercantile. By December of that year, the Range officially re-opened at its present address, 925 Camino del Pueblo in the heart of downtown Bernalillo. Like the majestic phoenix, the Range rose from the ashes and has been going strong ever since.

My friend Karen Baehr and the Range
My friend Karen Baehr stands next to the range at The Range

The Range shares building space with Rose’s Pottery House owned by life-long Bernalillo resident Antoinette Silva. Part museum, part art gallery, it features contemporary and ancient Pueblo pottery and art. It’s a must stop before or after dining at the Range. During its nearly 80 year history, the building, now covering a full city block, served as a general store, movie theater, auto repair shop and permanent home to one of the finest collections of Native American and Hispanic art in New Mexico.

After obtaining a liquor license, the Range opened the Lizard Rodeo Lounge, a welcoming, non-smoking gathering place for locals and visitors alike. The Lounge includes a full-service bar and offers a full service-menu as well as live, free entertainment featuring local New Mexico bands. Every Thursday is open mike night for all aspiring stars. The Range Cafe has since expanded to three locations–one on Menaul and one on Wyoming, both in Albuquerque–but the most popular remains the original restaurant in Bernalillo.

More Ranges

A contemporary Southwestern artsy ambiance enhances your entire dining experience. Everywhere you turn, there’s something to catch your eye. Even the chairs and tables are functional art. While the milieu may seemingly scream “contemporary western,” ergo “home on the range,” the restaurant is actually named for the other kind of range–the one on which you prepare food. Several old stoves as well as stove art festoon the restaurant. Art and ambiance not withstanding, it’s the wonderful food that’s the big attraction. Not only are the portions profuse and most menu items familiar, they are generally delicious and reasonably priced.

The Range is the brainchild of restaurant impresario Matt DiGregory whose other popular restaurant ventures in the Duke City area include the Standard Diner in Albuquerque and the Freight House Kitchen & Tap Room in Bernalllo as well as the now defunct and much missed Gregorio’s Italian Kitchen. The entrepreneurial restaurateur is a visionary innovator whose restaurant concepts defy local stereotypes. His idea to combine fine cooking (such as applying French culinary techniques to the preparation of meatloaf) with comfort food was years before its time. The Range’s motto is “Ordinary Food Done Extraordinarily Well.” The Range lives up to that high standard.

My friend Skyler claims this is how his wife drives


If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the Range’s eye-opening, belly-busing breakfasts are a fulfilling (and very filling) way to start off the day, but if you’re inclined to get sleepy after a big meal, you might want to split breakfast with someone you love. That’s because the Range’s portions are humongous. The most popular entree on the voluminous Range menu, by the way, is the huevos rancheros. It’s possible the Range sells more huevos rancheros than any other restaurant in New Mexico. Diners come from miles around to partake of these award-winning treasures.

A “Short Stack”

The gargantuan breakfast burrito includes three large eggs scrambled with either ham, sausage or grilled veggies, wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with white cheddar and your choice of red or green chile. It is accompanied by Range fries and pinto beans. Both the red and the green chile at the Range can be about as piquant (or as mild) as you’d get at some New Mexican restaurants, depending on the season and batch. It may open your eyes in the morning.

Range Roundup

29 April 2017: A smile crossed over our server’s face when we ordered the Range Roundup, a behemoth breakfast offering she gleefully described as “the best thing on the menu.” If not the best, it’s certainly one of the biggest. It’s large enough to feed two adults or maybe one trencherman (someone who eats heartily, not someone who works in a trench). Imagine a housemade buttermilk biscuit as large as a frisbee and covered with crumbled bacon, sausage, two fresh eggs, white Cheddar and your choice of chile (the green is terrific) with pinto beans and Range fries smothered with con queso. If you love big, fluffy, moist biscuits, you’ll love this one. It serves as a magnificent canvas for the aforementioned toppings, but it’s the green chile that brings it all together. The Range fries with con queso are also quite good.

Wagon Train

29 April 2017: One of the most perplexing mysteries of the human condition is that we get up early to have breakfast only to consume portions so profuse that we’re immediately placed in a semi-comatose state and can’t wait to get back to bed. It’s sleep-inducement in its most delicious form. One of the Range’s most sleep-inducing breakfasts is called the Wagon Train (two fresh eggs, two sausage links, two strips of bacon, white Cheddar, pinto beans, Range fries and a short stack of pancakes). The pancakes alone are the size of manhole covers. Range fries, cubed porcine perfection with a goodly amount of salt, are the star here. They’re classic papitas as good as you’ll find anywhere.

2 May 2009: For a week’s worth of calories, try the stuffed Range toast–three brick-sized slices of cinnamon raisin bread with a rich egg batter, grilled and stuffed with strawberries and bananas then topped with homemade apple/peach butter, whipped cream and maple syrup. These are among the most decadent French toast in New Mexico and should be shared. Should you opt instead for pancakes “Short stack” is a misnomer for the two large pancakes (the size of manhole covers) that leave very little of your plate uncovered. These syrupy orbs, like most Range portions, are big enough to share (they could feed a developing country).

