Gone But Not Forgotten

The fate of far too many restaurants in New Mexico

There are approximately 970,000 restaurants across the fruited plain and–according to 2012 figures provided by the National Restaurant Association–they account for $632 billion in sales per year. Opening a new restaurant is not, however, a lucrative proposition nor is longitude a certainty. According to market analysis, the average “life span” of restaurants can be tenuous. Up to 90 percent of independent establishments shutter their doors during their first year of operation. Seventy percent of those which make it past their first year cease operations in the next three to five years. Ninety percent of the restaurants operating beyond the five-year mark will stay in business for a minimum of ten years.

Just think about all the restaurants across the Land of Enchantment which have been unable to sustain a consistent customer base over time. Their success or failure can be attributed to many factors: insufficient capital to cover operating costs; location, location, location; competition from chains; inability to differentiate from the competition; and many other reasons, not all of them bad. Over the years many successful restaurants closed their doors so their dedicated owners can enjoy well-deserved retirements. Owning and operating a restaurant is fraught with challenges and risks. Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog celebrates all the culinary warriors who fed us well, but no longer operate within our borders. You are missed!

Closed in 2021

Backstreet Grill (Albuquerque) |Cafe Laurel (Albuquerque) | California Pastrami (Albuquerque) | Canvas Artistry (Albuquerque) | Guaca Guaca Tacos & Beer (Albuquerque) | Kelly’s Brew Pub (Albuquerque) | Pho Lao (Albuquerque) | La Placita Dining Rooms (Albuquerque) | Poppy’s Pizzeria & Italian Eatery (Albuquerque) | |P’Tit Louis Bistro (Albuquerque) | The Safari Grill (Albuquerque) | Stripes Biscuit Co. (Albuquerque) | Triple B’s Barbecue, Burgers & Burrito (Rio Rancho) |

Closed in 2020

1933 Brewing Co (Rio Rancho) | Anatolia Turkish & Mediterranean Grill (Albuquerque) |Angelina’s Restaurant (Espanola) | B2B Tap Room (Albuquerque) | Birds Paradise Hot Pot (Albuquerque) | Blue Grasshopper Brew Pub (Rio Rancho) |Bonchon (Albuquerque) | The Burger Stand (Albuquerque) | Burque Burgers & Dawgs (Albuquerque) | Coco Flora (Albuquerque) | The Cooperage (Albuquerque) | Eloisa (Santa Fe) | Farmhouse 21 (Albuquerque) | Filling Philly’s (Albuquerque) | Flamez Bistro (Albuquerque) | Fu Yuang (Albuquerque) | Gigi Italian Bistro (Albuquerque) | Hartford Square (Albuquerque) | Hello Poke (Albuquerque) | La Crepe Michele (Albuquerque) | Las Ristras (Corrales) | Luna Mansion Landmark Steakhouse (Los Lunas) |Mannie’s Family Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Mimmo’s Pizzeria & Ristorante (Albuquerque) | Mogu Mogu (Albuquerque) | Model Pharmacy (Albuquerque) | Ortega’s New Mexican Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Plum Cafe (Albuquerque) | Rock & Brews (Albuquerque) | Sal-E-Boy’s Pizzeria (Rio Rancho) | Sandiago’s Mexican Grill (Albuquerque) | Saigon Far East (Albuquerque) | Seasonal Palate (Albuquerque) | Standard Diner (Albuquerque) | Sweet Tomatoes (Albuquerque) |

Closed in 2019

ABQ BBQ (Albuquerque) |  Bosque Brewing Company (Albuquerque) | Cafe Trang (Albuquerque) | Cafe Nom Nom (Albuqurque) |Cantina Nueva – Garduño’s | The Cellar (Albuquerque) | Chumly’s Southwestern (Albuquerque) | Crepe Crepe (Albuquerque) | Da Vinci’s Gourmet Pizza (Albuquerque) | El Agave (Rio Rancho) | Jasmine Thai & Sushi (Albuquerque) | Krazy Lizard (Albuquerque) | The Kitchen by 135 Degrees (Albuquerque) | La Familiar (Albuquerque) | Little Red Hamburger Hut (Albuquerque) | Malaguena Latin American Tapas (Albuquerque) | Maya (Albuquerque) | M’TUCCI’S MARKET & PIZZERIA (Albuquerque) | Pana’s Cafe (Albuquerque) | Pho 505 (Albuquerque) | Poki Poblano Fusion Lounge (Albuquerque) | Quesadilla Grille (Albuquerque) | Scalo (Albuquerque) | Sophia’s (Albuquerque) | Stack House BBQ (Rio Rancho) | Street Food Asia (Albuquerque) |TFK Smokehouse (Albuquerque) | Tecolote Cafe (Santa Fe) | Weekday’s Restaurant (Albuquerque) Zacatecas Tacos (Albuquerque) | Zullo’s Bistro (Albuquerque)

Closed in 2018

528 Sushi & Asian Cuisine (Albuquerque) | Aura European and Middle Eastern Restaurant   (Albuquerque) | Aya’s New Asian Japanese Cuisine (Albuquerque) | Banana Leaf (Rio Rancho) | Bayti Mediterranean Delicacies (Albuquerque) | Best Lee’s (Albuquerque) | Beto’s Cocina (Albuquerque) | Buckhorn Tavern (San Antonio) | Casa Diaz (Bernalillo) | Chile Time Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Chris’ Cafe (Santa Fe) | Devon’s Pop Smoke Wood Fired Grill (Albuquerque) | Elaine’s (Albuquerque) | Fat Squirrel (Rio Rancho) | Fresh Bistro (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) | Groundstone (Albuquerque) | I Love Sushi (Albuquerque) | Il Bosco (Albuquerque) | J.J.’s Pizza (Albuquerque) | Kaktus Brewing Company (Albuquerque) | Leilani’s Cafe (Albuquerque) | Los Chavez Cafe (Belen) | Matanza Beer Kitchen West (Albuquerque) | Milton’s Cafe (Albuquerque) | Nanami Noodle House (Albuquerque) | Pepper’s Old Fashioned BBQ | Petra Restaurant & Time Square Deli Mart (Albuquerque) | Philly’s N Fries (Albuquerque) | The Point Grill (Rio Rancho) | Rolls & Bowls (Albuquerque) | Santa Fe Bite (Santa Fe) | Sara’s Pastries & Deli (Albuquerque) | Señor Tortas (Albuquerque) | South Bourbon Kitchen (Albuquerque) | SweeTea Bakery Cafe (Albuquerque) | Tao Chinese Bistro (Rio Rancho) | The TownHouse Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Vibrance (Albuquerque) |

Closed in 2017

Antonio’s Cafe & Cantina (Albuquerque) | Blue Ribbon Bar & Grill (Estancia) | Bricklight Dive (Albuquerque) | Bucketheadz (Albuquerque) | Cafe Bella Luca (Truth or Consequences) | Chama River Brewing Company (Albuquerque) | Chicharroneria Orozco (Albuquerque) | Chow’s Asian Bistro (Albuquerque) | Delish (Albuquerque) | ECLECTIC URBAN PIZZERIA AND BEER TAP (Albuquerque)| El Maguey (Rio Rancho) | ELI’S PLACE (Albuquerque) | Fox and Grille Pub & Grille (Albuquerque) | Gold Street Caffe (Albuquerque) | Irrational Pi (Albuquerque)| Karibu Cafe (Albuquerque) | Kasey’s Restaurant & Pub (Albuquerque) | Kitchen 7 (Albuquerque) | The Library (Albuquerque) | Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town Kitchen | Marcello’s Chophouse (Albuquerque) | Marley’s BBQ (Albuquerque) | Murphy’s Mule Barn (Albuquerque) | Nicky V’s Neighborhood Pizzeria (Albuquerque) | Olive Branch Bistro (Albuquerque) | Omira Bar & Grill (Santa Fe) |Panchito’s Restaurant & Bakery (Albuquerque) | Papaburgers (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) | Pasion Latin Fusion (Albuquerque) | Pete’s Frites (Albuquerque) | Q Burger (Albuquerque) | Thai Heritage (Albuquerque) | ZS&T’s Great Grub (Albuquerque)

Closed in 2016

Adieux Cafe (Albuquerque) | Cafe Caribe (Albuquerque) | Cafe Jean Pierre (Albuquerque) | China Best (Albuquerque) Desert Grows (Los Ranchos De Albuquerque) | Doc & Eddie’s (Albuquerque) | Duke City Donuts (Albuquerque) | Gioco (Albuquerque) | Harla May’s Fat Boy Grill (Belen) | Heimat House and Beer Garden (Albuquerque) | High Finance (Albuquerque) | Hua Chang (Albuquerque) | Ice Cream Palace and Hot Dog World (Rio Rancho) | Jennifer James 101 (Albuquerque) | Jhett’s Restaurant | JR’s Bar-B-Q (Albuquerque) | Kasbah Mediterranean (Albuquerque) | Mariscos Mazatlan (Rio Rancho) | May Hong (Albuquerque) | Mekong Ramen House (Albuquerque) | Nosh Jewish Delicatessen & Bakery (Albuquerque) | Patricia’s Cafe (Albuquerque) | Prime (Los Ranchos De Albuquerque) | Rub-N’Wood Bar-B-Q (Rio Rancho) | Soul & Vine (Albuquerque) | Taste of Himalayas (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) | Tratta Bistro (Albuquerque) | Vernon’s Open Door (Albuquerque) | Zia Diner (Santa Fe) |

