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Last Call has fresh offering for West Siders

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — West Siders have a new option for satisfying that Baja taco craving.

The Last Call, a popular taco/burrito/fries restaurant that prides itself on all-fresh ingredients recently had its soft opening near Coors and Montaño at 6261 Riverside Plaza Lane NW, suite A1. The restaurant already had one store in Nob Hill and another Downtown.

The Last Call is the brainchild of owner Luis Valdovinos, who brought his Baja/Southern California style directly from San Diego back in 2012.

Think beer-battered fish tacos. Carne asada. Truffle-grilled cheese. Four different kinds of fries. Lots of Mexican cream, chipotle aioli, chile de arbol, pickled red cabbage. And more.

The Last Call cook Shane Congo holds a plate of carne aside fries and fish tacos at the restaurant’s new location on the West Side. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal) 

“I grew up in San Diego, so that’s my influence. That’s the style of food that I grew up on,” he said.

Valdovinos began running a food truck in San Diego in 2011 after a career doing sales for a Fortune 500 company while also serving in the California National Guard.

But San Diego, as we know, is an expensive place. So when his dad – a Cordon Bleu-trained chef who is now the director of dietary services at Lovelace Women’s Hospital – told him there was a real need for late-night eats in Nob Hill, Valdovinos figured he’d give it a shot.

“I felt the food I serve would work really well here because the people love chile, and my food is really spicy,” he said.

Valdovinos prides himself on emphasizing fresh. All the salsas are made from scratch from fresh ingredients every day. Potatoes for the fries are hand-cut. Even the meat is hand-cut in house.

The new West Side location is largely a result of customer prodding. And with the area around Coors and Montaño gaining in dining and entertainment options – including a Paleta Bar in the same shopping center – he saw it as a good fit.

For the time being, the West Side location will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. (The Last Call is open into the early morning hours five days a week in Nob Hill and three days a week Downtown.)

More information is available on the website lastcallabq.com.

Joining the sofa party

National Furniture Liquidators store manager Carlos Martinez carries a lamp while getting the store ready for its grand opening. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

The furniture hub around the Menaul-Carlisle intersection area continues to attract players.

Already home to long-timers American Home, Furniture Row and Arizona Leather and others, El Paso-based National Furniture Liquidators is joining the party.

“It’s a destination for furniture shopping,” said Glenn Morris, general manager for National Furniture. “The more people that are brought to an area – all of us are going to benefit.”

The company’s latest store opened over the weekend at 3301 Menaul NE in a 31,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Office Max. It is the family-owned chain’s sixth store, joining two in El Paso and one each in Las Cruces, Alamogordo and Roswell.

National Furniture Liquidators employees Dadrian Willits, left, and Chris Crespin carry a dinning room table while getting the store ready for the grand opening.

National Furniture specializes in “good buys” in all types of furniture, Morris said.

“We chose the model where we sell low and sell a lot,” he said.

The store will have about 30 employees. Sales people work on salary and commission.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Grand reopening

The Rio Rancho Walmart Neighborhood Market at 1115 N.M. 528 SE last week celebrated a grand reopening after a storewide remodel.

The deli and bakery department are three times the original size, according to a news release from Walmart.

Among the other changes: meats have been relocated to a central spot near the front of the store; an improved layout in produce; updates to the pharmacy and store exterior and larger signage to help with navigation.

Saying good-bye

Aura, which opened two years ago in the Far North Shopping Center, is now closed.

The restaurant billed itself as a European-Mediterranean eatery, operated by two Armenian brothers.

Once home to the long-gone Gin Mill Restaurant & Tavern, the brothers undertook an extensive four-month remodel. A call to one of the brothers seeking comment was not returned. The eatery closed earlier this month.

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