Street Food Institute breaks ground on new home in Barelas - Albuquerque Journal

Street Food Institute breaks ground on new home in Barelas

Janeth Hernandez, with Chaparrita’s Ice Cream food truck, serves samples of fruit during a groundbreaking event Friday for the Barelas Central Kitchen that will be the future home of Street Food Institute. (Chancey Bush/ Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Elizabeth Bibiano, owner of vegan New Mexican restaurant Vegos, can’t say enough about her time at Street Food Institute.

“The access and resources, the plethora of knowledge — wow, holy cow,” Bibiano said.

And soon, more New Mexican foodies will be able to access those resources as Street Food Institute breaks ground on its new facility, Central Barelas Kitchen. The new building will triple its size.

When Bibiano went through the program, she said there were only a handful of other students. Now, Street Food Institute leaders said they hope it will be able to support 20 or more hopeful restaurateurs after it moves out of the Central New Mexico Community College space it currently uses.

The nonprofit, which provides business and culinary training to New Mexicans looking to open food businesses — ranging from food trucks, catering businesses, brick-and-mortar stores and wholesale businesses — celebrated the groundbreaking of its new facility on Friday. The organization has been training food-loving students since it opened in 2014.

The new 11,000-square-foot building, Barelas Central Kitchen, is scheduled to open in summer 2023.

The two-story building, which is a collaboration between Street Food Institute and nonprofit Homewise, will feature a commissary kitchen, culinary classroom, as well as office space and studios for local artists. Johanna Gilligan, senior director of community development at Homewise, described the space as an “ecosystem focused on helping small businesses.”

Jacob Chavez, of Juicy J’s, hands out samples of juice during a groundbreaking event for the Barelas Central Kitchen that will be the future home of Street Food Institute. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

“This just makes my heart burst,” said Frossene King, an alum of the program and owner of wholesale bakery Kalamata 505, who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony and served baked goods.

Other alums, including the respective owners of Hippie Dayz Brew and Juicy J’s food truck, were in attendance at the event.

Jacob Chavez, a recent graduate from the program and owner of Juicy J’s, said that Street Food Institute helped him with everything from filling out health permits to transforming the landscaping truck his dad bought into a mobile juice bar. He opened his food truck just last month.

“They’ve helped me really along the way,” Chavez said.

Tina Garcia-Shams, executive director of Street Food Institute, told the Journal that watching food entrepreneurs grow throughout Street Food Institute’s 12-month program is like being a parent.

bright spot logo“It’s like, you know, you watch them slowly take those first steps. And they’re nervous and they’re scared and they’re not sure,” Garcia-Shams said. “But they start to get that confidence and you see their confidence grow. And you see when somebody tastes their food and tells them how great it is, the pride when that happens.”

Garcia-Shams has been working at Street Food Institute since 2017. She said the new facility should increase the number of prospective business owners the program can support.

“There’s only so many businesses they can fit in the current space,” Bibiano said. “… They’ll fill those seats like crazy.”

The program has been housed at CNM since 2017, although the partnership between CNM and Street Food Institute goes back much further. Even though the program collaborates with CNM’s culinary department, Street Food Institute is open to everyone, whether or not they are CNM students.

The curriculum at Street Food Institute has three phases: a theory phase, where students learn about running a business; a practical phase, where they develop recipes and hone their cooking skills in the kitchen; and an internship phase where students cut their teeth in local kitchens.

Tina Garcia-Shams, executive director Street Food Institute, speaks during the groundbreaking for Barelas Central Kitchen, the future home of Street Food Institute in the historic Barelas neighborhood. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

Karla Moore, owner of Simply Sinful Donuts, started taking courses at Street Food Institute in 2021. She found out about the program when she heard Tania Parillo, owner of Tania’s Tasty Kitchen and alum of Street Food Institute, talking about the institute on a podcast.

“Street Food has been like a godsend to me,” Moore said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to get my brick-and-mortar.”

Moore opened her donut shop on Gold and Third last November. She said that when she has business questions, she still calls up Garcia-Shams.

“We’re just a little organization, but I hope that we have a giant impact,” Garcia-Shams said.

The new building is located at 1411 4th SW, across the street from Barelas Coffee House. The space has a history in food production — it used to be a produce bay.

“We wanted to keep that thread alive,” Gilligan said.

Homewise did a survey of Barelas in 2020 and found that a third of the respondents wanted more job training programs in the area. Garcia-Shams said she hopes that the space will be a gathering space for both students at the institute and Barelas community members.

“It’s not just a building to me — to us,” Garcia-Shams said at the event. “It’s a home. It’s going to be our home.”

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Street Food Institute breaks ground on new home in Barelas

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
California is lone holdout in Colorado River cuts proposal
ABQnews Seeker
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six western ... FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- Six western states that rely on water from the Colorado River have agreed on a model to dramatically cut water ...
Senate panel, on party-line vote, approves bill increasing minimum ...
ABQnews Seeker
A push to increase the minimum ... A push to increase the minimum age to buy certain firearms from 18 to 21 cleared its first Senate hurdle Monday, after a heated ...
Bill aimed at bolstering NM's patchwork rural health care ...
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal to tap New Mexico's ... A proposal to tap New Mexico's revenue windfall to bolster health care services in rural parts of the state where residents frequently have to ...
New Mexico bill to restrict lobbyist ‘revolving door’ advances
ABQnews Seeker
A proposal moving through the Senate ... A proposal moving through the Senate would prohibit former legislators and appointees working under the governor from returning immediately to the Roundhouse as paid ...
New Mexico’s checkerspot butterfly placed on Endangered Species List
ABQnews Seeker
With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies ... With more Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterflies being raised at the ABQ BioPark than found in the wild, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is ...
No drama for birthday llama: ABQ llama celebrates 27th ...
ABQnews Seeker
'This llama is bringing everyone together,' ... 'This llama is bringing everyone together,' says family friend
Photos: UNM Lobos men's basketball team take on Air ...
ABQnews Seeker
UNM College of Nursing programs receive high ranking from ...
ABQnews Seeker
The University of New Mexico's College ... The University of New Mexico's College of Nursing online master of science in nursing programs ...
Days after New Mexico records coldest temperature in lower ...
ABQnews Seeker
A small New Mexico village known ... A small New Mexico village known for its ski resort took the spot as one of the country's coldest places on Thursday last week. ...