Cyclists in Albuquerque have much to enjoy, from great weather to miles of scenic trails over varied terrain.
And now, the city’s road warriors have their own (unofficial) pit stop: the aptly named Kickstand Café on Alameda in the North Valley.
Local businesswoman Emily Kitterman opened the café in September just a few pedal strokes away from the Paseo del Bosque Trail, a 17-mile stretch that wends along the Rio Grande. Bike sales and rentals are available next door. Kitterman credits cycling’s physical and mental health benefits for changing her life, and she launched the café to share her passion with others.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to be a cyclist to enjoy the place. Its location near the Rio Grande intersection makes it well-situated for drivers going to and from the West Side.
Open for breakfast and lunch, the café occupies the front of a pitched roof, stucco building that was once home to a Domino’s Pizza. A narrow patio wraps around the front. The inside is dominated by a counter lined with baked goods from Santa Fe’s Chocolate Maven.
During breakfast on a recent weekday morning, the low winter sun shined directly into the Alameda-facing windows, brightening every corner of the place. A large party occupied a circular table by the entrance, while a few more patrons lounged on sofas arranged around a table. Otherwise, seating choices are limited to a row of metal stools set under a few stretches of counter top along the front windows.
The menu offers a handful of selections for breakfast and lunch. Eggs turn up in burritos and breakfast sandwiches and quiches, and there are several sandwiches available.
A Bacon Breakfast Sandwich ($6.50) arrived on a square, brightly decorated plate, the croissant flattened and striped from a finish on the grill. It was an irresistible combination of fluffy eggs, crisp bacon and cheese, all bound together with a fresh croissant. Much better than the fast food versions out there, and a more generous serving size too.
Similarly ample was a piece of Spinach Quiche ($10.50), one of five varieties at Kickstand. Too large to call a slice, it needed a more appropriate descriptor: a quadrant, maybe? It was done well, with a flaky crust and lots of spinach, and the mixed greens salad piled was fresh and had enough cherry tomatoes and pickled onions to keep it interesting.
My friend’s Breakfast Burrito ($5.50), a flour tortilla wrapped around eggs, cheese and sausage, was served sliced in two and accompanied with a bowl of salsa. Though striped from the grill, the tortilla was cold.
There are numerous drink options, including the largest selection of lemonades I’ve ever seen. My blood orange lemonade ($4.50) was served in a massive plastic cup that my friend compared to a takeout container for potato salad. Intensely tart, it was a good palate cleanser.
There are both drip coffee and espresso-based drinks available including the usual suspects plus specialty offerings like a chai latte ($3) and a raspberry mocha ($4.50) with espresso, chocolate and raspberry syrup. The coffee ($2) came from a machine that from my vantage point looked like a Keurig. I did see an espresso machine, and my Americano ($2.50), espresso diluted with hot water to mute its bitter taste, was well executed, with a silky layer of crema on top.
The woman at the counter told me there are plans to start serving beer and wine in the near future.
Service was friendly and the staff all pitched in to work the counter and bus the tables. The food and drinks were served quickly. Some of the breakfast dishes can be made with gluten-free corn tortillas.
Early in our meal, the manager delivered complimentary petit fours, little brownie capsules with a white chocolate coating, to our table. Since I didn’t have my bike with me, I couldn’t go pedal off the calories; even so, I appreciated the delicious surprise. It’s emblematic of the friendly spirit at Kickstand Café.