Closed in 2015

Ahh Sushi (Rio Rancho) | Albuquerque Tortilla Factory (Albuquerque) | Ali Baba (Albuquerque) | Badlands Burgers & Tortas (Grants) | Bert’s Burger Bowl (Santa Fe) | Cafe Bien (Albuquerque)| Chillz Frozen Custard (Albuquerque) | Cool Water Fusion (Albuquerque) | El Norteño (Albuquerque)| Epazote on the Hillside (Santa Fe) | Gravy (Albuquerque) | Happy Belly Deli (Truth or Consequences) | Kim Long Asian Cuisine (Albuquerque) | Los Equipales (Albuquerque) | Loving Vegan (Albuquerque) | New Yorken Cafe & Bakery (Albuquerque)| Paul’s Monterey Inn (Albuquerque) | Route 66 Malt Shop (Albuquerque) | Seferino’s New Mexican Restaurant (Rio Rancho) | Sengdao Bar-B-Q Asian Cuisine (Albuquerque) | Shade Tree Customs & Cafe (Albuquerque) | The Spot Cafe (Albuquerque) | The Stumbling Steer (Albuquerque) | Tara Thai Cuisine (Albuquerque) | Tim’s Place (Albuquerque | Viet Q (Albuquerque) | Witch’s Brew (Albuquerque)|

Closed in 2014

Antonio’s: A Taste of Mexico (Taos) | Back-Sass BBQ (Bernalillo) | Bouche (Albuquerque) | Chez Bob (Albuquerque) | Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill & Burgers (Santa Fe) | Charlie’s Front Door (Albuquerque) | Chile Rio Mexican Grill (Albuquerque) | Dagmar’s Restaurant & Strudel Haus (Albuquerque) | Dragonfly Cafe & Bakery (Taos) | El Pollo Real (Albuquerque) | Jamon’s Frybread Cabana (Albuquerque) |La Cafe Miche (Albuquerque) | La Esquina Restaurante (Albuquerque) | La Fonda Del Bosque (Albuquerque) | La Sirenita (Albuquerque) | Lumpy’s Burgers (Albuquerque) | Mint Tulip Vegan Cafe (Albuquerque) | NM Rodeo Burgers (Rio Rancho) | Paddy Rawal’s OM Fine Dining Cuisine (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) | Pho Hoa (Los Ranchos De Albuquerque) | Rafiki Cafe (Albuquerque) |RedBrick Pizza (Albuquerque) | Roper’s Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Serafin’s Chile Hut (Albuquerque) | Taste of Peru (Albuquerque) | Terra Bistro Italiano (Albuquerque) | Village Subs (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) | Willard Cantina & Cafe (Willard) |

Closed in 2013

Ancient Spirits Bar & Grill (Bernalillo) | Bailey’s On The Beach (Albuquerque) | Blue Heron Restaurant (Santa Fe) | Bobcat Bite (Santa Fe) | Brasserie La Provence (Albuquerque) | Christy’s Food Factory (Albuquerque) | Cosmos Tapas (Albuquerque) | Coyote Diner (Albuquerque) | Desert Fish (Albuquerque) | Ezra’s Place (Albuquerque) | Fratelli Bistro (Albuquerque) | Graham’s Grille by Lesley B. Fay (Taos) | India Palace (Albuquerque) | La Casita Cafe (Bernalillo) | Lucia (Albuquerque) | Mariscos La Playa (Albuquerque) | Paco’s International Smoked Cuisine (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) | Peppers (Albuquerque) Piggy’s Hot Dogs & Burgers (Albuquerque) | Prickly Pear Bar & Grill (Albuquerque) | Rey’s Place (Albuquerque) | The Smokehouse Barbecue Restaurant (Rio Rancho) | Timbuctu Bistro (Rio Rancho) | Tomme (Santa Fe) |

Closed in 2012

4 Aces Grill (Albuquerque) | Amici (Albuquerque) | Aqua Santa (Santa Fe) | Barry’s Oasis (Albuquerque) | Billet’s Grill (Albuquerque) | Cafe Green (Albuquerque) | Chef’s Bistro (Albuquerque) | Embudo Station (Embudo) | Gregorio’s Italian Kitchen (Albuquerque) | Hakata Asian Cuisine & Grill (Albuquerque) | Hello Gyro (Albuquerque) | The Hole Thing Donut Shop (Red River) | Jo’s Place (Albuquerque) | Johndhi’s BBQ (Albuquerque) | Josh’s Place (Santa Fe) | Juan’s Broken Taco (Albuquerque) | Just a Bite (Albuquerque) | La Hacienda Express (Bernalillo) | Mamba’s Kitchen (Albuquerque) | Milton’s Family Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Miss Saigon Bar & Grill (Albuquerque) | Pacific Rim Asian Bistro (Albuquerque) | Paradise Donuts (Bosque Farms) | Ponderosa Steakhouse (Tijeras) | Ravioli Italian Kitchen (Albuquerque) | Real Food Nation (Santa Fe) | Sandia Crust Pizza Company (Cedar Crest) | Salsas Grill (Albuquerque) | Señor Dog (Albuquerque) | Silvano’s New Mexican Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Three Forks at Rancho De San Juan (Ojo Caliente) | Vivace (Albuquerque) | Zea Rotisserie & Grill (Albuquerque) |

Closed in 2011

Cafe Choroni (Albuquerque) | Calico Cantina & Cafe (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) | Casa Chaco (Albuquerque) | Coronado Grill (Bernalillo) | The Cajun Kitchen (Albuquerque) | Evergreen Buffet (Albuquerque) | Fratellis (Rio Rancho) | GoNuts Donuts (Albuquerque) | Guicho’s Authentic Mexican Food (Albuquerque) | Las Mañanitas (Albuquerque) | Los Mayas (Santa Fe) | Matilda’s Restaurant (Española) | McGrath‘s (Albuquerque) | Outlook Cafe (Rio Rancho) | Outpost Bar & Grill (Carrizozo) | Rocco’s Pizzeria (Rio Rancho) | Rodeo Grill (Albuquerque) | Sevyn’s Cafe (Rio Rancho) | Wings N’ Things (Albuquerque) | Yen Ching (Albuquerque) |

Closed in 2010

Barb’s Place (Albuquerque) | Ben & Jerry’s (Albuquerque) | The Black Olive Wine Bar & Grill (Rio Rancho) | Blue Cactus Grill (Albuquerque) | Buckingham Smokehouse (Las Vegas, Nevada) The Burrito Wagon (Taos) | Charcoal Mediterranean Grill (Albuquerque) | Chef Jim White’s Cafe & Catering (Albuquerque) | Dahlia’s Central Mexican Cuisine (Rio Rancho) | Duke’s Steakhouse (Albuquerque) | Gypsy 360 Cafe & Espresso Bar (Arroyo Seco) | Honnell’s Late Nite Burger (Santa Fe) | Independence Grill (Albuquerque) | Japengo Sushi (Albuquerque) | JB’s Family Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Joseph’s Table (Taos) | Lamy Station Cafe (Lamy) | Lotus Cafe (Albuquerque) | Mad Max’s BBQ (Rio Rancho) | Nana’s Trattoria & Pizzeria (Albuquerque) | Noda’s Japanese Cuisine (Rio Rancho) | Perennials Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Porky’s Pride Real Pit Barbecue (Los Ranchos De Albuquerque) | A Taste of Soul (Albuquerque) |

Closed in 2009

505 Southwestern (Albuquerque) | Athens Eclectic Greek (Albuquerque) | Ay Caramba (Albuquerque) | Charlie’s Burgers & Mexican Food (Bernalillo) | The Chili Stop Cafe (Albuquerque) | Hurley’s Cafe, Tea & Bistro (Albuquerque) | Kim’s Vietnamese Gourmet Cuisine (Albuquerque) | Kokopelli’s Restaurant & Cantina (Sandia Park) | La Norteñita (Albuquerque) | Marlene’s (Albuquerque) | Mis Amigos (Albuquerque) | Painted Horse Coffeehouse (Albuquerque) | Quesada’s New Mexican Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Sabroso’s (Albuquerque) | Sunshine Cafe (Albuquerque) | Villa Del Mar (Albuquerque) | Village Grill (Moriarty) |

