ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mike White, executive chef and owner of the newly opened High Point Grill on Coors Boulevard, couldn’t be more excited about the added space at his new location. White’s former restaurant, the Point Grill located in the Rio Rancho neighborhood of Mariposa, was only half the size of his new 3,400-square-foot space.
“Including the patio, we have the capacity to seat around 140 patrons, whereas my last spot only had room for 44,” White said.
The High Point Grill just opened its doors officially last Wednesday but has been preparing for several months, even hosting a soft opening to ensure it has the right formula for its customers.
“I found that we needed six times the amount of pasta I had originally intended to stock up with just to make it through one night,” White said. “But for the most part, everyone was laughing and enjoying the food.”
White is still in the process of getting his beer and wine license secured, so the High Point Grill is currently without a comprehensive beer and wine list, something White prided himself on at his last location.
“We will have our license for sure by 2019 because we have a lot of events lined up,” White said. “We will have 18 local beers on tap and a list of 30 different wines.”
The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week and will include seasonal specials.
When asked about investors, White said besides some financial help from family, he is in charge of the entire operation on both front and back of the house.
“The common thing is to partner with people who will help financially with different departments, but I want my hands in everything. I want this to be my baby essentially,” he said with a grin.
White assures his loyal customers from his old location that many of the items on the old menu will be at the core of the new one, with a few upscale changes.
“A new thing I am working on is Cajun lump season crab meat inside of handmade ravioli with seared Argentinian wild caught shrimp and sage alfredo sauce,” White said. “Every three months, I will have six specials that will revolve around a weekly special.”
White has a staff of 18, and he plans to add more in January.
For those interested in trying the High Point Grill, it is located on 9780 Coors NW.
Any which way they can
National sandwich chain Which Wich is set to open its third Albuquerque location this Christmas. Business owner Seth Lyons along with his partners Ross and McKenzie Thessen, owners of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory outlets in the Cottonwood and Coronado Malls, own all three locations.
Lyons, a developer out of Colorado who owns two more Which Wich locations out of state, said the partners’ goal is to open a new store once a year for the next 10 years in the Albuquerque area.
Lyons said it isn’t easy buying a franchise, which he says cost $350,000 turnkey.
“Cash is king, and banks refuse to lend to undercapitalized (restaurateur),” Lyons wrote in an e-mail. “This is what sets us apart. Ross, Mackenzie and I have done our best to reinvest in our company.”
The new store is at 5600 Coors NW.
A target audience
Target Uptown attorney Mark Rhodes said last week that the store has applied for a full liquor license.
According to Rhodes, most Target stores in other states already offer liquor sales to provide customers with a one-stop-shopping experience.
“Obviously, logistics show that having a liquor license in this area could be very beneficial to the store’s overall sales as well as provide shoppers with the convenience of picking up a bottle of wine, say, as a holiday present.” Rhodes said. “Target wants to provide the most convenient shopping experience for its customers, and this just another way of doing that.”
Rhodes said that Target Uptown has been wanting a liquor license for a long time and is waiting for the Albuquerque City Council to consider the store’s request on Dec. 21.
If approved, Target Uptown will be the first of the 10 Targets statewide to offer liquor sales.
The bear necessities
Brother developers and Little Bear Coffee owners Jacob and Isaac Fox are opening a new Little Bear Coffee in the Nob Hill area.
The vacant 7,000-square-foot building at 3123 Central will be transformed into three or four retail shops on the west end of the building, with the coffee shop on the east end.
“We think it’s cool as property developers to just kind of create a space where people like to get together and do life together,” Jacob said.
This is a major step for the brothers, who opened their first coffee shop less than a year ago.
“We’ve learned a lot from opening our Pennsylvania location,” Jacob said with a laugh. “Saying you are going to open a business and then actually doing it are two different things.”
When they saw the Nob Hill building go up for sale, they jumped at the opportunity to buy it.
“Nothing in Nob Hill ever seems to be available,” Isaac said. “We wanted to create a business in the area that would kind of reignite some of the energy that has always been there but for other reasons has been missing since projects like ART (Albuquerque Rapid Transit).”
He said they are looking at investing more than $1 million to renovate the building, which should be ready for business by next summer.
“This building is going to be different than our current location,” Isaac said. “We’re going for a more industrial modern exposed duct work kind of feel.”
Stephen Montoya is the Journal’s retail reporter. He can be contacted at email@example.com or by calling 505-823-3911.