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Garduño’s featured on ‘Breaking Bad’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One of New Mexico’s most famous restaurant chains received some national TV exposure during Sunday night’s episode of the popular AMC show “Breaking Bad.”

The Garduño’s restaurant at Winrock provided the setting for a tense confrontation among a quartet of main characters, including teacher-turned-kingpin Walter White (played by star Bryan Cranston).

The restaurant was name-checked in the scene by the waiter, who provided a dose of levity with his enthusiastic recommendation of the tableside guacamole appetizer — an actual Garduño’s menu item.

“I wish they would’ve had our (guacamole) cart right there, but they (the characters) didn’t order it,” Garduño’s co-owner Tug Herig said Monday morning.

Herig — who owns the chain with Southwest Brands partners Jim Long and Jack Harney — said it was exciting to be part of the process and also to have the Garduño’s name broadcast to a large audience.

”That was part of my negotiations,” Herig said, adding that his stipulations also included the scene have no murders or drug use.

The scene was shot in April, closing the restaurant for a full day. Herig declined to say how much the production paid but said that it wasn’t really about the money.

“It was more about the exposure and being part of a show that really helps put Albuquerque on the map,” he said.

“Breaking Bad” is filmed and set in Albuquerque. The hit drama is now in its final season.

Southwest Brands has worked to re-establish the Garduno’s brand since buying it out of bankruptcy two years ago. For more on some of those efforts, check out my retail column in today’s Business Outlook.