Closed in 2008

Adelita’s Mexican Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Altitude’s Wine Bar & Restaurant (Red River) | Asado Brazilian Grill (Albuquerque) | Bombay Grill (Albuquerque) | Cafe Milano (Albuquerque) | Cafe Pink (Santa Fe) | Cafe San Estevan (Santa Fe) | Cafe Voila (Albuquerque) | California Baja Grill (Rio Rancho) | Capo’s Bottega Ristorante Italiano (Bernalillo) | Carrabba’s Italian Grill (Albuquerque) | Casa Grande Restaurant (Albuquerque) | The Chili Stop (Albuquerque) | Cloud Cliff Bakery & Cafe (Santa Fe) | Copeland’s (Albuquerque) | La Costa Azul (Albuquerque) | Consetta’s Green Restaurant (Jemez Springs) | The Cup (Albuquerque) | The Cup (Albuquerque) | Dave’s Not Here (Santa Fe) | Deli Mart West (Albuquerque) | Don Yasmany Cuban Restaurant & Bakery (Albuquerque) | Downtown Gourmet (Albuquerque) | Great American Steakhouse (Albuquerque) | Gruet Grille (Albuquerque) | Have Your Cake Bakery & Cafe (Albuquerque) | Hot Diggity (Albuquerque) | Mariscos Culiacan (Albuquerque) |Mediterranean Cafe (Albuquerque) | Neko Sushi (Albuquerque) | The Old House Gastropub (Corrales) | Pastrami & Things (Albuquerque) | Taka Sushi (Albuquerque) | Tawan Thai Cuisine (Rio Rancho) | Thai Basil (Albuquerque) | Tocororo Cafe (Madrid) | Tony Roma’s (Albuquerque) |

Closed in 2007

Ambrozia (Albuquerque) | Asia Restaurant (Albuquerque) | The Blue Dragon (Albuquerque) | Cafe O (Albuquerque) | California Witches (Albuquerque) | Chicago Beef (Albuquerque) | Chilepeños (Sandia Park) | Conrad’s (Albuquerque) | Eurasia Bistro & Sushi Bar (Albuquerque) | The Falls Steakhouse (Albuquerque) | Fil-Am Fast Food Mart (Albuquerque) | Graze (Albuquerque) | Hong Thai (Rio Rancho) | Marco Pollo Charbroiled Chicken (Albuquerque) | Pueblito Mexicano (Bernalillo) | Rice N’ Roll (Bernalillo) | Señor Lucky’s (Santa Fe) | Starky’s (Albuquerque) |

Closed in 2005

Nouveau Noodles (Cedar Crest) |


  • robert

    cant remember name of a punk club in the mid 80’s. seems like it was on edith. like it was in a house. i think i remember 7 seconds playing there. anyone remember what is was called?

  • Ronald Hinshaw

    Does anyone remember the restaurant City Lights which used to be located on Coors and Taylor Ranch in the 90’s when nothing else was around? It’s now a mattress store.

  • Henry

    Wow. This blog is amazing!
    Might you know of a restaurant that was out in the desert in a beautiful old traditional pueblo building? It was within driving-for-dinner distance of Los Alamos, and open during the mid-80’s when I was there. It served traditional Mexican food, but a bit upmarket, and steaks, seafood, etc. there were strolling musicians.

  • Michael Otero

    Hi. Thanks for this blog. I grew up in Abq from 1965 to 1995. I’m in Sydney now. There used to be a local family owned amazing Italian restaurant across from the Highland Theatre. Their sauce, meat balls, Lasagna and everything else was next level. It must have closed in the late 80s or early 90s. The name Lugi’s Place or Lucio’s Place rings a bell. I can’t find any reference online m. Please help my memory.

    • 5/23/21 Villa di Capo, 722 Central SW, closed last night. The co-owning sisters decided to retire after 40 years in business. KRQE covered the closing twice this week.
      Not Going to Scroll Through 100+ Comments, W R

    • Don Limoncelli

      It was probably Lucky’s. It was at 4513 Central NE, a block or two west of, and across the street from, the Highland Theater.

  • Sue T

    What was the name of the 1980’s restaurant/bar located on the NW corner of San Mateo and the street north of Cutler?

    • Senor Frog's or Froggy's

      Wasn’t it something like Senor Frog’s, or Froggy’s or something similar?

      • Captain Tuttle

        As usual you’re right on the money.

        I found an excerpt (below) from an Albuquerque Journal article in October, 2000 which confirms Senor Froggy’s was succeeded by Joker’s Pub at 2509 San Mateo, N.E.

        It’s no joke: Joker’s Pub will be a “neighborhood-style” pub serving jumbo hamburgers, extra-large hot dogs, overstuffed sandwiches and an assortment of crunchy bar food in the former location of Senor Froggy’s and before that, Silviano’s. Senor Froggy’s on San Mateo near Interstate 25 had been closed for more than a year until Jerry Wiley, former owner and manager of Ned’s Restaurant & Bar, thought it would be an ideal location because there is little competition in the area. (Ned’s was sold last spring.)

      • BOTVOLR

        My fuzzy remembrance was wondering (per Froggy) if they tried avoiding a trademark problem with the infamous Senor Frog’s bar/restaurant in Mazatlan which was a ‘must do’ for cruisers doing the Mexican Riviera cruise. [Dee’s Cheesecake Factory facing American Furniture, was ‘trademarked’ and thus is why the CA chain Cheesecake Factory took so long in getting here, i.e. till Dee’s retired/got compensated.] Besides the mega margaritas, wasn’t the “hook” that gals had to unhook (go braless) and wasn’t there a wall of hooks for them in the Mexico one? In any event, it was a devilish place to be in the middle of the day! https://tinyurl.com/tuac9d76

  • Deb Linne

    Does anyone remember the name of a restaurant right by Cliffs amusement park that, during the 1980s, looked straight out of Miami Vice inside? It was two story and very trendy.


      Alas Deb, I didn’t “get into” Miami Vice…LOL! but am thinking you were referring to this place: https://tinyurl.com/hupw6646 which is now a public charter school. “Trendy”? Indeed! ya had to find an excuse to leave work early, especially on Friday, if ya wanted to get a table. I remember you encountered a “prominent” staircase just a tad after entering, up to an area where ya might look down…no pun intended…on the masses. (Hopefully, Gil will come up with the name as I vaguely think he did in the past.)[~ Speaking of horses, just got this https://tinyurl.com/pxrm7jd4 for a G-Daughter’s upcoming B-Day. For the price, enameling/colors are great, but am guessing ya might have to go gingerly with the pin mechanism.]

    • Dale McCan

      It was The Great American Steakhouse. Excellent Steak!

      • Sarita

        The Great American Steakhouse was over on Tramway. This place is on Osuna and San Mateo. Once upon a time, this place was Perennials. I vaguely remember it being some sort of trendy place prior to that, but for the LIFE of me, I cannot remember its name! Definitely wasn’t a steakhouse, though.

    • Rachel

      I believe it was called The Sunset Grill. We used to go there for Sunday brunch.

    • Johnny Dunn

      Nunzios Pizza.

  • Don Limoncelli

    I am doing some genealogy research and someone mentioned one of my relatives owned a restaurant (name unknown – HELP!) which was next to the Keystone Bar across the street from the old Albuquerque High. It closed in the 1960s or 1970s. Any idea what the name of the restaurant was?

  • Brenda

    There was a burger stand on Yale near UNM one block south of the pharmacy that served the most delicious green Chile burgers. This was back in the 70’s and I know it is long since gone but hoping someone remembers the name.


    If ya ever did the Pie Town Cafe or Pie-o-Neer Pies under a different name, I can’t find it. In any event, might ya consider this a tip of the Stetson per its Mom Roots https://www.newmexico.org/things-to-do/cuisine/pie-town/ AND per its CoVid Death https://tinyurl.com/y8u2og44 given it had an apparent good run in Yelp https://tinyurl.com/y8cw8yk7

    • Alas Roberto, my last visit to Pie Town predated Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog. I always assumed it would be there the next time I traversed I-60 to Arizona. My loss. Pie-O-Neer Pies was legendary, one of the most famous eateries in New Mexico. Did you ever visit?

  • Franz-Erik

    I probably don’t belong here but searching for an answer to my question brought me to this place so …. what the hell. I lived in Albuquerque until 1975. I used to hang out at Leo’s Larroc and Ned’s El Portal. The bands changed often at Leo’s but there was a house band at Ned’s. There were only 3 (maybe 4?) members of that band and the singer had a rusty voice. When he felt the guests were not listening to their music he would do a little spontaneous tune and the lyrics ridiculed the people in the place just to see who was paying attention. Does anyone remember those guys? What was the name of that band or who was the lead singer?


