Sevyn’s Cafe – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Sevyn’s Cafe in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

During a 1996 episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza, a self-proclaimed “short, balding, unattractive man” made the mistake of telling his fiancee he wanted to name his child “Seven” after his idol Mickey Mantle.  To George’s chagrin, his fiancee’s cousins liked the idea so much they decided to name their own child Seven.  Even as the female cousin was being wheeled by an orderly into the delivery room, George tried in vain to convince them to name the child something else.  Six,  Thirteen, Fourteen, even…Soda.  “it’s bubbly, it’s refreshing!,” he cried.

Driving by the familiar yellow roofed building that previously housed the now defunct Mad Max’s BBQ, I couldn’t help but laugh while recalling that hilarious episode.  There on that yellow roof was new signage for a cafe named Sevyn’s Cafe–George Costanza’s coveted baby name only spelled differently.  Sevyn’s Cafe opened for business on Wednesday, November 5th, 2010, the retirement dream of Pamela and Ralph Hartsock.  Pamela, a nurse, and Ralph, who’s in the construction clean-up business, haven’t retired yet, but it’s never too early to start planning.

Enchiladas with two fried eggs

Pamela explained that the cafe is named for her granddaughter, jokingly adding that her son picked the name in recognition of the seven top reasons to get a tattoo.  Her son, a noted tattoo artist, created the artwork hanging on the walls at the cafe.  It’s good stuff.  One depicts a skeletal bride and groom in the style of El Dia De Los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead in which a profusion of skeletons of all sizes perform day-to-day activities signifying the return to this world of the dead who remain what they were when they lived, doing what they did.  Another depicts Saint Sebastian, a Christian saint and martyr, tied to a post and shot with arrows.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sevyn’s menu showcases New Mexican food with single- or double-meat burgers , a chicken sandwich (grilled or breaded), chicken tenders, grilled cheese sandwich, a hot dog and a chili dog thrown in for good measure.  The breakfast menu features an assortment of plates or burritos.  You can, for example, have a plate with eggs, hash browns, cheese, bacon or sausage, and red or green chili (sic) or the whole lot can be piled in a tortilla and served as a burrito.

Cheeseburger with Fries

In the 12th edition of Frommer’s Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque Travel Guide, author Lesley King listed “Northern New Mexico Enchiladas” as among “the most unforgettable Northern New Mexico Experiences,” indicating that there are few things more New Mexican than the enchilada.  I couldn’t agree more with my friend and tend to consider enchiladas a good benchmark for restaurants which serve New Mexican food.  If a restaurant can’t make a good enchilada, chances are the rest of its New Mexican food won’t be good either.

Sevyn’s Cafe serves a good enchilada.  Make that three.  Three enchiladas engorged with your choice of beef or chicken and served with your choice of red or green chile (or Christmas style) made for a good introduction to the cafe.  Instead of one measly egg, my enchiladas were topped with two eggs, completely blanketing the entree.  The chili (my spellchecker is going crazy with this spelling, but it’s how it’s spelled on the menu) is rich, dark red and tasty though it lacks much of a discernible bite.  The ground beef is well-seasoned and doesn’t have a reheated flavor as you’ll find at some restaurants.  The accompanying rice is fluffy and delicious as are the beans.

My buddy Bill “Roastmaster” Resnik had a cheeseburger which he praised for its hand-formed, fresh beef patty though the overly toasted bun detracted from his overall enjoyment.  The beef patty appears to be about six ounces.  It is joined on sesame seed buns by red onion, crisp lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mustard and mayo.  French fries seasoned with salt and pepper are also available as a side.

I don’t know if George Costanza would get upset over the use of the name Sevyn for this charming little cafe, but it’s a good bet Seinfeld’s portly friend would enjoy the food.

Sevyn’s Cafe
1600 Sara Road
Rio Rancho, NM
LATEST VISIT: 4 November 2010
BEST BET: Enchiladas

6 thoughts on “Sevyn’s Cafe – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

  1. I feel bad for any business that must end and that goes for Sevyn’s. I wished they had heard the comments from Gil’s blog because they just might have survived if they cared. They were so close to Intel and there are a lot of hungry people out there. Maybe we can get some Pastrami, Philly Cheese Steak, or other delicious yet cost consicous restaurant to come to Rio Rancho. Maybe some in ABQ that is on our Top Ten lists for 2011 will consider an outpost. Maybe Gil can find some way to get with other foodies to help get some places spread out that cures our hunger for good food. Thanks Gil for helping out places like this but alas their ears are closed…

  2. I respect and often agree with Gil’s reviews. This time I totally disagree with Gil. Perhaps they knew of Gil’s visit and gave him the best of their efforts and ingredients. Our experiences have been fair to terrible. After 4 visits we will not be back.