Breakfast Tacos

8 January 2017: While many restaurants throughout the Land of Enchantment have long offered breakfast tacos, most of them are just slightly minor variations on tacos you’d eat for lunch or dinner. Leave it to The Range to serve a breakfast version of America’s favorite (although the ubiquitous hamburger might have something to say about that) portable meal. These breakfast tacos are sheathed in two corn tortillas each stuffed with omelette style eggs, chorizo, cotija and pico de gallo with a ramekin of guacamole and side of papitas. Two per order (you’ll want to ask for a third) tacos will sate your appetite with delightful flavors. Especially noteworthy is the chorizo which is impregnated with a mixture of seasonings, including cinnamon. The guacamole has a tinge of piquancy in addition to the buttery richness of avocados at their peak of ripeness. It’s some of the best guacamole you’ll have anywhere. The pico de gallo is similarly excellent, a perfect foil for the savory omelet-style eggs.

7 March 2019:  “WHEREAS, Texans are renowned for their love of chicken fried steak, that exceptional dish that elevates the hearty flavor of beef to new heights by coating it in batter and breading and frying it until the ingredients are melded in a blissful union.”  How much do Texans love chicken fried steak?  In 2011, the Texas State House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1419 declaring October 26 “Chicken Fried Steak Day,” noting that “this signature dish occupies a special place in the culinary culture of the Lone Star State.” 

Chicken Fried Steak, Two Eggs and Papitas

Texans have nothing on my friend Bruce “Sr. Plata” Silver who must have lived in Texas in a previous life.  Over the years, we’ve traversed the length and breadth of the metropolitan area in search of the area’s best.  The lovely and gracious Sarita recommended we try The Range’s version which she described as “quite good, with your choice of white, brown or green chile gravy.”  Listed on the menu as “country fried steak,” it’s available for both breakfast and lunch.  The breakfast dish includes two fresh eggs, green chile gravy, Range fries and your choice of bread.  Sr. Plata enjoyed his with green chile while your friendly neighborhood blogger had the brown mushroom gravy.  The chicken fried steak is substantial, thick and fork-tender, a worthy vehicle for a terrific brown mushroom gravy.  The gravy, by the way, is so good you’ll want it on your eggs and Range fries, too.

Biscuit with Strawberry Jam

7 March 2019: Order a biscuit at the Range and you might mistake what arrives at your table for a small loaf of bread.  It’s a biscuit behemoth as fluffy and dense as any biscuit in town.  It’s much too big for a paltry pad of butter and a small amount of strawberry jam with which it’s served.  Sure, you can ask for more, but who wants to wait for a server to return when all you want to do is attack it.  

2 June 2022: Writing for the Santa Fe New Mexican, Marianne Sundquist explained “But blue corn is more than a cob covered in striking hues of purple, gray or blackish-blue kernels. It has been a sacred food among Indigenous Americans for centuries, including the Hopi, Navajo and Pueblo along the Rio Grande.” It’s a staple used to make breads, tortillas, atole, popcorn, enchiladas, muffins and blue corn pancakes–similar to regular pancakes, but featuring blue corn masa (dough made from ground corn).  Blue corn pancakes have a distinct corn taste that is especially prominent when topped with maple syrup.  The Range goes further with another New Mexico staple, the delicious piñon and for good measure, blue berries.  The result is the very best blue corn pancakes in the metropolitan area.  Each pancake covers most of the plate so you’ll probably need to ask for additional syrup to cover the pancakes.  At your request, The Range will also provide melted butter, a bonus my friend Bruce “Sr. Plata” loves.

Blue Corn Pancakes (Photo Courtesy of Bruce “Sr Plata” Silver)


Huevos Con Queso

Appetizers, Soups and Salads

The Range trio of guacamole, salsa and con queso with blue corn chips

2 April 2008: Lest I forget, one of the best ways to start a meal at the Range is with the trio of guacamole, salsa and con queso with blue corn tortilla chips. The salsa is about medium on the piquancy scale, but it is fresh, rich and delicious. The guacamole is buttery and fresh, the product of excellent ingredients. Unlike so many other guacamole dishes, this one isn’t merely smashed avocados. This guacamole has got both piquant and citrusy (lime) notes. Only the con queso, which lacks creaminess, disappoints and only slightly at that. It’s a bit on the thick side and includes no ameliorants to contrast the cheesiness.


8 January 2017: The Range also offers an excellent alternative to the ubiquitous trio New Mexicans know and love. It’s called simply Elote, a Spanish word which translates to corn on the cob. Elote is a very popular street food throughout Mexico. Easily portable, it is customarily consumed on a stick, or by grasping the husk of the cob that has been pulled down to form a “handle.” The Range honors the spirit, if not the style of the Mexican Elote. Corn niblets are scraped off a roasted cob and plated in a creamy chile de arbol lime sauce and cotija cheese with blue and white corn tortilla chips. It’s consumed similar to chips and salsa; that is, you use the chips to scoop up the corn niblets. This is a wonderful way to enjoy corn and has become for us, a nice alternative to the chips and salsa with which we often start our meals at The Range.

