ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The owner of Fresh Bistro sounds like he’s cornering the food scene on one block in Los Ranchos. Indeed, it sounds like he’s going whole hog.
After a couple of weeks of practice and staff training, chef-owner Jon Young has opened ABQ BBQ at 7520 Fourth NW.
As the name implies, the purpose of the eatery is to provide New Mexico-style Q to the public. “It’s barely a block away” from Fresh Bistro, said the peripatetic chef, who’s busy bossing the kitchens of the two eateries. The new joint has taken over the former Marley’s BBQ space.
Young, a classically trained chef, said it’s the New Mexico spices that make his falling-off-the-bone, applewood-smoked meat dishes so distinctive. Expect platters of beef brisket, pork ribs, salmon, pulled pork and chicken and sausage that are infused with Chimayó red chile and Hatch green chile and bringing varying heat levels. Don’t forget to order a slab of green chile cheddar cornbread to sop up the juices from the Q.
Traditional sides like potato salad, cole slaw, beans and mac and cheese get creative twists by Young and his cooking crew, which includes a baker.
Young is so proud of his vegetable sides that diners could order any three of them as an entree, which makes eating a slice of blackberry, cherry or peach cobbler, all topped with a toasted piñon nut crumble (uniquely New Mexico), a little easier to justify.
ABQ BBQ will have traditional dine-in seating and grab-and-go options for those on the run.
The new business will be open Tuesdays-Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Guess what else is open?
El Vado Taproom, at 2500 Central SW.
The taproom is showcasing local beers from Ponderosa Brewing Co., and customers were seen hoisting a few on a recent hot June night.
“I’m glad that they (the developers) took something that was run-down and made something nice out of it,” said customer Abel Lopez, enjoying a cold one outside with wife Madeline Lopez. Joining them on the outing were their canine companions – Ajax, a Great Dane, and a pug named Gus.
The new watering hole is in the former lobby of El Vado Motel, the centerpiece of the mixed-used development, which I’ve been told is very close to opening.
The taproom faces the large outdoor courtyard on the north side, with food pods serving all kinds of tasty grub to the south of the courtyard.
Ponderosa Brewing has one other location in Albuquerque, at 1761 Bellamah NW in the Sawmill District.
Popular pasta chain Olive Garden has cooked up some changes at one of its Albuquerque eateries.
In a news release, the company said its sit-down Italian restaurant at 6301 San Mateo NE has been “given a stylish new look that creates a warm, vibrant atmosphere.” The Orlando-based chain, a favorite with many Albuquerque diners because of its generous supply of breadsticks, bowls of salad and soups, not to mention its pasta dishes, said it updated artwork, logos, seating, floors, fabrics, materials and lights at the restaurant, which was built in 1988.
The remodel also features floor-to-ceiling glass wine cabinets, wine-pouring stations, a back-lit bar with phone charging stations, and high-definition digital chalkboards in the lobby.
“My team and I are eager to share our new restaurant design with our guests in Albuquerque,” said Jose Cisneros, general manager at the restaurant. “The updated décor continues to provide an inviting dining experience while incorporating a more modern feel.”
Olive Garden donated the used furnishings to the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore outlet.
The remodeled restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays at 6301 San Mateo NE.
Some pancake lovers and rival fast-food chains it seems are having a beef with IHOP’s new promo.
The two-week tease of International House of Pancakes’ name change to IHOb was revealed recently. The ‘b’ stands for burgers, but not everyone was all that impressed.
This polarizing announcement (naturally) set the Twitterverse all aflutter, with many rivals grilling the chain over the change from the legendary “IHOP.” A Whataburger Twitter post even threw some shade, to wit: “As much as we love our pancakes, we’d never change our name to Whatapancake.”
An IHOP spokesman says that the name change is not permanent, but more of a temporary detour to promote its new burger line. Although the breakfast-favorite chain has specialized in pancakes since 1958, it also has offered burgers since then. The chain will be serving seven new types of hamburgers in an effort to rebrand and reach a wider audience.
Steve Sinovic covers the retail, restaurant and hospitality beats for the Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 505-823-3919.