    On the first visit we assumed they were having a bad day but by the fourth visit we knew we would never return. To avoid bias we were generous with our visits and on 3 of the 4 visits we brought friends along. Sadly, all who accompanied us, agreed they could do better cooking their own meals at home.

    Most everything we’ve ordered is either overcooked or undercooked or of poor quality. Yes, they’re generous by slathering fried eggs atop many dishes but eggs are a cheap way to provide filler and hide a poorly assembled dish. The burgers were dried out and overly salty. But who salts ground beef before serving it to the general public? I expect ground beef to be fully cooked to prevent food borne illness. But you don’t have to overcook the meat to make it safe. The rice was very nice on one visit but more times than not it appeared to be 1-week old leftovers mixed in with that day’s batch. The green and red chile taste industrial, like the ordinary creations found in canned products. On two visits the bacon was way undercooked and our guests sent their meals back to have items more fully cooked. As the other reviewer noted, the bacon and sausage are of cheap quality as well.

    I get the fact they’re providing cheap fare. I also get they’re new to this business. I don’t expect nor want gourmet food at an establishment like this. I’d also think they’d be up to speed by now. But I cook extensively and expect a modicum of quality. And I’m not the only one with complaints. We heard many complaints from other patrons on every visit.

    BTW, Ralph needs to control his cell phone usage. On several occasions he was on his phone non-stop. He was distracted and it affected some customers to the point we heard others make mention of his phone conversations. On another visit he seemed more interested in knowing what cash was available versus dealing with the customers. I wish them well but believe this will be a short venture in their lives.

  3. Tried them for breakfast and we were not impressed.
    Green chile was uninspired.
    Bacon and sausage were obviously the cheapest they could purchase from their supplier, and they served very small portions…2 little strips of bacon or one silver dollar sized sausage patty.

  4. Dear Owners of Sevyn’s Cafe, I want you to succeed where many before you haven’t in your building because I want to support local businesses. I was there yesterday with some friends. The green chile cheese burgers looked so good when I was there last week and had to return for one. But to tell you the truth, it was one of the most over well-done pieces of meats I have had in a long while (bordering burnt) and I believe there was just too much salt. I dont cook with salt and when there is too much, I can feel it. All of us had the same problem with how the burger was cooked. I am trying as best as possible to be positive in this situation and I know you can change it by putting your customers first and being concerned if they will come back. Minimally, ask your customers how they want their burgers cooked. As a side note, since you offer breakfast, may i suggest you add pancakes to the menu. The kids may like that (as well as obsessed breakfast pancake eaters in New Mexico).

  5. I was joined by my friend Andy for a quick bite. He had the enchillada and I had the taquitos with double side of rice. It was pretty good as I haven’t had that since I hit the beach in Santa Monica, CA. The beef was tasty and e erythinv tasted fresh. A guacamole sauce would have made it awesome. I have to say I was jeolous of those around me who ordered the single or double green chile cheese burger because they really looked good. I will have to come back to definitely try it..

  6. Hey Ralph; great meeting you at the light parade in Rio Rancho. I am a member of the Silent Skulls Lone Bikers M/C and sponsor a non-patch two non patch groups called the Silent Skulls / Duke City Drifters. The SS/DCD is a community meet-up group. Meet-up is a computer generated site that allows groups of all interests. People just get together with like minded people and share common interests. Ours of course is Motorcycle Riding.

    I would like to know if you are interested in sponsoring the SS/DCD meet-up group at Sevyn’s Cafe. It seems our group is quite popular and our membership is very active. The bikes you saw at the parade where the result of less than one days notice. The parade officials did not give us the ok untill the day before.

    Bottom line is we need a place to meet and eat in Rio Rancho and your Cafe is very inexpensive, accessable and I know the owner, Ralph, (smile) seems like a pretty nice guy heck he may even be a biker.

    We do not have meetings per say, but we do get together often, and there is always food involved. So no need to provide a private setting or anything like that. However if you agree to be our sponsor, you will come up on our meetup site as a place to meet and eat before a run. Anything else you should choose to offer our group is up to you as a sponsor.

    Let me know and I will take care of everything else, like getting you signed up and on our site. I have not asked anyone else to sponsor our group, however this seems like a good thing to do.

    Just email me at the above email address and I will get right back to you.

    sslb Daigojim SS/DCD meet-up group.

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