The Range’s version of green chile chicken stew

28 May 2012: You can’t mention comfort foods without a prominent spot on the list for soups. The soups–especially the cream of mushroom soup and the cream of carrot soup–are among the very best you’ll find in New Mexico. These are the type of soups you love most on a cold winter day, but which are great any time of year. Thick, rich, hearty and replete with fresh ingredients, they’re an elixir for whatever (if anything) ails you. I’m not quite as fond of the Range’s green chile chicken stew, perhaps a misnomer because it’s described on the menu as a “soup that serves like a meal.” It really is a soup, not thick and creamy as most traditional green chile stews tend to be. Within a thin soupy broth, you’ll find blue corn tortilla chips, potatoes, carrots, celery, tendrils of chicken and a barely discernible chile.

Shrimp Scampi Quesadilla
Shrimp Scampi Quesadilla

20 November 2009: The motto of the Range Cafe is “ordinary food done extraordinarily well.” Ordinary doesn’t have to be boring or the “same old thing” everyone else serves. The Range Cafe takes some liberties with New Mexican cuisine and comfort food favorites. Take for example the shrimp scampi quesadilla, sauteed shrimp marinated in tequila, lime and garlic combined with tomatillo, pico de gallo, corn and white Cheddar cheese grilled on a flour tortilla and served with sour cream and guacamole. The shrimp is sweet and succulent, blending in extraordinarily well with the other flavor combinations.

Range Quesadilla
Range Quesadilla

4 April 2014: Vegetarians and Catholics out on a Lenten Friday aren’t left out in the cold when they crave quesadillas. The Range Quesadilla is everything any discerning diner desires in a quesadilla save for a meaty protein. A large, grilled flour tortilla is folded over artichoke hearts, red bell pepper, tomato, green chile and white Cheddar then served with the tasty triumvirate of salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Even avowed carnivores will enjoy this terrific tortilla treat, but if they must have a protein, it’s also available with chicken.

Green Chile Strips

28 May 2012: Another appetizer catering to New Mexican tastes is a plate of green chile strips, breaded whole chiles served with a cool, creamy jalapeño dipping sauce. Served four to an order, each of the green chile strips is at least six inches of piquancy and deliciousness. Unlike some chile rellenos, the batter is thin, light and doesn’t fall off the chiles. The jalapeño dipping sauce is cool heat, a perfect accompaniment for chilephiles who know the only way to improve on a heat-generating food is with even more heat. One of the most redeeming features of the green chile strips is that they’re not greasy.

Asian Salad
Asian Salad

4 April 2014: The Range menu features ten salads ranging from the familiar and traditional (taco salad, Caesar and wedge) to the innovative (Grilled Salmon Berry and Quinoa). The Asian Salad–fresh spinach and mixed greens with cabbage, carrots, jicama, cucumber, snow peas, sliced almonds and frizzled onions tossed in sesame ginger dressing–probably falls in the latter category. It’s an exceptional salad highlighted by freshness and diversity of ingredients. Alas, those ingredients have a similar flavor profile and the salad would probably benefit from a mild cheese.


The aforementioned meatloaf, christened Tom’s meatloaf in honor of Range co-founder Tom Fenton, is a comfort food standard served with garlic mashed potatoes and a delicious mushroom gravy. The meatloaf is a substantial brick-sized slab of moist deliciousness. Like most Range entrees, it’s served almost out-of-the-stove hot. The mashed potatoes are made with real potatoes, not the powdery stuff and surprise, surprise…you can actually taste the garlic.

Mac and cheese with a unique Range twist, green chile
Mac and cheese with a unique Range twist, green chile

20 November 2009: Recognizing that mac and cheese are everyone’s favorite, the Range makes theirs with a special New Mexico unique twist–green chile. The macaroni is rigatoni, the size of a culvert. The cheese is creamy and delicious with a prominent white Cheddar flavor though it’s entirely possible more than one cheese is used. The entire bowl–and it’s the size of a hub cap–is covered with ground parmesan. The green chile is a bit mild on the piquancy scale, but it’s a delicious chile that complements the mac and cheese very well.

The Range Trout

2 April 2008: Dinner specials are generally so good you’ll wish they were on the standard menu. One example is the Range’s trout which is topped with capers, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes in a light white wine sauce. The trout is flaky and grilled to perfection. The natural brininess melds perfectly with the tanginess of the ingredients topping the trout. A lime and cilantro infused Basmati rice makes for excellent accompaniment to this dish.

