ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A West Side restaurant space with a history of turnover is changing course again — with experienced restaurateurs from New York City leading the charge.
Jeff Spiegel and his wife, Katie Gardner are partnering with executive chef John Haas to open M’Tucci’s Kitchina at The Shops @ Montaño.
The new restaurant is expected to open next month at 6001 Winter Haven NW, a space formerly occupied by The Mill of New Mexico. The same spot in recent years had also housed Tomato Cafe and, before that, Spinn’s Burgers and Beers.
Spiegel and Gardner owned several different restaurants in New York City, including the popular West End bar near Columbia University. They moved to Albuquerque, Spiegel’s hometown, in 2007.
Haas, meanwhile, comes to Kitchina after several years as executive chef at Bravo! Cucina Italiana in Albuquerque and Iowa, Spiegel said.
Spiegel said Kitchina will offer Italian cuisine but will also do a more varied small-plates menu for the bar.
“I’m pretty familiar with the small-plates approach to life and know there are a lot of people who would prefer to eat appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, small plates or tapas than anything else,” Spiegel said.
The 3,600-square-foot restaurant is currently in the midst of a makeover to suit the new concept. Kitchina will ultimately seat about 200 people after the addition of a 40-seat patio, according to the shopping center’s owners.
“Jeff and Katie are just what we’ve been looking for. We couldn’t be happier,” said Mary Cooley, a managing member of Cavalier Investments LLC, which owns the shopping center.