      Yo Franz-Erik,
      Indeed…”another time”! Alas, as it was rumored Ned’s popularity made it sooo busy at noon, I never ventured per being a newbie in a “career”. Be that as it may, I have no idea who your house band was lest it was overshadowed in that era by e.g. Al Hurricane…and then there were the Wickam Brothers of Corrales, Roberto Griego, and the like…a different genre I’d think…LOL My quick Google peek pictured Folks like https://tinyurl.com/y6sswdgd as having visited Ned’s, but maybe they were after your time.
      Elsewise, consider emailing/calling  http://www.newmexicomusic.org/ or, better yet, its First/Founding Commissioner who is KOAT’s iconic Crime Reporter of many years, Nancy Laflin at nlaflin@hearst.com
      Perhaps, ya might check for further linkages here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_New_Mexico, albeit it is not inclusive.

      • Patty

        Maybe it was “0ff the Wall”
        A regular Neds band at the time
        Loved there music and personalities
        Lead singers name was Jeff.

    • Hello Franz-Erik

      Here’s a short blurb from an article I found online:

      There was a time when music lovers in Albuquerque, N.M could wander over to Ned’s El Portal and, even without benefit of a marquee listing as a hole card, successfully wager that The Planets would be providing the rock and roll inside. The Planets—Steve Morelock, Denise Brissey, John Weston Harris, Davis McLarty, Debbie Blakley and Joe Don Davidson— were a house band. Attempts to branch out were thwarted when an Austin gig was canceled because the club’s ownership changed hands, and again when California hotel executives discovered the band they’d hired had no intention of playing disco.

      So the band kept playing at Ned’s: expanding its repertoire, getting tighter, growing more comfortable on stage. And it paid off.

      The first thing The Planets discovered when playing new stages was that, even without a recording contract or media hype, it could still draw huge crowds solely on the strength of word-of-mouth publicity. In short, audiences spread the word. And the first thing those audiences discovered was that The Planets cared enough to provide a concert atmosphere in a club setting. After all, this band not only played exciting, involving rock, it also carried its own sound and light systems— and (get this) even took the time to personally program the break music played between sets.

      As a result, the band has skyrocketed in popularity. It’s only natural to expect a record label to wise up and get the band’s name down on a dotted line before long but, according to band founder Morelock, the musicians still recognize their weaknesses as well as their strengths. No one, he indicated, is going to collapse with frustration if the dreams don’t come true this year.

      On a surprisingly hot Sunday afternoon, a few Planets had gathered at McLarty’s family home in Lubbock, obviously still trying to put together the pieces of the night before. The Planets had played its third straight gig at Rox the night before, stopping the music at 2 a.m. but continuing to party elsewhere until who knows when. Drummer McLarty and bassist Harris had just finished a 5 p.m. ‘burger breakfast, but Morelock appeared too pooped to handle anything more nutritious than a cigarette.

      Still, though McLarty joked “we’re just waiting for a record company to give us a quarter of a million dollars and say Go to it,”‘ Morelock had the presence of mind to elaborate. “We may not be completely ready,” he said. “Not ready in regards to our image. Not ready as far as being sure of what we want to portray on stage. See, things would change a lot if we were only playing 45 minutes or an hour on stage each night. . .We also don’t have much studio experience.”

      Morelock’s opinions must be respected. It is, after all, his band, having originated The Planets in early 1975 from a diverse musical segment. Vocalist Denise Brissey was a lounge singer. As she put it, “I always wanted to sing torch songs. You know, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday.” Debbie Blakley had a country music background. Lead guitarist Davidson was working with a Las Vegas-based country show band. Somehow, Morelock managed to see the complimentary angles in all these musicians and molded them together into a thrilling, sincere and seemingly spontaneous rock and roll band. Asked, however, how it was decided to carry two female vocalists, he said, Denise was with us first, but she was still unsure as to whether she wanted to sing rock and roll. So she quit the band. Debbie joined us then but two weeks later she got violently ill. So with our tails between our legs, we went back to Denise and asked her to play with us again. It worked out better. Then everybody that was used to seeing us kept saying they missed Denise, and Debbie sang so well, that we just decided to keep both of them.” McLarty then quipped, “But we still don’t do any songs by Heart (a rock band helmed by Ann and Nancy Wilson).”

      Despite the number of fans, The Planets still harbor mixed feelings about their home base, though. Morelock indicated, Albuquerque was good for us starting out; I don’t know how it would be with other bands. When we first started playing therein there weren’t too many clubs. Since then, a lot of clubs have become rock and roll clubs.” But McLarty interjected, “Yeah, but instead of being discos, all the live music clubs are Top Forty bands. None of the clubs has a cover chargers and people just bar hop.”

      “The bands are all just interchangeable in Albuquerque. So we don’t play there as much as we used to.”

      Asked if The Planets had been taken for granted in Albuquerque, having been so easily accessible for so long, McLarty said, “Maybe at one time. Now that we’re not playing there as much, people are starting to appreciate us more and more. But see, it was only six months ago that people could see us there five or six nights a week, two weeks a month, and for nothing! ” Bassist John Harris then volunteered, “I think our being taken for granted is just a comment on Albuquerque. Those people there are just so spoiled. It’s the only town I know of where 350,000 people can all go hear free music.”

      His feelings are no doubt shaped by the fact that an across the boards “no cover charge” policy groups bands as equals, despite the fact The Planets supply club audiences with better shows than many provided by name bands in major halls. McLarty said, “When people come see us in a bar, we want them to leave thinking they’ve been to a small concert.” That image is maintained not only through the tight music and theatrical visuals supplied by Miss Brissey—whom McLarty describes as “just gonzo, full tilt, wild and zany, off the wall”— but also through the undeniable talents of stage manager Scott Trujillo, lighting coordinator Curt Jaeckel and especially band member and sound man John Cline.

      That the band carries the extra equipment and personnel along on each booking is not only expensive, it’s practically unheard of on the club circuit. Indeed, a member of the Joe Ely Band recently expressed astonishment at the sheer weight of equipment carried by The Planets, inspiring McLarty to reason, “Well they’re in a position, with a record deal and three albums that they can just tell a club, ‘We want a thousand bucks, lights and a good PA system.

      “We have to have our own sound system. I mean, it would ease things is we had a record deal, too. our price would go up. Right now, to afford lights, we’re barely making it. But it’s an extravagance we feel will pay off.”

      The band’s present goals are no loftier than college bookings and the establishment of what McLarty terms a Southwest Circuit. The drummer elaborated, “What we’re really trying to do is play New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Arizona. We want to find good rooms in cities there, and do a Southwest Circuit of showcase clubs. It’s just a matter of finding the right club, then getting into the area so we can get our name known and draw.

      “It may take a while. . .Hopefully, we’ll be able to play Texas cities like Austin, Dallas and Houston in November, and get into Phoenix or Tucson in December. The record deal will come when it comes. “Really, I feel that to get a record deal in 1979, you’ve got to be able to offer a hit single. Record companies aren’t going to invest in you unless they can get their money back with a hit. Unless you have really heavy duty management, anyway. And, like Steve said, we don’t have much studio experience. We’ve got a lot of tape, and we’re toying with the idea of a regional album. But we have to play five days a week to make a living, and there’s not much time or money to invest in spending $50 to $60 per hour for studio time.”

      Pondering a moment, he added, “We may be able to do it with private investors, cut an album and release maybe 5,000 copies. That’s really the way to do it, to be able to go to a record company and say, ‘These are the clubs we’ve played, these are the reviews we got and this is how many LPs we’ve sold. Then maybe you can click on the regional thing. Like Heart: their album was a local album that caught on.”

      With or without a record, though, The Planets are still drawing both the dance crowd and the many who just like to sit back and listen to good rock. “It’s a happy medium,” said Morelock, who supplies the brunt of the original material. Even our cover versions, though, have our sound. We do more obscure songs. And the fact we have two girl singers singing songs that were recorded by guys makes it our sound, too. Anyway, that’s part of our appeal, and that’s enough for now. I mean, I don’t want you to get the impression we are dissatisfied just because we haven’t been picked up (by a record company) yet.

      We are not dissatisfied. We all enjoy what we’re doing. I don’t think even one of us is bummed out. Like last night at Carlo’s (Carlo Campanelli’s Rox); a lot of people showed up to hear us, we played our (rear ends) off and everybody had a good time. As long as we can do that, well, we can’t ask for much more than that.”

      Rest assured, though, both the band and the fans must expect much more than that. Morelock’s creation already stands well above club band status. Given more exposure—and the luck that comes with being in the right place at the right time— The Planets could wind up stars.

      More on Planets

      The Planets will play at Phi Kappa Psi’s Fandango here Friday, then take off to play Saturday night at Eastern New Mexico University’s homecoming in Portales, N.M. The band’s next Lubbock appearance is slated for Oct. 22-23 at Rox.

      REO Speedwagon dropped by the Rox Monday night and, after graciously being loaned instruments by The Planets, proceeded to take the stage for three songs.