The Range burger starts with an eight-ounce fresh ground chuck patty flame grilled to order. It’s topped with shaved ham, green chile strips and melted white cheddar cheese on a fresh, homemade bun. It is one of six inventive burgers on the menu, the most unique being a Relleno Burger topped with a blue corn chile relleno and green chile sauce. Obviously these are not boring burgers. The ground chuck patty is what all burgers in the area should aspire to be.

Rio Grande Gorge

21 August 2022: An eight-ounce ground chuck patty is also a key component of the Rio Grande Gorge (named for the ravine through which the Rio Grande runs near Taos) in which the patty is served open face on a tortilla, topped with red or green chile sauce (or both), Cheddar, grilled onions, black beans and Range fries with queso. It sounds great–and for the most part it is, save for the black beans.  It amazes me that The Range would serve black beans (which none of our servers liked) when the kitchen serves up some of the very best pinto beans in the state.  Besides, pinto beans are one of the two official New Mexico state vegetables (you’ll never guess what the other one is).

Plato Combinacion Del Norte

8 January 2017: Why follow Taco Bell’s advice to head for the border when you can go North of the Border for the Range’s interpretation of New Mexican cuisine. The North of the Border menu includes a number of Land of Enchantment favorites served with arroz verde, pinto beans, white cheddar cheese, your choice of chile and sour cream, guacamole or fried egg for a pittance. Your best bet is the Plato Combinacion Del Norte: blue corn chile relleno, chicken taco, two rolled beef enchiladas served with arroz verde, pinto beans, white cheddar cheese and your choice of chile. It’s one of the very best combination plates you’ll find anywhere. Instead of the usual cheese enchiladas, these are stuffed with beef with plenty of melted white Cheddar covering them. The blue corn chile relleno is superb as are the pinto beans.  

21 August 2022:

Somewhere under all the potatoes and eggs is some of the best Carne Adovada in New Mexico


Desserts, are so good, they’re almost indecent! The Range bakes only with real butter, fresh cream, real vanilla, fresh fruits and fine chocolates. Anything can be made a la mode for a pittance. The Range’s dessert case is one of Bernalillo’s most popular attractions, one that should be displayed on tourist guide books. Not only is each dessert aesthetically pleasing (drool eliciting), they’re all delicious.

Desserts So Good You’ll Want to Lick the Glass

The roadhouse chocolate cake, a moist, rich chocolate cake layered with thick chocolate fudge frosting is among the most moist cakes you’ll find anywhere while the “Life by Chocolate” cake defines the word decadent. Featuring milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, Belgian white chocolate and raspberry mousse layered together and glazed with a rich ganache, this is the type of dessert your dentist warned you about as a child and your dietician cautions against today.

Key Lime Pie at The Range
The dessert case is an edible work of art. You’ll want to lick the glass.

20 November 2009: If you’re served green key lime pie, there’s a good bet either food coloring was added or the pie mix came out of a box. In the Florida keys, no restaurant can expect to stay in business for long if it serves green key lime pie. Key lime pies should always be pale yellow, usually a good indication that actual key lime juice is used. The Range’s key lime pie is very reminiscent of those we enjoyed so much when traveling through Florida where the key lime pie has been designated by the state legislature as “the official pie of the state of Florida.” The Range’s version has a tart, but not lip-pursing, flavor. It’s also very aromatic, another sign of authenticity.

Gooey Pecan Caramel Roll

4 April 2014: When stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Bobbye Barlow, our department admin and one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known used to treat us to monkey bread, a pan full of gooey, sweet, decadent, nutty love. Every time we walk by The Range’s pastry case and espy the Gooey Pecan Caramel Roll, it tugs at my heart strings to remember my special friend. This rich treat is very reminiscent of Bobbye’s wonderful monkey bread. Each morsel of this spiral roll is replete with decadent caramel with plenty of pecans which serve as a foil for an otherwise cloying pastry.

Green chile apple pie with piñon streusel in a flaky pie crust
Green chile apple pie a la mode

4 April 2014: In New Mexico, chefs and cooks love showing off the versatility of green chile. One of the most delicious is in apple pie, an idea which makes good sense considering chile (a member of the nightshade family) is closer related to fruits than it is to vegetables. The Range’s green chile apple pie with piñon streusel in a flaky pie crust is among the best. The green chile packs the type of piquant punch that titillates the back of your throat. For the faint of heart and tongue, this pie should be served a la mode. The Range, by the way, is perhaps New Mexico’s most generous restaurants when it comes to ice cream. Scoops are super-sized, twice as large as scoops at most restaurants.

