ABQ eatery makes plant-based versions of New Mexican classics - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ eatery makes plant-based versions of New Mexican classics

Elizabeth Bibiano sought to create vegan New Mexican recipes after being unable to find food that fit that description. Her brainchild, Vegos, opened Sept. 23. (Courtesy of Jonathan Bibiano)

Aside from its chile, New Mexican food is typically known for its savory meats and dishes covered in melting cheese — two things not really compatible with veganism.

But Vegos, a vegan New Mexican restaurant, is looking to bring the tastes and textures of the Land of Enchantment to a completely plant-based menu.

Vegos elotes featuring garlic aioli, nuts, chile powder and cilantro. (Courtesy of Jonathan Bibiano)

Vegos, at 4003 Carlisle NE, opened Sept. 23.

Although just recently opened as a brick and mortar restaurant, the brand may already be familiar to some since Vegos has been serving its blend of plant-based New Mexican options for two years, first at the Rail Yards Market and then as a food truck.

But owners Elizabeth and Jonathan Bibiano said the goal was always to have a restaurant of their own.

Elizabeth said she began culinary school several years ago with the intention of starting a food business later, but she initially wasn’t sure what her niche might be. But when she noticed that there were few vegan options of her favorite New Mexican dishes readily available, she said she realized that other people with a similar diet may also be missing the comfort of the cuisine.

“I was missing out on all those textures and flavors that I enjoyed so much before I was vegan,” she said.

Elizabeth said she began working with the Albuquerque-based Street Food Institute where she was able to test a few of her menu items and from there she went to open a booth at the Rail Yards Market, before graduating to a food trailer several months later.

She said the trailer allowed her to form partnerships with local breweries and establish a regular schedule for fans of Vegos.

The concept proved to be popular — so much so that the restaurant sold out its first weekend operating out of the 1,000-square-foot brick and mortar location.

Vegos chef and co-owner Elizabeth Bibiano poses with a platter of the popular Vegos Tamales. (Courtesy of Jonathan Bibiano)

“The community showed up and they kept showing up,” Elizabeth said. “We had longer wait times than we had anticipated but … the overwhelming support was just great.”

Menu items include tamales, enchiladas with your choice of tofu, black beans and red quinoa or marinated soy curls, stuffed sopaipillas and burritos.

Elizabeth said she hopes to extend the hours of the restaurant and expand the menu to include breakfast in the near future.

The food trailer that got Vegos started will be taking a break from its usual tour around Albuquerque, but Jonathan said they will be keeping it for special events.

The couple’s spin-off food truck, Nobody Calls Me Chicken, is also on hiatus but will resume operations in the near future.

Vegos is currently open from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon to 8 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, visit vegosabq.com or call 505-554-1041.

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