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 2020

1933 Brewing Co (Rio Rancho) |Bonchon (Albuquerque) | Burque Burgers & Dawgs (Albuquerque) | The Cooperage (Albuquerque) | Eloisa (Santa Fe) | Farmhouse 21 (Albuquerque) | Hello Poke (Albuquerque) | Las Ristras (Corrales) | Luna Mansion Landmark Steakhouse (Los Lunas) |Mannie’s Family Restaurant (Albuquerque) | Mogu Mogu (Albuquerque) | Plum Cafe (Albuquerque) | Rock & Brews (Albuquerque) | Sal-E-Boy’s Pizzeria (Rio Rancho) | Sandiago’s Mexican Grill (Albuquerque) | Seasonal Palate (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) | 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) | 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) |

87 Comments on “Gone But Not Forgotten”

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.)

      2. 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.

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

          1. 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.]

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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”

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

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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.”

    3. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. Seventeen words per minute, Roberto. Thanks for all the great reminiscences.

          We would both be remiss if we didn’t mention the passing of former Lobo basketball coach Charlie Harrison who led the team after “Lobogate.” I don’t think I ever enjoyed a season as much as that one season in which Harrison guided the Lobos to a 6-22 record. That team had more grit and determination than any I remember.

  4. 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?

    1. 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)

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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?

        1. 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”?!

  6. 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?

    1. 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’.)

      1. 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.

      2. 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

  7. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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)

      2. 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.

      3. 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!

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      4. 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.

  8. 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.

    1. According to Yelp, the Wyoming-based version of The Quarters BBQ restaurant has closed. The Quarters package liquor store, however, remains open.

      JR’s is like the proverbial cat with nine lives. It wouldn’t surprise me to see it launch at another location.

  9. 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*

    1. As “Cornbred” pointed out, the previous occupant of that space was Bob’s Fish & Chips. In the men’s room at Holy Cow right over the commode an old sign from Bob’s hangs proudly–a tribute from Holy Cow to its predecessor and legendary long-time occupant.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  11. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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”?

    1. 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.



      1. 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.

          1. Charle Jon was on Menaul just east of Wyoming in the south side of the street. Next door was. PDQ convenience store.

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

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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.


  14. 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.

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