There’s nothing fake about Duggan’s Coffee, a news-themed coffee joint just south of the University of New Mexico campus, serving creative sandwiches and salads inspired by the press.
On a recent visit, I ordered The Publisher – a title close to my heart, as I once was one – and ended up with a thoroughly real, authentic panini-style sandwich bursting with savory flavor. The sandwich ($7.70) is simple but delicious: High-quality sliced turkey is piled onto slices of white bread that’s been slathered with a homemade pesto spread, then a slice of provolone cheese is added, and the whole sandwich bakes on the panini grill for a few minutes for a hot, gooey center and a crispy, brown outside.
The sandwich was rich in flavor, and even though it was small, it was incredibly filling. It comes with potato chips and a dill pickle spear, so a diner with an average appetite could walk away happy.
I possess an above-average appetite, though, so I ordered a second dish, The Columnist. This is the real headline. The plate came with a beautiful slice of a homemade green chile potato tart and a small bowl of fresh berries and fruit. The tart was an imaginative handling of two standard ingredients: potatoes and green chile, and the result was almost a quiche, with flavor just as delicate and a savory crust that makes the $6.75 price tag a steal.
The tart was cooked perfectly, so the outside was crispy and brown but the inside was tender and warm. Flavors of onion and green chile accent the potatoes and create, essentially, the best hash browns you’ve ever had. With the fresh cantaloupe and blackberries and blueberries, this might make the best vegetarian breakfast in town.
Duggan’s is small but cozy, appointed with modern fixtures and clean as can be. It’s intimate, meant to serve as a meeting spot for friends, but the place is also friendly to singles (most of the tables are small). The walls are yellow and cheery.
I was able to park right in front of the coffee shop on a recent weekend visit, but during the school year or during the workweek, parking might be a little trickier. Paid and metered parking is available out front or around the corner.
The shop’s proprietors are intensely proud Lobos fans (their Twitter feed is almost exclusively news about UNM athletics) so they’ll fit into the neighborhood quite well. And they give just enough of a tip of the hat to New Mexico on their menu to appear clued in without going over the top. The Editor is a red-chile-flavored pulled-pork sandwich, and The Fact Checker is a green chile soup.
The simplicity of the menu is brilliant: two sandwiches, a salad, a soup and a potato tart. This allows Duggan’s to make everything fresh in-house, using minimal space and minimal pre-made ingredients, with a quality-over-quantity approach. For a locally owned, independent coffee shop, Duggan’s is doing things right.
Everything on the menu is $7.70 or less, and the fare is fantastic and fresh. And few things excite folks in the news business more than cheap, good food.