Amaretto Bread Pudding (Photo Courtesy of Bruce “Sr. Plata” Silver

2 June 2022:Food historians trace the history of bread pudding to England in the early 11th and 12th centuries. Frugal cooks looked for ways to stretch the family’s food budget by using stale, leftover bread instead of letting it go to waste. In 13th century England, bread pudding was known as “poor man’s pudding” because it was a popular dish with the lower classes. While bread pudding remains a way to use up leftover bread, it’s gained a reputation as a comfort food and is a featured even in trendy establishments, having shed its humble roots.  The Range offers an amaretto bread pudding (raisins, toasted almonds served warm with Amaretto butter sauce) so rich  and so decadent even my fellow aficionado of bread pudding couldn’t finish it.  This is an elevated bread pudding, one in which the potent almond liqueur is combined with the comforting liquid-soaked bread for a melt-in-your mouth dessert.  It’s the ultimate in comfort food–even if you can’t eat all of it in one sitting.

Death by Lemon

2 June 2022:  One of the most popular desserts offered at The Range bears the ominous name Death by Chocolate.  There are many people who’ll agree such a demise wouldn’t be a bad way to go.  “Death by Lemon” just doesn’t sound as appealing.  Perhaps that’s because it actually sounds as if it could happen.  Picture an overdose of enamel-eating tangy and sour lemons.  Thankfully the dessert chefs at The Range moderate the use of lemons so that you’re only likely to die of joy as you’re enjoying the Death by Lemon (lemon curd in a shortbread crust, with slivered almonds, white chocolate and apricot glaze).  As with most pastries at The Range, this is a top-notch dessert.  You’ll especially like the interplay of the lemon curd and apricot glaze.  It’s like levels of sour notes in harmony on your taste buds.

2 June 2022: Twenty-six years ago when we returned to the Land of Enchantment and first dined at The Range in Bernalillo, a striking and elegant lady caught my eye.  That graceful lady was Ann Fisher-Ives who at the time had completed one year as general manager at The Range.  Over the years, seeing the peripatetic Ann flitting from table to table to check in on her guests gave me a quiet assurance that we would have another great meal at The Range.  Though we’ve only had a handful of conversations over the years, I always found her delightful, a genuine person.  During our lengthiest conversation, she told me she told me of her upcoming retirement.  After twenty-seven years, the graceful beauty will be retiring to spend more time with her family.  The Range will never be the same as we’ve found out during subsequent visits.

The Range is a restaurant about which seldom a disparaging word is heard. Like the Phoenixes rise from the ashes, it continues to ascend in the estimation of its many patrons.

The Range
264 Camino Pueblo
Bernalillo, New Mexico
(505) 867-1700
Web Site | Facebook Page

LATEST VISIT: 21 August 2022
COST: $$
BEST BET: Desserts, Meatloaf, Mushroom Soup, Mac and Cheese, Shrimp Scampi Quesadilla, Range Quesadilla, The Wagon Train, The Roundup, Elote, Breakfast Tacos, Biscuits, Chicken Fried Steak

25 thoughts on “The Range – Bernalillo, New Mexico

  1. Joined Sensei for a quick lunch at the Original ‘The Range’ restaurant and had my heart set on fried chicken & pancakes and wouldn’t you know it, other locations have it as a special but they didn’t, so after some whining the Mgr came out and we all ended up having good conversations as she is retiring in the next few months after many many years there. They made up for it with those delicious deserts you see pictured. So, had my usual burger corn pancakes, eggs scrambled and Turkey sausage which is always great! Funny, I am at The Range now near cottonwood mall and having that special. Sr Plata out…

  2. RE the WYOMING Range. Picked up G-Son at our delightful Amtrak station after his spending 2 weeks in greater Chicago. Offered him the 66 Dinner, but he deferred per badly needing a Chile Fix…shouldn’t that be trademarked? Anyway, he wanted this Range.
    Wow…quite an expansion with a great decor since they first opened this “branch”. Had a congenial “Local” Chica server, albeit I had to enlighten her per being a Local means having had a FL(NMR)CCD con onions, paired with their Orange Drink, at the Dog House. Anyway, he had the Burrito plate with extra Green and extra Guac. At the end, his plate was so clean, it was ready to be replated for another patron. (Say, does any remember when patrón ( was a commonly used word around here, e.g. in the ’70s?)
    I had the 2 Rellenos done Christmas. While they were the slimmest Rellenos I’ve ever seen…LOL…and while the “tang” was fare, OMG!….the flavor/taste was Delicioso! Muy Sabraso.. IMHO. Highly recommended….albeit who knows if ya “luck out” as alas, Real Roasted, Green Chile Flavor/Taste seems a rarity, IMHO, in our ABQ venues. [Alas, can’t say much for their wine based Margarita.]

  3. I joined Gil as we contours on our trek to find the ultimate in chicken fried steak here at The Range. Being back on Lo-carb, I had the potatoes & biscuit replaced with a house salad and blue cheese dressing (forgot to ask if they had blue cheese crumbles). Alas and sorry to say the chicken fried steak was just so-so. It was a heavily floured steak that was too tenderized and too chewy. Would like to hear from others and their experience there. Sure wish I had the blue corn pancakes…

    1. Ah, yes, the chicken fried steak isn’t as good as, say, Cocina Azul, but when I read that you went to Church’s for convenience sake, I figured you could give The Range a try, as that too is relatively convenient. I’m curious: I know it’s not worthy of a spot on your Chicken Fried Steak Trail, but is it at least better than Church’s?

