Dion’s, a long-standing staple restaurant for New Mexicans, will soon be getting a sister brand with the opening of Tula’s Kitchen next year.
Tula’s Kitchen is expected to open next summer at La Cueva Town Center, at Paseo del Norte and Wyoming NE, Dion’s marketing manager Audrey Johnson said in a news release.
The new casual restaurant will feature a menu of grilled sandwiches, baked and crispy chicken and salads, in addition to cocktails, local beer and wine, Johnson said.
She said menu items are “favorites among kids” that have been “elevated for grown-ups and modern diners” such as grilled cheese sandwiches made with artisan cheeses on specialty breads.
The concept for the restaurant was developed at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 when pandemic restrictions began to lift.
“We were watching what was happening in the restaurant industry during the middle of the pandemic and anticipating, as our community started to come out of pandemic restrictions, what those opportunities would be and what consumers were looking for,” Johnson said.
She said Dion’s recognized that people would be wanting to have an environment where they could sit down with friends and family at a place with both indoor and outdoor dining.
“While many restaurant concepts have moved to more of a takeout model, especially in light of COVID, we are taking a different approach,” Dion’s co-founder Jon Patten wrote in the news release. “We believe the desire to connect with one another over the dinner table is as strong as it has ever been.”
As such, Tula’s will have an outdoor fire pit and a patio with the capacity for 60 customers. About 130 customers will be able to dine inside, Johnson said.
Like Dion’s, Tula’s will be a primarily counter service restaurant, but Johnson said customers will be able to order additional items such as desserts and drinks once seated.
“We really see it as being a representation of our quality of customer service and making sure that we’re providing that comfortable and relaxed environment for the customers who come,” she said.