The COVID-19 shutdown left fledgling restaurants stuck in the starting gates like anxious racehorses. Now that it’s partly over, at least for the time being, a number of new places have been unleashed on the local dining scene. Every week, it seems, there’s somewhere new to try.
One of the more unusual new spots is Green Gene Vegan Café, a small eatery that opened recently across from UNM. Owner Colin Forde, a cosmetic dentist, drew inspiration for the restaurant from his travels around the world as a missionary and his conversion to veganism.
Green Gene’s is at the north end of the Brick Light District, a complex of restaurants, retail and apartments that straddles Harvard SE between Central and Silver. The district represents a compelling idea: Bring in local businesses and a population base to patronize them. Sadly, it’s not immune to the economic vagaries of these times. In the location that Green Gene occupies, Juan More Taco and Rollie Rollie sushi have come and gone in just the past couple of years. On the side of Harvard opposite Green Gene, the long façades of the collectibles shop Louie’s Rock-N-Reels and Winning Coffee lie vacant.