  4. Doesn’t anyone go to a The Range?
    I didn’t think I went that often, but I certainly blather alot herein Anyway, went to the newest addition on Coors that’s been opened a month in a former Steakhouse. Indeed, they’ve revamped it with their own uniquely eclectic decor, and unlike other chains, no two of their now 5 are just like the other. Minor glitch: they need to reorganize the “wait” area so Folks aren’t standing one atop the other on a busy night which also clogs the entry and figuring out whose not waiting for the hostess’ sign-up sheet.
    – Was going to try their version of meatloaf, but they didn’t have any grape jelly packets that I could borrow from the Breakfast menu. Being in a funky mood, tried the Hamburger-Patty-on-a-Tortilla smothered with Green. Per this having been a change of weather (a raw) kinda day, this is a spot-on hearty dish, especially given the tortilla is doubled over. Alas, if ya don’t want the burger cooked through, ya might stress your preference per my friendly server did ask. Was surprised, in contrast to previous times, that the Green, given it is so far out on Coors, was at tourist-heat level and only mildly flavorful. Black beans were an interesting touch. The queso for the fries, which turned out to be papas, was a great part of the meal.
    Alas, while many experiences have been yummily great for simple down home New Mexican dishes, that night was a let down and especially for an 8 buck House Margarita…no way Jose!
    -PS Speaking of upcoming “raw” wintry weather and with all due respect to a bowl of Green Chile Stew or Posole, can’t imagine what might stick to your ribs…besides a bowl of oatmeal dolloped with a pat of melting butter and a splash of cream, than some oysterettes accompanying this sourdough bread bowl of New England Clam Chowder I.e. buy a can to be ready for that day!

    1. Does anyone go to “a The Range?”.
      Besides the oddest sounding sentence the answer is a resounding yes.
      Except for one opening hour foray to The Range I have always experienced a rather full house of satisfied diners.
      The question is why, why is it so popular.?
      I guess if the food isn’t free some diners will always have a bone to pick so let’s just disregard the cost aspect.
      I’ve always believed you get what you pay for.
      The food at The Range is decent to good and sometimes very good.
      The ambiance is neighborhood friendly, there is always some familiar faces dining there.
      The employees are among the friendliest, most efficient waitstaff in Albuquerque and their joy in serving the diners shines through.
      It’s important to note they like working there, the turnover is remarkably slow as to be almost non-existent.
      Those three things are the crux of the success of The Range.
      A small restaurant chain like The Range doesn’t do $10,000,000.00 (as reported in the ABQ Journal) year business by osmosis, it’s hard work and Management works hard to maintain the standards.
      My suggestion, if price becomes the determining factor for a thumbs up for any restaurant, is to go to McDonalds and order a child’s Happy Meal.
      Or find a used flux capacitor and go back in time when sideburns and Muscle cars were the rage.

  5. Driving by the new venue on Rio Grande @ I-40 for several weeks now on Sat and Sun AMs, you’d think it was a church!!! there is so much spillage into the adjoining parking lot! Be that as it may, it was fine this Friday as my Daughter/S-i-L/G-Daughter feasted me here. Whoa! the physical ambiance is quite different from the others, given the high ceiling of the former fast food chain occupant. They’ve done an artistically creative job of filling the space by incorporating 3-D imaging breaking into a great incorporation of our famous…stylized…hot air balloons. Similar to Bernalillo, the walls are beginning to fill with art work they are synonymously known for displaying.
    – Waitstaff: congenial and on top of things!
    – Food: Never had their omelet before. While I was skeptical per the price…LOL…this sucker…the Kitchen Sink with ham, bacon, white cheddar, cream cheese, green onion, avocado, tomato…con papas/fruit on the side….obviates the need for dinner later. For several years, I enjoyed Las Vegas Sunday Brunches with made-before-your-very-eyes omelets. The Range’s pregnant creations outshine any.
    While the Gals were ebulliently expressive of the gustatorial joy engendered by their Belgian Waffle and Pancake Stack smothered with fruits, I was taken aback by my S-i-L: He had the (Eggs Benedict) as Huevos con Queso which left him afterwards with a grin all the way back to his Truque.
    – If I was pressed for a “ding”?: Hmm….Ok, the snap of the celery stalk in my Bloody Mary could have been snappier!
    Elsewise…Muy Sabrosa!

