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Retail Roundup

Shopping and restaurant news from around the Duke City

New Corrales Cafe mixes up the menu nightly

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bizO-Dyer_Jessica_BizOWhen Aaron Worrell was plotting his newest food venture, he didn’t come up with a dinner menu.

He came up with five.

At The Spot Cafe – a recent addition to Corrales’ restaurant landscape – the dinner experience depends on the night.

Craving fish tacos? They’re offered Thursdays as part of “Mexican Mania.”

Seafood, meanwhile, stars on Friday nights, while Saturdays belong to barbecue.

Come Sunday, “casual comfort cuisine” dominates. Think fried chicken and green chile salisbury steak.

Not every night has a theme – Monday and Wednesday share a more general menu – but Worrell sees several advantages to changing course on a near-daily basis.

Since the varying nightly menus are all short – each including just a handful of items plus a couple of regular steak plates – the kitchen can devote all its energy to a few related dishes rather than an extensive and complicated list. Worrell says the strategy also enlivens the routine and sets the tone for other additions and adjustments moving forward.

Aaron Worrell's new restaurant, The Spot Cafe in Corrales, is now serving dinner. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Aaron Worrell’s new restaurant, The Spot Cafe in Corrales, is now serving dinner. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

“We all know (single) themes can get old or stale after a while,” says Worrell, who credits hours of Food Network viewing for his interest in many different cuisines.

“I kept thinking, ‘Wow. Can you imagine if we did this kind of food one night and this kind of food another night?’” he says.

The setup has Worrell making fish and chips ($10) and shrimp alfredo linguini ($11.50) on Friday nights and then manning the restaurant smoker on Saturdays for plates of barbecue pulled pork ($16) and barbecue beef brisket ($22).

Manager Christina Blea says it keeps things interesting.

“We have so much going on (that) every time you come in you could have something different,” she says.

  • The Spot Cafe is located at 4940 Corrales Road in Corrales. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

  • Aaron Worrell's new restaurant, The Spot Cafe in Corrales, is now serving dinner.

  • The shrimp alfredo with linguini and beef the brisket plate at the Spot Cafe , a Corrales restaurant. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Worrell, a Brooklyn native, is no stranger to the food business. He has owned a few different Albuquerque eateries over the last 20 years, the most recent being Aaron’s Sandwich Time. The Spot Cafe represents what he says is his “sixth and final act,” the realization of a longtime dream to run a full-service restaurant.

The 50-seat restaurant – a white-tablecloth establishment with a casual vibe – opened somewhat quietly in April with only breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast options run the gamut from a gravy-laden biscuit-and-sausage plate ($8) to huevos rancheros ($7) and a build-your-own-omelet ($8). Sandwiches ($7.50-$9.50) make up much of the lunch menu, including many carry-overs – like the green chile steak melt – from Worrell’s sandwich shop days.

Worrell waited until this month to roll out dinner (4-9 p.m.) but says the picture still isn’t complete. He plans to add beer and wine (he’s awaiting his license) and says his menus will keep evolving.

“I want to be able to keep it fresh and new all the time,” he says.

The Spot Cafe is located at 4940 Corrales Road, about three miles north of Alameda. It’s open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. every day except Tuesday, when it is closed. The phone number is 899-7768.

West Side sugar rush

Looking to tame a sweet tooth?

Celeste Davis wants to help. Whether your hankering is for candy, ice cream or both, Davis has you covered with ChocGlitz & Cream.

Davis stocks the cases at the new West Side shop with her handmade chocolate confections – from truffles, nut clusters and barks to dipped cherries and coated graham crackers. Bulk items run $24.95 per pound and are made with fair-trade-certified chocolate.

“It’s been a justice issue for my husband and me,” she says of the decision to source her product from fair-trade suppliers.

Owner Celeste Davis makes chocolates and ice cream in house at her new West Side shop, ChocGlitz & Cream.(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Owner Celeste Davis makes chocolates and ice cream in house at her new West Side shop, ChocGlitz & Cream.(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Always the crafty type, Davis started making chocolate gifts for friends and family more than 30 years ago. She even operated her own franchise chocolate shop in Arizona for a few years before moving to Albuquerque in 2011.

But with ChocGlitz, Davis has expanded her treat repertoire. She has started making her own ice cream and offers customers a choice of 12 different flavors. She plans to reserve a few slots for the basics – chocolate and vanilla – but rotate others in and out, exploring new possibilities. The current inventory, for example, includes key lime, Mexican coffee (chocolate, coffee, cinnamon) and a “tropical delight” mixed with papaya, mango, strawberry and pineapple.

“Ice cream is new to me, and I’m having fun with that,” she says.

Davis – who also does fudge, caramel apples and caramel corn – makes her inventory on site. The 1,500-square-foot shop even has a visible production area in the corner where she works on the fudge.

ChocGlitz & Cream is located at 10660 Unser NW, near McMahon. It’s already open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday but will celebrate its grand opening Aug. 27-Sept. 6 with various promotions and festivities.

The phone number is 898-4589.

  • ChocGlitz & Cream opened recently at 10660 Unser NW. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

  • Owner Celeste Davis makes chocolates and ice cream in house at her new West Side shop, ChocGlitz & Cream.(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

  • ChocGlitz & Cream uses fair-trade-certified chocolate in its handcrafted goodies. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Mall movement

Coronado Center mall – currently in the midst of a multimillion-dollar makeover to its common areas – is also experiencing some changes on the tenant front.

As I recently reported on my blog, Banana Republic plans to leave the mall for nearby ABQ Uptown. Though store staff couldn’t yet say when the Coronado location will close, ABQ Uptown management says Banana Republic should open there (in the former Coldwater Creek storefront) in January.

Meanwhile, other tenants are moving into Coronado. Construction has begun on the eagerly anticipated H&M – the first Albuquerque location of the global clothing chain – and Coronado General Manager Randy Sanchez says the 23,000-square-foot store should be open before Thanksgiving.

Children’s clothing chain Crazy 8 is also adding a store at Coronado, Sanchez says. It will take over the former Helzberg Diamonds space near Macy’s. (Helzberg is moving to the old Mati space near JCPenney.)

Gold Elements – which specializes in skin care products made with gold – will open near Sears in the next few weeks, Sanchez says.

If you have retail news to share, contact me at jdyer@abqjournal.com or 823-3864. For more regular updates on Albuquerque shopping and restaurant news, visit my blog at abqjournal.com or follow @abqdyer on Twitter.

 

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