Food trucks fighting the good fight; Dion's earns national recognition; Blake's continues to expand; Whole Hog Café BBQ touches down in Albuquerque; Rancho de Chimayó might gain even more prestige.
Bites of Burque: Inaugural Edition
BY TY BANNERMAN
Last year, the City Council passed a controversial ordinance that prohibited food trucks from setting up within 100 feet of an existing brick-and-mortar restaurant.
After a barrage of complaints that the rule made it impossible for popular mobile eateries to find a place to park, especially Downtown, the Council revised the rules on March 7.
Now food trucks must maintain a reduced 75-foot buffer zone from restaurants and can ignore the zone if said restaurant is closed. As the city continues to seek a solution that satisfies both food truck owners and restaurants, expect the Council to revisit these rules again soon.
Dion’s Pizza, the ubiquitous Albuquerque pizzeria where it’s always 1992 and the cashiers exude perpetual youth, has been awarded Sandelman & Associates’ 2015 Quick Track Award of Excellence due to the institution’s high marks on customer experience surveys.
Dion’s was number 4 on this national list, behind Chik-Fil-A, In-‘n’-Out Burger and a Chicago eatery called Portillos. Way to go, teenagers!
EDo goes Whole Hog
Formerly home to Gravy and, before that, Milton’s Café, the iconic diner at Central and Elm is changing hands and identities once again. This time around, Arkansas-based Whole Hog Café BBQ restaurant will set up shop within the next few months.
Gravy closed in December, after being a hotly anticipated addition whose middling reviews on Yelp sealed its fate early on. It seems to me this local joint got an undeserved bad rap. That said, an out-of-towner taking up space is always better than a vacancy.
Blake’s gets around
Sometimes New Mexico restaurants get to be the out-of-towner. Blake’s Lotaburger has a satellite location opening in Tucson, Ariz., on April 1. It will be the Albuquerque-founded chain’s fourth out-of-state location; there are three in El Paso, Texas.
National Geographic reported that the chain serves the “best green chile cheeseburger in the world.” A second Tucson location is slated for a May debut.
And Santa Fe-based Vinaigrette has also ventured out of state with their new location that sprouted up in Austin, Texas, at the end of February. Let the New Mexican domination commence!
In Northern New Mexico news, one of my favorite restaurants in the state has snagged a prestigious nod from the James Beard Foundation. Rancho de Chimayó, a sprawling, pastoral ranch house in Chimayó, N.M. – where yours truly got married – has made it to the final round of nominees for a James Beard Award in the “America’s Classics” category.
Winners will be announced at the Chicago Lyric Opera on May 2. In the meantime, who’s up for a road trip? Rancho de Chimayó seriously serves the best margaritas and red chile in New Mexico.
Ty Bannerman loves to eat and to write, and those interests frequently collide.
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