  6. Per one Daughter/S-i-L spending Christmas in a Yurt up Abiquiu/O’keeffe’s way overlooking the Chama River Valley, families met up here this day in lieu of our more traditional Christmas Eve gatherings. While I might write of the nuances of the food, suffice it to say that eight varied plates of traditional New Mexican vittles were scarfed clean, e.g. see analyses elsewhere herein. What I’m writing about that impressed me today, is that despite the place being packed with a breakfast crowd given the large size of the place, attentiveness of the service was A1/Top Drawer. In addition to our WaitGal’s cordiality and attentiveness, she had an assistant also making sure waters/coffees were kept full/plates cleared. Admittedly for some other Folk possibly, the arrival of the dishes was what some might describe as leisurely, but this gave us “unhurried” time for face-to-face updating of “things”…like one G-Daughter’s recently venturing her own Pet & House Sitter business; another’s reviewing her first semester grades at UNM; a G-Son’s upcoming schooling in Thailand; and everyone’s trying to fill in what the 6th and 7th thingies of what my True Love Gave to Me were!!!

  7. Was feted to a bit of breakfast at the Range per a meet n greet for volunteers of Alas, we had a something called Breakfast Egg Casserole that is currently only available as part of their catering menu…I didn’t dig down into the weeds, but it is like a bunch of stuff that often goes into an omelet and comes across as really creamy, smooth. My suggestion is if ya ever go, ask for it and then say oh that’s right, it’s on the catering menu…what a shame, i.e. pushing to get it be regular.
    – Also had Apple Fritters…these are from the Freight House up the street which is part of the Range “conglomerate” if you will, that includes The Standard Diner. Anyways, they are avaible at the FH in their Sunday Brunch offerings…muy sabroso as a “crispy” shell with soft innards.
    – Lest you didn’t notice, they are renovating a former McDonald’s(?) on Rio Grande to be a Range just north of I-40, i.e. a bit more convenient to West Siders, let alone to tourists to Olde Town. Their target is about mid-December.
    Lastly, the Bernalillo gift shop has added a bit more space, i.e. where you might find some out of the ordinary “carinos” as well as serious stuff for Christmas/Holiday giving for Folks living “outside” New Mexico.
    Oh well, speaking of Olde Town, don’t forget Friday, Dec 2 is the annual Holiday Stroll when they block off the streets for strolling and shoppes stay open till 9. I suggest you get there early before 5 as parking can be a bear or see here about parknshuttle! Seriously, Old Town merchants offer a variety of as well as unique offerings beyond what you might stereotypical misperceive.

  8. Interesting…..50 places to try before you die:

    (This is just a bit of humor per sequeing into an aside (whatever that might mean). It has nothing to do with The Range or having anything to do with whether it is a Mexican or New Mexican restaurant. There is nothing else implied:….a cute bit of humorous creativity IMHO.
    Similarly, here is a Word of the Day given that New Mexican food often has some such ingredients, Thought of passing it along lest one might want to be succinct v verbose: ‘Alliaceous’: “having the odor or taste of garlic, onion, etc.
    Lastly, while many understandably abhor Best of….Lists, I’m sure many Mom n Pop’s herein appreciate your effort….On the plus side, Folks can only vote once:…Thanks)

  9. Eh…kitschy decor, and appealing dessert case when you walk in, but I’ve never had a memorable meal there. Something is…just…lacking. Also, I agree with one of the posts above; The Range is not very accomodating to substituting sides or special requests. Last time I ate there the waitress even told me, “we get asked that all the time, but the kitchen won’t do it.” I mean, come on…if your customers are asking for specific substitutions “all the time” doesn’t that say that it’s better the other way and wouldn’t you include options? Anywho, I suppose it’s a decent dive once in awhile, but nothing special. For newbies giving this place a shot: do not be fooled that their New Mexican dishes are authentic! They are mellowed out and a little Tex-Mex.

  10. Wow, last update in 2012, not good. Senorena and I were wanting something different since we stayed in Buffalo Thunder north of Santa Fe to celebrate LIFE. We took the 599 bypass so we didnt get into Santa Fe and got very hungry in Bernalillo thus we ended up at the Range. I had to have the Pancake Grande but with Blue Corn, so I had 3 very large blue corn pancakes with pinon and other assorted treats that when mixed with maple syrup was really good. I forgot who didnt like Cumin, but the Turkey Sausage well done had green chile and CUMIN and guess what, it was good. You know what would be good, a Blue Corn Crepe such as the Lingonberry Kind from You Know Where that we don’t name. Anyways, The Range had a nice homey atmosphere and with their special coffee, we just had a very good time.

  11. I have always enjoyed the Range and always take visitors from back east there for the food and the local flavor..
    I know that when all else fails I can get very good food, very good service, and a very friendly atmosphere.
    As with any other eatery, if one goes back and back and back often enough there will be rough patches.
    That said, The Range has suffered very few of those patches.
    The only menu item I have not liked was their attempt at meat balls and spaghetti. Just not my favorite version of one of my favorite meals, fave as in possible choice for Desert Island Meal.
    Consistency is what every eatery should aspire to and the Range has achieved that and maintained it.

