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Cafe serves up New Mexican, Native staples

Fabby Espitia-Archuleta, co-owner of The EL ROI Cafe, waits on patrons Thursday, July 15. (Adria Malcolm/For the Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For Fabby Espitia-Archuleta, opening her restaurant, The EL ROI Cafe, alongside her husband was a dream several years in the making.

However, like many hopeful restaurateurs, her dream took a little bit longer to be realized thanks to the pandemic.

Now, however, her Downtown cafe is open — one year after it was originally slated to launch.

Espitia-Archuleta opened The EL ROI Cafe with husband Joshua Archuleta in late May at 616 Lomas NW.

She said that the cafe is already gaining momentum with Downtown office workers in the few weeks since opening.

“I think that we opened up at the right time in some sense because everything was opening back up, and now everything’s opened back up 100%,” Espitia-Archuleta said.

Espitia-Archuleta, a lifelong New Mexican, said she and her husband, who is half Native American from Ohkay Owingeh, combined their backgrounds to create a menu that includes traditional New Mexican foods like enchiladas and Pueblo staples like fry bread and mutton stew.

“We took just a few of both of the staple dishes of each genre of New Mexican and Native American (foods) and put it on the menu,” she said.

Fabby Espitia-Archuleta and Joshua Archuleta, husband-and-wife owners of The EL ROI Cafe. (Adria Malcolm/For the Journal)

She said popular menu items include the fry bread green chile cheeseburger and the Indian taco. Prices range from $6 to $15.

The EL ROI Cafe also offers breakfast items like breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros and blue corn mush.

Espitia-Archuleta said she hopes to grow the restaurant so that it eventually has several locations in the city and in central New Mexico. She wants the restaurant to be a job creator for the community and an Albuquerque staple.

“My goal is that you have the best possible experience coming in and eating with us,” she said. “I don’t want anybody leaving here unhappy or unsatisfied.”

The EL ROI Cafe, 616 Lomas NW. (Adria Malcolm/For the Journal)

The EL ROI Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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