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 2019

Crepe Crepe (Albuquerque) | La Familiar (Albuquerque) | Red Rock Deli (Albuquerque) |TFK Smokehouse (Albuquerque) | Zacatecas Tacos (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) | 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) |

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) |

24 Comments on “Gone But Not Forgotten”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


  6. 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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