  12. The Range makes a really wonderful Chef Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette (on the side) at the Range. I have never faied to be served a very tasteful and eye-pleasing salad. It is certainly one of the best I have had. The greens have always been clean and crisp. It is also freshly prepared not pulled out of some refrigerator. Try it if you like such things.I dont think you will be disappointed.

  13. Oh, my goodness! The sugar-free cheesecake at the Range is fantastic.

    As a diabetic, I have to overcome great temptation when asked if I want dessert. The worst is when they bring a seductive dessert tray around and ask me which one I would like. Just looking at a dessert tray spikes my blood sugar!

    The sugar-free cheesecake at the Albuquerque (Wyoming S. of Montgomery) location is a more than ample portion – easily enough for two to share. It has a wonderful creamy cheesecake flavor. You literally cannot tell this cheesecake (made with Splenda) from one made from sugar. It is served with a decoratively cut strawberry on top.

    To me, it is one of the best cheesecakes I have eaten – period. I will be getting this again fer sure! Diabetics (and non-diabetics alike) rejoice!

  14. Joined a couple friends for an excellent time on a Saturday night at the Range. The Manager for the local Boot Barn played some excellent music in the bar area that nicely complemented our meal. When I can’t have pancakes for breakfast, I tend to search for the Chicken Fried Steak which I had that came with home made mashed potatoes and vegetables. I thought it was excellent chicken fried steak with a cream gravy (no pork) that was quite flavorful. The mashed potatoes were the highlight, they were the type you would have at home that includes the skin, i.e. Real mashed potatoes. I have to say that Senorena Plata thought they were the best she had in a long time. The brocolli was also very flavorful, not sure if there was some butter on them or if they were cooked in flavored oil but they were very tasty. On the whole, it was an excellent meal. I made the mistake of suggesting the Macaroni & Cheese to our friends based on the menu description, it was very runny and not appetizing and of course felt guilt for recommending it. I need to go on the Pancake and Chicken Fried Steak New Mexico trail one of these days, this definitely was good CFS…

  15. Visit 6-13-2010

    Probably the worst $9.00 Hamburger I’ve ever had. I would expect it to more than cut from a tube! Just a terrible experience!

  16. The Range is so large in popularity that sometime’s it collapses under its own gravity. The ‘night club’ (lizard lounge?) area where you sat, based on the picture of the mirror, is the best place in the restaurant because of the acoustics. Anytime, it seems during the weekend, the din of noise can be nerve wracking. I usually enjoy dinner conversation as well as the dinner.

    The shrimp quesadilla was so good that I ordered it as an entrée on a later. Unfortunately, I did this with the cerviche, and well, and ended up with an appetizer that helped me stay on my diet, but it was good.

    In my book, the Range gets an A+ for the food but a C- for the typical dining experience comfort. Sometimes, when they get really busy, culinary gaffs have occurred, such as presenting a cheese omelet without cheese and a frozen in the middle Ruben.

    My opinion is that the deserts are straight from heaven or hell, depending on your perspective – either divine or purely decadent. I think Matt et al do a great job but succumb to the effects of being too popular at times – with respect to the popularity you alluded to in Zagat’s survey.
    My favorite product of The Range has to be the Sun Ripened Tomato salad dressing. I could drink straight from the cruet.

    Gil, we appreciate your online blog of New Mexico dining experiences. Thank you.

  17. Most everybody I talk to in the area raves about The Range. I have no idea why! The food is an unimaginative as a hotdog at the ballpark. The quality of their product and its ingredients are average. I have even had a bad dish of Taos Cow ice cream (flat tasting and full of ice crystals) Yes, the portions are large but so are their prices, especially for their New Mexican cuisine offerings. Special requests are not their forte. Try getting a potato side that has not been sitting under a heat lamp for “too long.” Can you believe that this restaurant does not offer french fries. Must be a problem in the kitchen. Yes, I still go back from time to time but only when I need a “semi quick” meal close to my home.

  18. Ate at the Range religiously for many years but stopped. Same menu year-after-year left us wanting something different. Food was good but they need some imagination!!! I very strongly disagree with your assessment of their deserts. Dry and often stale tasting. Not sure if its the refrigerated case but there is better around town.

  19. The green chili chicken stew at The Range is one of the cheapest, most satisfying dishes you can get in all of Albuquerque. There’s nothing quite like whether it’s cold and icky outdoors or our usual ‘severe clear’!

  20. I love the Range. I am a veggie (not vegan ) but I do feel welcome there and plenty to eat. I love their Chimichangas. Their vegetarian omelet is amazing. I do not know how they can prepare the eggs that way. Great stuff and I like how they prepare espresso.

  21. The Range is THE place to stop and eat on the way from Albuquerque or vice versa. The food is hot, well prepared, served with a smile, parking is easy – either on the street or across the street in the Range parking lot. The chili rellenos are the real item and the huevos rancheros are wonderful. Be sure to order ‘Chiristmas’ as both are very tasty. Did I mention how good the margaritas are? The Range has two other locations but I haven’t been there.

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