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Cocina Azul opens third location


The owners, staff and patrons helped celebrate the opening of the third Cocina Azul location on Monday. (STEVE SINOVIC/JOURNAL)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Cocina Azul is branching out in Albuquerque.
The third location of the New Mexican-style restaurant company opened Monday with a “soft opening” in a building that was once occupied by Applebee’s.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the eatery, at 5916 Holly NE, along Paseo Del Norte near Interstate 25, opened following several months of tenant improvements, said owner Frank Barela. The new business employs 30 people.
“It’s delicious, authentic New Mexican food made fresh daily,” he said. The 5,000-square-foot leased space has two patios, including one on the second floor looking east to the Sandias. In addition to the dining options, Cocina Azul numero tres has a full bar.
“It’s going to be a nice area for happy hour,” Barela said.
All of the dishes have been crafted through Barela’s decade of culinary experience gained at two other Cocina Azul eateries in Albuquerque.
Barela, who runs the business with his wife, Evelyn, said he wanted to replicate his grandma’s recipes that he enjoyed growing up. The food is “all about the chile,” he said.
Plans for the new restaurant were announced in April. It joins Cocina Azul locations on Montgomery and Jefferson NE and 12th and Mountain Road NW.

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