ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The last several years have been difficult for the eclectic Nob Hill neighborhood with restaurants and retail stores having to contend with the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project and now, the coronavirus pandemic.
But despite the hardships, the neighborhood continues to attract new local businesses.
City Councilor Pat Davis, whose district includes the neighborhood, said Nob Hill has started to come back to life within the past year and he expects that trend to continue despite the immediate economic challenges.
“The first six months after the (construction) cones were gone, we saw almost 20 new businesses that got licenses in Nob Hill,” he said.
And interest in the neighborhood isn’t only coming from business owners looking for new opportunities.
Davis said during the pandemic he has seen an uptick in foot traffic along the Nob Hill portion of Central, which he thinks speaks to people’s desire to get out of their houses.
From the return of Scalo to the opening of Ihatov Bread and Coffee, 2020 has seen numerous businesses open their doors.
Clint and Caren Goodrich, the husband and wife owners of El Camino Donuts, at 3417 Central NE, are recent Albuquerque transplants who came to the city specifically to open their doughnut shop.
“I’ve always been a doughnut aficionado for years and years and years, and I’ve been frustrated in the past 20 years trying to find the doughnuts that used to exist, and I know can exist,” Clint said. “And I finally said ‘you know what, I’m going to do this myself.”
He spent time traveling the country to visit doughnut shops and speak with other bakers who shared his passion. He and his wife even owned a previous doughnut shop before their current operation.
Clint said one of the keys to making a classic doughnut is not cutting corners, which can seem like an appealing option in a business that requires lots of work and long hours. But ultimately, he makes doughnuts based on his tastes and standards.
“I make everything basically for myself and hope that people come in and like it,” he said.
There has already been an outpouring of support from community members in the few weeks that El Camino has been open with people coming in daily to thank them for moving into the space.
“We have been overwhelmed by how we have been received by the local people in this area. Literally people just come in here and thank us daily,” he said. “It’s really been overwhelming and we weren’t expecting that.”
He said that customers have told him that they enjoy being able to walk to a local doughnut shop in their neighborhood, but some customers are coming from as far away as Rio Rancho and even Santa Fe.
Just a few doors to the west of the shop sits Tío David’s Peruvian Flavor, at 3409 Central NE, Albuquerque’s newest Peruvian restaurant.
The opening of the restaurant has been years in the making, according to co-owner Diego Diaz.
Diaz, who owns the restaurant with his father, David, said his dad has been cooking for the community since they immigrated to the United States in 2001.
“People have been in love with my dad’s food and demanding, pretty much, that he open a restaurant, so here we are,” Diaz said.
Word of the restaurant opening spread quickly among the Latin American community.
“The cool thing is that because my dad has been cooking for the community for so long, we do have a lot of support from the local Latin American community, all the way from Santa Fe to Taos,” he said.
Diaz said that he and his father are trying to introduce Peruvian food to New Mexico and give people the opportunity to try it for the first time.
“Not everybody knows Peruvian food, but if they know Peruvian food, they know it’s delicious,” he said.
Diaz said the original plans to open in late February got scrapped, and the restaurant instead opened on the last day of May.
Since then, the majority of business has come from take-out orders and delivery apps.
That model of business has had difficulties since many delivery apps demand a large fee. Luckily, a partnership with local delivery app Selflane has cut down on some of those costs, and the restaurant is now able to have indoor dining at 25% capacity.
Pilar Martinez covers retail and commercial real estate for the Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-823-3887.