      (Lubbock Avalanche Journal – September 30, 1979)

    • Tom Wolfe

      Jackson Kane

    • Don Limoncelli

      You might be thinking of The Planets: Steve Morelock, Denise Brissey, John Weston Harris, Davis McLarty, Debbie Blakley and Joe Don Davidson.

  • Are we really not going to touch this?!?!

    W R Turck lobbed a softball (RE: Gil’s credibility), and no one is going to swing?

    I was thinking of saying something like “Compromised his credibility? That’s like saying you’ve compromised the dam that is already leaking.” 🙂

    BTW – before those of you that don’t know me get too excited, I am only joking, and I know that Gil takes it as such…but if you feel you must respond, go ahead, I can take it!

    • Thank you, good Captain. I took the fact that only Becky and Bob rose to the defense of my credibility as an indication that over the years readers have come to trust me and believe I’m a pretty credible guy. I’m so straight-laced that you can trust me with your money, your dog, your car…basically everything but a slice of pizza I might abscond with when your back is turned.

  • Becky Mercuri

    Hi Gil:

    To answer your questions: It just took me all of two seconds to scroll down to the reply box here – via the vertical scroll bar – so I don’t see it as an issue.

    With respect to showing a particular location of a multi-location eatery as closed in “Gone But Not Forgotten” , I agree that it could easily lead people to think the entire business had closed. It’s always advisable to check any business for hours and locations before venturing out, especially given the current challenges. That’s easily and quickly done by clicking on your link(s) to the restaurant’s web site or Facebook page – and maybe even a phone call to confirm the same.

    I appreciate your efforts to avoid causing harm to any food business whether by misleading posts or critical commentary. These are real people trying to earn a living and what may be “good eats” for one person may not be to the taste of another. If the food is not generally acceptable, they will basically put themselves out of business.

  • Gil, I think you have compromised your credibility by not having Pollitos Con Papas 2 and Amore Pizza, Central SW location (as noted by BOTVOLR the “Closed But Not Forgotten” list.
    And, is there a simple way to leave a Reply father is than Scrolling through all the Postings to get to the Reply box ?

    • I would rather compromise my integrity than harm any restaurant’s business–especially during these challenging times.

      Several years ago, one restaurant from among a family of a half-dozen local restaurants of the same name closed down and I listed it on the “Gone But Not Forgotten” page. Not long thereafter, the restaurant owner asked me to remove the closed listing–even though it specifically noted that only one of the six restaurants of the same name had closed. Apparently some readers assumed ALL the restaurants of the same name had closed. There’s no telling how much business the restaurant lost in the interim.

      Unfortunately there’s no way to prevent readers from having to scroll through all comments to get to the reply box. There is a comment display rule I can change if readers request it. Right now comment are broken into pages with 50 top-level comments per page and the last page displayed by default. A top-level comment can have numerous responses which means instead of 50 comments, there may actually be 200 or more total comments displayed. Bob, Becky, Tom, what thinkest thou?

  • OHM

    Is there an entry for the restaurant pictured in the photo at the top of the page?

  • E. M.

    Anybody remember a Pizza and Italian place on the West side called Frank’s Pizza? I think it was near Old Coors and Central. Maybe 60s/70s even before.

  • Andres

    Anyone have any information on the Atom Cafe in Albuquerque?

    • Art

      See attached screenshot from page 17 of the 26 Sep 1953 Albuquerque Journal. That was way before my time, but maybe BOTVOLR would remember it.

    • As I can’t figure out, how-to ask this separately,what N.M. restaurants have gone out of business due to Covid 19 ? The N.M. Restaurant Association says there are 200+ restaurants in this category. Gil, PLEASE provide a list.

      • I’ve contacted the New Mexico Restaurant Association (NMRA) and asked for the list of more than 200 restaurants that have closed permanently, but have not heard back. The NMRA certainly has more resources than I do to keep track of closures, but no such list is published on their website or blog (I’ve checked). Should the NMRA provide the list, I’ll publish it. In the meantime, anyone who knows of a permanent closure is welcome to let me know.

        By the way, your email address (not published to protect your privacy) is one of the most clever and telling I’ve seen. I’d love to hear more about your passion for chile.

        • Hi Gil, My 6/2 email to the Restaurant Association got no response, so I just called them. According to Terry ( female ) they have no.list of the 200+ N.M. restaurants that have gone out of business due to Covid 19. ( I told Terry you had contacted them. )
          As to my email address, which has the Official N.M
          State question “red or green”, it is my way of being creative. If you email me with an option for a phone response I’ll tell you the whole story.
          I like spicy food. As I eat my way around the world, without leaving North America, I find that Thai food is hotter than New Mexican food.

          • Gil, your noting that Pollito Con Papas 2, 3200 Central SE,, closed led me to Patio Dining at their 6105 Gibson SE location today. ( Gil, please add Pollito Com Papas 2 to the Gone But Not Forgotten List- Above.)

        • Amy McPherson

          Do you by chance, remember the name of the little cinderblock building that only had a walk up window and drive thru and only served burritos? It was on the corner of San Pedro and Lomas Blvd NE. Pic of it closed down, has been attached.

      • BOTVOLR

        Alas, RE Closing:
        KOB notes Amore Pizza’s SW Central location ONLY, is closing up due to ART/CoVid https://tinyurl.com/yaj8wefu. The report says staff were spared per transferring to the newly opened Tin Can Alley location while their website indicates they continue being at Green Jeans as well.

        • Muchas gracias, Roberto. That Central Avenue location seems to suffer from insufficient parking. Not very long ago Five Star Burgers also vacated that complex.

          • BOTVOLR

            While writing EDO had a kinda certain cachet for a while, I don’t think much came of its revitalization. I’m not sure writing WDO really caught on. Alas, must admit those couple of blocks were starting to look spiffy…myself can’t but wonder its outcome…altho I wish them well. Wonder if the Gal of Vinaigrette, who was really and publicly down about the effect of ART has perked up. All in All, hope they all can take some “heart”…as in https://tinyurl.com/y8j2f2nr And then, take more heart from…are ya ready for this?…the getting closer to the 70 yo existence of The Dog House through thick n thin…integration/Roosevelt Park n UNM riots/depressions/etc. since the mid-’50s! Don’t know what its worse challenge has been, e.g. losing 1/2 their parking lot for several months in the past, this Dude with his sawed-off shotgun https://tinyurl.com/ychysmtj or ART’s No-Left-Turn Curb in the center of Route 66! 
            [BTW and Yup! Before anyone asks, I’ve had my 599th Footlong (NM Red) ChileCheese Dog with onions/Best Fries/& Orange Drink in my car when inside-service was closed several days ago.]

  • Eric Robinson

    This is going to sound crazy, but was there a pizza place in the 80’s or 90’s that was like, in a small tower, and the pizza came down a glass or plastic pipe?

    • This article (circa 1990s) from the Washington Post may describe the pizza place you’re asking about: “In Albuquerque, N.M., diners can order pizza on a TV monitor at Nunzio’s drive-through restaurant. Sixty seconds later, a pie shoots down a pneumatic chute.”

      Nunzio’s was the forerunner of Saggio’s.

      • Becky Mercuri

        Gil, I get a kick out of looking at old photos of the weird, often food-shaped, restaurants that historically characterized the American landscape so I was curious about what Nunzio’s looked like. Here’s a photo of it:

        Nunzio’s Express Photos

        And there’s an article about it here that refers to Nunzio’s as “Mystic Pizza” – not to be confused with the movie of the same name:

        Article about Nunzio’s “Mystic Pizza”

        • BOTVOLR

          Whoa! Thanks for the Nunzio pic! Can’t believe I never ran across that so modernistic structure. Must’ve been asleep under a cactus.

  • Susan D.

    Does anyone remember the name of a steakhouse on the south side of Menaul between Wyoming and Eubank in the 70s and 80s that had individual rooms for dining? The food and experience were awesome!

    • Georgouse Jimmy (don't confuse me with the wrestler Georgous George)

      I don’t know about the awesome experience but I can’t think of any place except Ponderosa ( Bonanza. Not being a great steak lover I actually liked their tiny steaks but seldom went there.

    • Could it have been Stewart Anderson’s Big Valley Ranch Company whose address was in the area you mentioned? It was mentioned in a 1986 New York Times article: “The best buy has to be Stewart Anderson’s Big Valley Ranch Company, 8904 Menaul Boulevard N.E. (505-299-9517; 4:30 P.M. to midnight every day). It offers a huge prime rib of beef with selections from an extensive salad bar, all for $6.95. 8904 Menaul Boulevard N.E.”


