ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Carri Phillis already has mastered the nightclub world, where vodka, whiskey and comfort bar grub are staples, and now she’s taking on a new challenge in the food and beverage business.
Phillis, the co-owner of Effex Nightclub, which also includes the Side Effex Gastropub at 5th and Central SW in Downtown, is about to open a new bar/restaurant in Northeast Albuquerque, and the name of this game will be tequila and tapas.
Phillis said Blue Agave Republic (“B.A.R., get it?”) will open later this month at 6001 Osuna NE, Suite A, the latest business to join several other restaurants in the up-and-coming foodie lifestyle center where Breve Crepes and Coffee and Devon’s wood-fired grill are now doing business.
Blue Agave will soon bring a variety of hybrid tacos and tequila cocktails to the center’s culinary mix. Phillis said the new business will employ 35 people, and will also have a full bar.
Phillis said the tequila and tapas concept is something that her Effex landlords, Steve Coe and J.C. Peterson, the real estate duo behind several redevelopment projects around town, suggested as a nice addition to their tenant mix at their lifestyle center on Osuna, near the Arroyo del Oso golf course and Monroe’s restaurant.
“The property is beautiful, and Coe and Peterson have done a great job” on tenant improvements, said Phillis.
Phillis, who is overseeing the final stage of renovations, working with her chef on the menu line up, and awaiting her liquor license, said the new concept should resonate with those looking for a colorful cocktail bar, which is done up in a “very Baja Mexico” motif, with bright colors, tiles and striking light fixtures. It’ll be the kind of establishment where patrons can have a nice drink and really good food for lunch, dinner late at night and for weekend brunches, especially on one of the two patios, said Phillis.
Ala carte dishes will include lobster tamales, crab tostadas and a sweet tequila-marinated steak. A vegan menu will include hearts of palms ceviche and a sweet potato and black bean quesadilla.
“We’re not pitching ourselves as traditional Mexican/Spanish tapas cuisine,” Phillis said. “But I love tequila, and my chef Josh Lovato and I like playing around with drink and food combos. We’re traditionally inspired while messing around with different cuisines, including Mexican, German, American and Asian,” she said, Instead of the humble corn taco chip, Blue Agave Republic’s versions will be made from wontons and plantains.
Teneé Swingle, a broker with Coe & Peterson, said the real estate company is pleased with the tenant mix so far at 6001 Osuna and expects strong interest in the two suites remaining. One can accommodate an office or a small retail user. Another suite, she said, could be leased to a “plug-and-pour operator” — a new concept aimed at fledgling beverage purveyors who want to sell beer, microbrews or spirits but find regular kegs and compression too expensive.