ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For 45 years, Garcia’s Kitchen has served up New Mexican food from its original location on the corner of 4th and Mountain in Downtown Albuquerque, but that legacy is coming to an end this Sunday.
Garcia’s Kitchen will be closing the location at 1113 4th SW for good following several months of dwindling sales amid the pandemic, said vice president Dan Garcia.
“This is one of the hardest decisions we have had to make as a company since my dad hasn’t been here,” said Garcia, whose father founded the restaurant.
The popular local chain announced the decision on its Facebook page Tuesday morning.
Several factors contributed to the closure, but the pandemic is what “took (them) over the top,” Garcia said.
Unlike the other locations around the city, the original location was unable to add outdoor seating. It had also long been dealing with increasing rates of crime and homelessness in the surrounding area, which made employees feel unsafe, Garcia said.
“By closing this location we’re hoping it helps the other locations,” he said.
Garcia said the decision was emotional, and the announcement left some employees in tears.
“There’s a lot of memories here, a lot of emotions here,” he said.
Opened in 1975 by Andrew Garcia, Garcia’s Kitchen was not always the iconic spot it is today.
Dan Garcia said the restaurant struggled to find its footing when it first opened, netting around $20 a day in its first week. But his father, who founded the restaurant, was hopeful.
In the decades since, it has expanded to five other locations around Albuquerque while also operating a catering business and selling its jarred salsa at grocery stores.
While the location may be closing, Downtown Garcia’s Kitchen employees will all be transferring to other locations.
Garcia said customers are already asking their employees about which location they will be transferring to so they can follow them.
“It’s been a lot of emotions for all of us,” he said.