      Interesting question Susan, as I lived down near Kaseman in that era, but for the life of me, I don’t remember one such venue as that. On the other hand, the facades of HoLoMa, Los Cuates, a vacant bank, etc. at least look like places that might have been, altho I can’t recall how long they’ve been “up”. 
      Elsewise, I always thought the Black Angus, just south of Menaul on Wyoming, when it first opened, had “little rooms” as per the tinted, floor-to-ceiling, glassed-in booths it had! LOL
      Eh, let’s not forget the Spaghetti Machine about across the street with its “nouveauly” hip ambiance of on-the-wall/on-the-ceiling decor!
      Please let us know if ya ever come up with it, so I can have an “Oh ya!” experience.

  • dave

    what was the name of Norm Ellenburgers place on Central?

    • Though he didn’t own it Ellenberger was a habitue of the iconic Ned’s El Portal. Here’s an excerpt from a column by the great Joline Gutierrez Krueger of the Albuquerque Journal:

      “I was not yet a Lobo, nor a college hoops fan. I had never attended a game, never saw him in his element, either in The Pit or at Ned’s, a wild watering hole that in its heyday attracted the movers, shakers and snorters of the city. Ellenberger, flashy and famous, had his own table there, had his own sandwich: the “Stormin’ Norman,” a meaty melange of turkey, ham, pastrami, green chile, Swiss and cheddar.”

      Ned’s was owned for nearly four decades by Adele Gattas who passed away in 2013. Ned’s El Portal was destroyed by fire in 1983, but rebuilt at another location.

      Ned’s also figured prominently in a tragic event in Lobo history. It was the site of the 1981 murder of former Lobo guard Gabe Nava who played for Ellenberger’s first team back in 1972.

  • Richard Zimmerly

    The Cooperage Restaurant building was originally built for a local company that was offering upscale burgers. They built 2 buildings the one at Lomas and Louisiana and another down some where on west Central around 14th st. Does anyone remember the name of this restaurant?


      Wasn’t it the Cooperage Folks who were the fine dining in the ’90s in what is now the Boxing Bear nestled in Las Tiendas del Corrales Center of Alameda-528/Corrales Rd? (or did I screw that up again…LOL)

  • Jeff

    What was the name of the restaurant/bar in Far North Shopping Center (north end in what is now the Dollar Store) that served amazing turkey enchiladas in the late 1990’s. They had a second location on Ladera just off of Coors.

    • Sarita

      I never had their food, Jeff (Went for a couple of work happy hours), but it sounds like you’re thinking of The Gin Mill.


      Happy Hour Sarita: You are Right On! According to an article in the AJ https://tinyurl.com/uqq9wkv and lest one can’t access it:
      It opened Dec. 18, 1982 and closed March 31, 2006 and was owned by Tom Philbin who decided it was time to move on and do something else when the lease expired. Indeed, it was apparently noted for its Turkey Enchilada and a “Cheers” like atmosphere. A Gin Mill restaurant on the West Side, unrelated to Philbin’s business, closed in September 2004.
      Anyone recall a possible “neighborhood” bar in the corner of the “L” of Fair Plaza circa the ’70s?

      • Janet

        Wine Cellar. Great place to go after a day at the horse races!

        • Thank you, Janet. Wine Cellar was a GREAT place to listen to music after a hard day’s work. My Air Force colleagues and I practically lived there on weekends.

        • BOTVOLR

          GR8 Janet…Thanks! Along the western edge of the parking lot was a Smith’s within which someone seemed to have a “contracted grill”…i.e. I don’t think it was in other Smith’s. Anyway, the griller made some kind of grilled sandwich that I can not describe…LOL, but recall it being one of the most addictive sandwiches I ever had.  Might some “tippler” from the Wine Cellar have stumbled in by chance and had “one”?!

  • J Cool

    TD’s on Eubank started out as Applegate’s Landing. Can someone help me remember what it was in between?

  • Sarah

    I am trying to remember the restaurant that was at the corner of Central and Rio Grande Blvd in old town. They were there 25 years until the late 90’s. Served Italian cuisine> Manny was the owner chef, he died family hung in for a while longer. Loved that place! What was the name?


      Alas Sarah: I kept seeing letters like “Sca” “Scra” in my memory…in wrought iron on their fencing!!! Alas, it turned out to be “Apodaca”but on top of the roof https://tinyurl.com/uaabzv8! Alas, not Italian in my Profiler’s Manual. Tried to check several of my sources to no avail and called the Old Town Pizza Parlor, but alas, the owner couldn’t recall! My memory was per the ‘nicho’ of rooms for dining. Be sure to let us know if you get the name.
      Elsewise on Rio Grande…of that era…were delicious, but staid Maria Teresa, now an ‘event center’ for Hotel ABQ; Las Mananita’s https://tinyurl.com/w4ancpc and El or Al Monte, now a business office.Just for fun…just south of that “Italian place”, across Route 66, take Rio Grande to take a right on New York and the left on Gallup to this oddity: https://tinyurl.com/v7rjwfj aka, a real Shoe Tree and the only one in ABQ to the best of my knowledge. (Alas, I know some are moaning What is the relationship to a Foodie Blog?…Chefs often liken Folks asking for their steak being ‘well done’ as they might as well order ‘shoe leather’.)

    • Suzanne

      Schmirols that nit the right spelling though (Lol)

    • Suzanne

      It was Manny and his wife Louisa … Smirrolls maybe?

      • Hi Suzanne

        You have an amazing memory! The restaurant was called Smiroll’s International Cuisine. It was located at 108 Rio Grande, N.W. (where the Old Town Pizza Parlor is currently situated). Smiroll’s was owned and operated by Rene and Louise Smeraglia.

        Smiroll’s operated at the Old Town location from 1974 to 2000. After Smiroll’s closed, Ambrozia took its place and operated at that location until the Old Town Pizza Parlor replaced it in 2009.

        By the way, 108 Rio Grande, N.W. was also home to John P. and Frances Apodaca who owned and operated the Old Town Chile Parlor for about four decades. That location has quite a legacy.

        In 1983 New York Times visited Albuquerque in 1983 and had nothing but praise for Smiroll’s: The diner in Albuquerque will have no problem if his or her taste runs to Mexican (more properly New Mexican) cuisine. But if the tongue becomes too burned, respite can be had at restaurants like Smiroll’s International Cuisine (108 Rio Grande N.W.; 505-242-9996) on the edge of Old Town, where the chef prepares a wonderful scaloppini Marsala ($11.95). Smiroll’s, where decor takes distant second to food (the walls are covered with crayon renderings of Italian street scenes), is one of many small restaurants in the city that have gotten a second wind since the granting of beer and wine licenses.

        On October 5, 1990, the Albuquerque Journal gave Smiroll’s a glowing review, waxing especially poetic about the squid.

        • Mondie

          Shanty seafood restaurant on eubank picture please

        • Pina

          Gil, I am so happy I found your site while looking for something about Smiroll’s. I have a wonderful memory of that place. In 1977, my fiancee and I were en route through Albuquerque, on our move from Phoenix to Denver. All we owned was in our ’69 Buick LeSabre. I was recovering from a protracted stomach ailment and hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours. It was around 930pm, and we were having a hard time finding a meal in Albuquerque at that hour. The sign for Smiroll’s was still lit. We went to the wooden door and knocked. A small woman with dark hair in a chignon appeared and said they were closed. My fiancee told her I very much needed to eat, and asked if there was anything easy for her to serve, already made. She said, “Come in—I have nice soup and bread for you.” She served us a soup that was so cozy and homemade-tasting that I can still remember how it sat on the tongue. She was so kind and caring, and we were just so thankful. On the way out she gave us a pink business card with a very amusing little essay on the back titled “Why Worry?”. I carried that card for almost twenty years, till it was in shreds and partly unreadable. But I never, ever forgot that soup, the owner, and her beacon of kindness on an Albuquerque night.

          • Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience at Smiroll’s. In this very cynical age, it’s heart-warming to be reminded how kind and gracious people can be.

          • BOTVOLR

            Yo Pina…Great Story! Gives new meaning to ‘Mi Casa es Su Casa!’
            I can’t affirm the Senorita’s soup, but an Italian friend who tried to open a bistro in Boulder City in the ’90s, introduced me to Italian Wedding Soup which amazed me and more so that I hadn’t already had it in my life…LOL

            Elsewise, hope this helps and that perhaps you might find a phrasing in this song https://tinyurl.com/nha2qmz matching her pink business card:
            Baby, I see this world has made you sad
            Some people can be bad
            The things they do, the things they say
            But baby, I’ll wipe away those bitter tears
            I’ll chase away those restless fears
            And turn your blue skies into gray
            Why worry
            There should be laughter after pain
            There should be sunshine after rain
            These things have always been the same
            So why worry now
            Why worry now
            Baby, when I get down I turn to you
            And you make sense of what I do
            And though it isn’t hard to say
            But baby, just when this world seems mean and cold
            Our love comes shining red and gold
            And all the rest is by the way
            Why worry
            There should be laughter after pain
            There should be sunshine after rain
            These things have always been the same
            So why worry now
            Why worry now

            • Roberto Del Pueblo De Los Ranchos

              Is it any wonder I admire and respect you so much. The song “Why Worry” is one of my very favorites, but not necessarily the Dire Straits version. Listen to this version by Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits front man) and EmmyLou Harris and let me know what you think. EmmyLou’s angelic voice adds a hauntingly expressive tone to an absolutely beautiful song. “Why Worry” is one of my personal life anthems.


