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New tenant sought for old spot of Ore House eatery

SANTA FE, N.M. — A new tenant is being sought for a skylit spot tucked away from West San Francisco Street that has seen a succession of businesses, most recently the final location for what was once a well-known Plaza landmark, The Ore House.

And live music might be a component of future operations there, according to David Barker, whose family owns the downtown location. “It has potential as a music venue,” he said Wednesday.

The Ore House at Milagro shut down Monday at the 139 W. San Francisco St. location. Barker said John Beaupre, the owner of the restaurant, told him he didn’t want to talk to reporters about the closure.

“They’ve struggled for a long time,” Barker said of the business. “I think this one just didn’t work. It’s a competitive market and the (economic) times are a challenge.”

Beaupre opened Milagro 139 at the site in May 2009. After The Ore House, which opened in 1976, was ousted by the landlord from its highly visible location at the southwest corner of Santa Fe’s tourist-thick Plaza in 2011, it was combined into the Milagro operation.

While the location was just around the corner, its lack of a street-front presence – and the Plaza Ore House’s well-liked second-story balcony – reduced its visibility.

But Barker said he doesn’t think the location necessarily is a handicap. “It’s a good downtown location,” he said.

He noted that people told Doug Lanham that a location north of De Vargas mall wouldn’t work for a restaurant, but his Jinja Bar & Bistro has been “wildly successful.”

What’s most important is that restaurateurs figure out the right combination of “food, service and atmosphere to gain a loyal following,” Barker said.

Jamie Lenfestey of Heath Concerts was due to present a concert by Tristan Prettyman at the Milagro this Sunday, an event that has been moved to Vanessie of Santa Fe. “I had yet to do a show there,” he said in an email, so he hadn’t really gotten to know Milagro as a music venue.

Calling the closure “too bad,” he added, “It was a nice room with the potential to be a nice addition (to the music scene).”

Whether it will become one in the future remains to be seen. Barker declined to reveal any potential tenants with whom he is discussing taking over the space. “We’re going to try to find the right operator in that spot,” he said.

Barker added that he doesn’t believe Beaupre is planning any other business ventures in Santa Fe. “He wants to take some time off,” Barker said.