A gas station and convenience store chain labeling itself “adventure’s first stop” has made Albuquerque its latest destination with an aggressive foray into the metro area.
Maverik, a Salt Lake City-based company, has broken ground on four locations around town, while launching a digital billboard campaign to highlight the new developments.
The company’s promotional material advertises the chain’s mix of fresh foods, from muffins to club salads. The company’s restaurant, known as BonFire Grill, offers hot food ranging from breakfast tacos to barbecued chicken pizzas, according to the company website.
Maverik was founded in 1928 in Afton, Wyoming, per the company website. Today, the company has more than 300 locations across 11 Western states. The four Albuquerque stores will be at 3737 Princeton NE, 5001 Jefferson NE, 1401 Wyoming NE and 650 Juan Tabo NE.
Representatives of Maverik did not respond to several requests for comment, and opening dates for the four stores have not been publicized.
Jennifer Esquivel, marketing and communications manager for Albuquerque’s Office of Economic Development, said no city funds through the Local Economic Development Act were involved in the project.
Retail at last at Downtown complex
One of Downtown Albuquerque’s most high-profile apartment complexes is welcoming its first new restaurants.
One Central, a $40 million mixed-use apartment building at First and Central, will soon be home to Blended Acai, a counter-service restaurant specializing in healthy, plant-based options. When it opens later this month, it will join Urban Taqueria, a taco restaurant that opened in July.
The owners of both restaurants said they were drawn to One Central’s urban location near transit and several prominent downtown hotels.
“We like what’s happening Downtown,” said Hanif Mohamed, owner and operator of Urban Taqueria.
The much-ballyhooed apartment complex, which features 68 market-rate apartments and 15,887 square feet of retail, with access to a 423-space city parking garage, opened to tenants last summer. The project was billed as part of a Downtown “entertainment district,” and the city contributed land and nearly half the cost of the project, according to the Journal’s archives.
Today, the apartments are 100% leased and have a waiting list of potential tenants, according to Tim House, managing director with SVN/Team Southwest. However, retail offerings have been slow to follow. House said a couple of potential tenants backed out of the project. Urban Taqueria and Blended Acai were the first two named tenants, and House said another national tenant has signed a lease at the complex, though he did not identify the company.Despite the challenges, Mohamed said he was instantly attracted to the space. Mohamed, who also owned Krazy Lizard Taqueria, 5659 Jefferson NE, said he liked the vibrancy and the access to visitors staying at nearby hotels like the Hotel Andaluz and the Hyatt Regency.
“We wanted to be in an area where there was more traffic,” Mohamed said.
The new restaurant is keeping much of Krazy Lizard’s menu of salads, tortas, tacos and burritos. He said the restaurant tries to use local ingredients where possible. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m to 9 p.m. on weekends.
Meanwhile, Anntonette Franklin, owner and operator of Blended Acai, said the restaurant will offer a mix of juices, smoothies and bowls that use acai, pitaya and other plant-based offerings. Franklin said the restaurant began in a food truck, but she jumped at the opportunity to move the business into a 1,200-square-foot location in One Central.
“I love that it’s in the heart of downtown, I just really liked the location,” Franklin said.
Dion’s expands north, again
One of Albuquerque’s most famous pizzerias now has a second location in Santa Fe.
With its ceremonial first slice, Dion’s Pizza opened its new location in The City Different near the end of September. The new restaurant is at 4980 Promenade, off Cerrillos near Interstate 25.
“We are excited to be part of the growth of Santa Fe and offer great food to the families and working professionals in this active part of the city,” said CEO Mark Herman in a prepared statement.
Deena Crawley, marketing director and chief of staff for Dion’s, said the company has been looking at opening a second location in Santa Fe for several years. She cited the city’s growth and the success of Dion’s original Santa Fe location, at 2014 Cerrillos Road, as reasons for the expansion.
“It’s been a great location for us,” Crawley said of the original Santa Fe location, which opened in 2005.
The new 4,000-square-foot restaurant features a more modern look that incorporates design elements such as bleacher wood from a local gymnasium, along with a pickup window for call-ahead and online orders. Crawley said the restaurant has seating for 129 customers.
With the new location, Dion’s now has 24 restaurants in New Mexico, Colorado and Texas. The Santa Fe restaurant will be open 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, per the company website.
Stephen Hamway covers retail and real estate for the Albuquerque Journal. You can reach him at email@example.com or by phone at 505-823-3919.