              • bot

                Alas, you stimulate some weird reflections that lead to extraneous monologues! At times I feel like Rip Van Winkle. If truth be told, I’m pretty sure I’ve never known either version or may have heard it but hadn’t listened. Indeed Emmylou and Mark’s duet is a great version of vocal blending. Otherwise, I’d never heard of Mark n Dire Straits…even tho they sold over 100 million!…as I wasn’t into “Rock” of that era. Elsewise, the Resonator guitar caught my eye as it reminded me of the days of the informal group of BlueGrassers who were relished a few years ago as they’d gather weekly for ‘complimentary’ playing at the old Rub n Wood BBQ in RR. In addition, that DS’s site had some interesting  (e.g. their version was 8.31 minutes which is known as an ‘astronomical unit’ per being the time it takes for light to travel from the sun to earth!) as well as many poignant comments which reminded me of my late Vieja prophetically extracting a promise that I play Roger Whittaker’s The Last Farewell at her graveside service someday under threat she’d come down randomly to pull my toes while I slept.
                Say RE ‘worry’: Ain’t it a tad contronymic being a motivator or a restrainer?
                And lastly, let us not overlook: https://tinyurl.com/yybjquaf

              • Roger Whittaker’s rendition of The Last Farewell is one of my favorite 70s songs. Your wife had a beautiful soul!

      • BOTVOLR

        OMG Suzanne…Thank you sooo much as well as Gil for solving the Name mystery!
        Alas, t’is kinda a shame what I remember from college. My first year, a prof, during his first class, wrote on thing called a ‘blackboard’ in chalk  PHENYLPYRUVIC OLIGOPHRENIA, and said that, if nothing else, we would always remember that from our time of learning. I.e. a case in point! He also gave us an erstwhile tip that I momentarily forget regarding Smiroll’s. Pardon the extrapolation of this  https://tinyurl.com/sb458g6  …if ya don’t understand what you’re reading in the assignments—> Turn the page! I.e. check out Gil’s previous review of Old Town Pizza Parlor!
        And now I’m left with trying to remember who I found out has Apodaca roots when questioning acquaintances about the name of Smiroll’s!!! LOL

  • Donna Ryan

    Hello, hope you can help me. This is a little off-base, but I’m looking for the name of a country western saloon/bar that was outside of Santa Fe, Surviving in the early 70s, but I think it burned down. It had live music, and the wooden floor was just built over dirt so when you dancced clouds of dirt would puff up from the floor! I know it’s a long shot, but you seem to have a pretty good handle on history! if you don’t know, can you point me to someone or somewhere where I might find that information? Thanks, Donna

  • chris

    any one recall motana mining company on san mateo

  • Pamela Benge

    What was the “boxed lunch” sandwich place at Coronado Mall in the 1990s?

    • Pete Dinelli, a a former Albuquerque City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer, recently wrote a brief history of ABQ Uptown. His very enlightening and memory-triggering look back mentions the restaurants he remembers in both the Coronado and Winrock Malls. Here are some restaurant highlights:

      In 1951, Hoffmantown Shopping Center, located at 8200 Menaul Blvd NE and on the SW corner of Wyoming was built by residential home developer Sam Hoffman. Over the years, many businesses have come and gone at the shopping center. One very popular restaurant was “Charlies Back Door” and “Charlies Front Door”

      Originally, in 1965 Coronado Mall was an open air shopping center with the major anchor stores of Sears and Rhodes Department Stores. At the center of the Coronado open air mall was a fountain with the sculpture entitled “Coronado’s March” consisting of a line of soldiers, horses and pack animals. A Wyatts Cafeteria and VIP’s Big Boy were also located at Coronado Shopping Center at one time when the mall was eventually enclosed. “Chelsea Street Pub” was located at the North West Entrance of Coronado Shopping Center with both a mall entrance and an outside mall entrance to be used after regular mall hours to go and eat and drink.

      Since the mid 1960’s a restaurant has been located on the Southeast corner of Louisiana and Menaul, across from Coronado Shopping Center. The first restaurant at that location was a “Sambo’s”, followed by a Denny’s and in 2013 a “Chipotle” fast food restaurant was opened with an adjoining dental clinic.

      When WINROCK first opened as an “open air mall”, Diamond Jim’s Restaurant was directly South of the West Side entrance of the mall and before you actually went into the mall as you ascended op thw walkway with a “food booth”.

      Where the Gardunio’s of New Mexico Restaurant now sits on the WINROCK property was “Farrel’s Ice Cream Shop” which opened in the mid 1970’s.

      Pete’s recap doesn’t specifically call out a “boxed lunch” sandwich place, but it does provide a rather nostalgic reflection on one of the city’s burgeoning hubs. Perhaps BOTVOLR, Roland, Bill Resnik or some other long-time Duke City resident may be able to shed more light on that sandwich shop you’re looking for.

      • BOTVOLR

        Yo, “boxed lunches” sounds familiar, but I can’t bring it into focus….*^&*%$#^ !
        But since ya brought it up….
        Alas, in Hoffmantown Center, there was one of the first Schlotsky’s in the City and it might have been one of the firsts of their expansion/franchising. The Pen & Pad was a precursor of Staples/Office Max etc.
        Just south of Hoffmantown, the Spaghetti Machine was built on Wyoming which I think was one of the original restaurants that went all out in decorating the walls (n rafters) with a lot of funky stuff. And who can forget, going West…a few blocks past Rowland’s Nursery on Menaul where you could then get a single slice of Heidi’s Pies for $2+(?)…W T Eh! were those prices all about…at the time?
        Coronado Center: On the east side, Fremont’s was a store with sundry gourmet items, e.g. a tube with a vanilla bean for 5 bucks. Apparently per rent increases, it moved to the moderne complex of Kistler-Collister with the yucca at Menaul and San Mateo and then to a spot where a lot of turn-overs still exist on Fourth at Ranchitos. I’m thinking the locale, the waning time Moms had for cooking, and the owner’s age done did it in. BTW, there used to be a popular “lounge” for New Mexican dancing in that corner of the complex.

        While it was decent that “Coronado’s March” was kept, given the relevance to the name of the mall, I always felt it was forlornly shunted aside when they roofed the place and it was not given a more “regal” backdrop as previously: http://tinyurl.com/yyqjg7oc
        OMG, old Coronado had a sliver of a space for an Orange Julius with its most yummy of cheeseburgers per dripping into the plastic baskets that held the great fries! and, I swear, a tiny Chica-fil-A(?) or was it a KFC with great chicken sliders that beat today’s version.

        Winrock: The “Main” entrance http://tinyurl.com/y2962bud (click the pic) is at the angle of the L and close to my remembrance of where Diamond Jim’s was. I swear, lest a memory of LA, there was a gal, maybe Pete’s Mom(?) Rose, who swung in a red velvet swing hanging from the ceiling…it was fine dining as well as was the aforementioned Maria Teresa’s in Olde Town. Oops Pete, ya forgot there was also the original location of the Japanese Kitchen thereabouts which later moved across the street.

        RE the noted Marriott hotel: in the ’90s there was (for a hotel) a most eloquent dining experience named Nicole’s.

        Whoa, ya left out a classic feature of the Classic Hotel of the Maloof’s…the Sunday Brunch with the playing of the organ http://tinyurl.com/yytr3xuf from the classic Roxy Theater of NYC http://tinyurl.com/y6oaj9ra The brother of George Sr. was a collector and built a two story addition to the vintage house he bought when all moved to Las Vegas, NV to build The Fiesta Casino/Hotel and then The Palms. His addition was to accommodate the organs being played/viewed in grand style, e.g. it included a balcony! After the premier “opening reception”, there was nothing like being treated to Phil’s second love, an In-n-Out Burger!!!
        Speaking of the Roxy, a fine dining place was built on “outer” Montgomery named… The Roxy. Besides its uniqueness of a decor of Art Deco, it had, albeit separate, a nicho for a combo and small dance floor…e.g. reminiscent of the “supper clubs” of days of yore. These were different from “Ballrooms” with Big Bands http://tinyurl.com/c3wwfv6 in that while you dined you could also dance between courses http://tinyurl.com/y2qol6h9
        Bottom line RE ’70s-’90s of ABQ? Back in those days reservations or standing in line were the norm as there weren’t that many casual or fine dining joynts. Today our burden is great dining options dying out per too many joynts…fine or casual…competing for our patronage along with home delivery and meals-by-UPS/USPS.
        “Chow!” as we Non-Italians might say after leaving Joe’s Pasta House, Trombino’s, Pizza Hut, etc!
        PS (Yes, that was Orson Wells in the Stork Club…LOL)

      • Roland

        In Winrock, I vaguely remember a French restaurant back by the southeast doors (by the old “Monkey Wards”) where you could get good carryout croissant sandwiches and salads, but cannot remember if they were presented in a box style carryout or not. It was across the hall from Strombergs. As I recall, the food was pretty good. There was also an “old fashioned soda fountain ” style diner at the southwest end of the Main entrance just north of the White Winrock Inn. They had GREAT hot fudge sundaes with all of the fixins’.

        In Coronado, I remember the Steaksmith. It was a destination for college students “Fine Dining Experience” in its day. If we saved our pennies, we would go there to celebrate. We thought the food was great…compared to the dining halls in Hokona and Mesa Vista at the time, it probably was.

        On a more contemporary note, I see that Pizza Castle has moved back across the street on Eubank to the new facility that used to house Pizza 9. It appears that Pizza 9 has closed or sold both of its locations on Eubank. I remember the “little castle” that used to be the original Pizza Castle store on the north side of Eubank many, many years ago. I am showing my age again.

      • Joan

        In the mid to late 1980’s there was a family run restaurant on Wyoming almost or on the corner with Montgomery. Great NM food including the chicken flautas and the desserts, natillas, capirotada, etc. Does anyone remember the name? Thank you!

        • Hi Joan

          Do you remember on what corner of Wyoming and Montgomery the restaurant was located back in the 1980s? Today, for example, the southwest corner occupant is Taco Cabana while Walgreens occupies the southeast corner, a Buffalo Wild Wings place is on the northeast corner and a Wells Fargo Bank is on the northwest corner.

        • Handsome Young Jimmy

          I am pretty sure that it was Eloy’s which had moved up from what is now the location of Ortega’s. The Acre now occupies Eloy’s old bar area. After Eloy died the restaurant fell on harder times & moved to 1508 Wyoming Blvd NE.

      • Foodie Star

        For quite awhile, Coronado Mall had a Francinis’ deli. I know I probably butchered the name, which is horrible since I am 1/4 italian myself. They had a fairly large selection of exotic food and if I recall correctly, you could get a sandwich made there. I was a kid, and I don’t think I ever had a sandwich but it may have been served in a box.

        I remember ages ago (The early-mid 60’s) on the west end of the Winrock semi-enclosed mall across from JC Penney, there was a drugstore – like a 5&dime but not called that. In the NW corner of that store, they had a fairly sizable coffee shop with a lunch counter. It opened up into the mall and was always busy serving diner food and coffee to shoppers.

      • Steve D.

        Chelsea Street Pub in the 70’s was the place. When we would come to the mall from Santa Rosa, the Mound of Nachos and ice cold Dr. Pepper was always on the agenda…

  • Roland

    Has the Wyoming Quarters closed? I drove by at lunch last week on an errand and it definitely looked closed. Also JR’s on Juan Tabo shuttered a couple of weeks before Easter.

  • vchan

    Might you remember the drive-up restaurant that was painted white that was where the old Holy Cow was? I am craving their fish basket like whoa today, and I cannot remember the name. It was across the street from Milton’s. *super drool*

  • Cab

    I’ve been trying to remember the name of a seafood restaurant that was on the westside off of Coors back in the 70s. They opened a second location at Montgomery Mall. They had seafood and steaks. And they would have a live Dixieland Jazz band playing sometimes.

  • Jim

    Do you know the name of a restaurant near 2500 Yale blvd (near airport) in the 1980s that specialized in fish entrees?Jim

    • The Rio Grande Yacht Club Restaurant (not to be confused with this Rio Grande Yacht Club) occupied the spot at 2500 Yale back in the 90s. According to a KRQE article, Los Cuates’ owners bought the vacant 20,000 square-foot building and plan to rebuild it.

      • BOTVOLR

        Ahoy! I believe the Club might have been in the era of Seagull St. restaurant which was noted for its facade of Maine(?) river stones and “moored” fishing boat in the water “out back”. The inside equalled the outside’s ambiance with its tasteful decor, that whisked you away from the desert for a moment or two. The Rio Grande Yatch Club was indeed a great option in terms of ambiance including plates and service. Passing by in early Dec., the Los Cuates owners were well on their way to gutting the Club. Both are indeed missed.
        Speaking of nautical vessels, does anyone remember when the navy had dredged a channel in the Rio Grande to show off our submarine, the USS New Mexico, as a recruitment gimmick!??? Prior to the current submarine, “our ship” was a battleship for decades.
        Speaking of seafood, did the new owner of Nantucket Shoals Seafood Market (which was across from Seagull St. & now a Chinese Buffet) ever get a restaurant off the ground?
        Alas, Desert Fish was relatively short-lived…is seafood jinxed here? The RGYC/SS were kinda in the genre of fine dining. Slapfish is more of a nice casual…hasn’t anyone been re its current status? Alas, caveman munching at recently spawned seafood boil venues is fun, while my order of Kids Claws for the past 10ish years as served by the same bartenders at Red Lobster, keeps me in good stead.

    • Foodie Star

      Rio Grande Yacht Club

  • Kerry rose

    There was a Greek/ Mexican restaurant on east central and Montgomery in the 80’s and 90’s that served breakfast and lunch whose owner I believe is related to Vic of vic’s daily cafe. Do you remember the name of either restaurant? Thanks for your help

    • Jim Millington

      I am pretty sure that you are referring to Goody’s. There was also one on Juan Tabo. Calling it Mexican would be a real stretch but the owners were Greek..I have heard (completely unverified) the same family owns Fiesta’s ay Crlisle & Montgomery.

      • BOTVOLR

        Goody’s: Lest I be wrong, wasn’t this one http://tinyurl.com/y7zcsafd at Montgomery and San Pedro. Wasn’t their claim to fame at all of them being a toaster on the tables?

        The Fiesta: I believe a Guy named Carpenter does or has owned/co-owned that, where they serve a great “home style” Chimi. (It used to be a Little Anita’s as part of the old “conglomerate”.) I think he also had some money in the razed Rio Grande “biker bar” which had made a footprint on the overflow parking lot of The “new” Range.

        • mary sproul

          We are looking for Goody”s -not on Central. It had toasters on each table. Was there an ad with a singing toaster and the phase “pop on in”?

    • Dale McCan

      Andy’s Restaurant was the name of the restaurant.
      they were owned by Vic’s dad, Andy.

  • Andres

    Do you remember a restaurant on Menal just east of Wyoming named Charle Jon

    • Hi Andres

      I don’t remember that restaurant, but perhaps some of the folks who contribute to the numerous “Albuquerque: Remember When” sites might. There are some wonderful online resources that will evoke nostalgia among those of us who grew up in the Duke City. I recommend Tripsavvy’s Remembering Vintage Albuquerque which has got some terrific restaurant photos; Remember in Albuquerque When, a public Facebook site where people share memories about life in Albuquerque; and Albuquerque History of Change, another Facebook site which brings back memories.



      • Roland

        I just saw this comment tonight. I do remember Charle Jon exactly in that location. It was a very fine restaurant. My parents loved to eat there whenever they came to visit. I remember once my father was very impressed by their roast leg of spring lamb when they visited in the spring. We even went back a second time when the chef/owner was preparing it as a special for Easter Sunday. The food was always prepared with care and beautifully plated. An elegant feel at a reasonable price. Remembering it makes me wish it was still there.

    • Cab

      Yes, our friends owned it. 🙂 But it was on Montgomery just East of Wyoming

  • James

    We’re racking our brains here trying to remember what Geckos in Nob Hill used to be called. Anybody recall?

    • The East Central location which has housed Gecko’s for more than two decades started out in 1993 as Chez What which had a sister presence in Santa Fe. Founder and owner Mark Zanoni later changed its name to Gecko’s Gallery & Grill.

      • Charles Parlapiano

        Mark Zanoni purchased Chez What in 1993. It originally opened in December or 1989 by Chuck Parlapiano, Sean Moore and Bret White. It was way ahead of it’s time.

    • Trish wall

      Chez what.

  • Victor Gunderson

    Gil- Quick question. Why did you change the format on Gone But Not Forgotten? There used to be a count next to the year on the side panel. It was an easy way to keep track of the state of the NM restaurant scene (unscientifically). I always found it interesting to see the changes from year to year and how the reviewed restaurants were faring as the year went on. Thanks.

    • Hello Victor

      Thank you for alerting me that the “Restaurants by Category” menu was no longer showing counts. I’ve reset that feature. Now you can have an at-a-glance count of how many restaurants have closed on a given year and on the “Gone But Not Forgotten” page, you can get a quick list view of the restaurants that closed.


  • Jeff G

    Holy cow! Talk about a trip down old memory lane. I wonder how many Chili’s and Applebee’s have closed during the same time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.