New Mexican restaurant hits the grill in NE Albuquerque - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexican restaurant hits the grill in NE Albuquerque

Flour. Baking powder. Lard. Water. Salt.

Just five ingredients go into making the tortillas at newly-opened New Mexican restaurant Tortilla Kitchen. But according to co-owner Mike Montoya, it’s the technique that turns tortilla-making into an art.

“Making homemade tortillas is like a lost art,” Montoya said. ” … I will tell you there’s an art in how those ingredients are applied.”

Tortillas are in both the name and the heart of the restaurant at 6550 Holly NE. Instead of making a stack of tortillas in the morning, co-owner Gloria Montoya said, tortillas are made-to-order and come to the table in a tortilla warmer.

“We never have leftover tortillas,” Gloria Montoya said.

Besides being served in the restaurant and incorporated into meals like enchiladas, burritos and street tacos, their tortillas are for sale by the dozen.

They’re made in an open kitchen located in the dining room, so customers can see the cooking process. Mike Montoya was inspired by Española restaurant El Paragua, which has a similar concept.

“You can smell it, you can watch it, you know, it’s just right there in front of you,” Mike Montoya said. “Everybody who comes in, their expression is the same as it was for me when I saw that in the restaurant.”

Growing up, Mike Montoya said that tortillas never hit the plate – they would be grabbed almost straight off the skillet and buttered.

The tortilla recipe, along with menu items, belongs to Gloria Montoya. But her husband, a former firefighter, is also quite the cook, she said.

“I always call him a show-off – he cooks good,” Gloria Montoya said. “If you’ve ever gone to Smith’s, you’ll see a truckload of firemen shopping for groceries, because when they’re off, they cook. That’s what they do.”

Cooking was something that Mike Montoya wanted to keep up in retirement.

“In the firehouse, we all cook, we all share meals together,” Mike Montoya said. “We all enjoy that family kind of atmosphere, so I wanted to keep doing that after my retirement.”

Family was another motivating factor in opening the restaurant, Mike Montoya said. Besides several family members working in the restaurant, he wants to pass on the culture of food to his and Gloria’s 11 grandchildren.

“Those are some of the things we learned from our grandparents and our parents,” Mike Montoya said. “I want to extend it to our grandkids. I want them to walk in – and I want other people’s kids to walk in – and see it.”

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day.

Home » Business » New Mexican restaurant hits the grill in NE Albuquerque

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.
We want to know what you think about business ...
Your feedback will help us provide ... Your feedback will help us provide what you most want to see in the Albuquerque Journal.
State safety workers are investigating an 'incident' involving the ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Environment Department's Occupational Health and ... The Environment Department's Occupational Health and Safety Bureau is investigating an incident involving a crane at Intel's Rio Rancho plant. 
U.S.-Mexico's strained relationship in need of a reset
ABQnews Seeker
The U.S.-Mexico relationship needs a reset. ... The U.S.-Mexico relationship needs a reset. Relations were already strained when then-presidential c ...
Albuquerque junk removal company expands into pressure washing
ABQnews Seeker
A year after quitting their desk ... A year after quitting their desk jobs to start a junk removal company, Nathan Farmer and Brian Battaglia have added pressure washing to the ...
Asian stocks follow Wall St up ahead of US ...
BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stocks followed ... BEIJING (AP) -- Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher Friday ahead of a United States inflation update traders hope might prompt the Federal Reserve ...
House GOP approves broad bill to 'unleash' American energy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans on ... WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans on Thursday approved a sprawling energy package that seeks to undo virtually all of President Joe Biden's agenda to ...
State Investment Council pumps $97.5M into two 'frontier-tech' funds
ABQnews Seeker
Playground, Lux ventures to invest in ... Playground, Lux ventures to invest in high-tech startups in NM
The COVID-related era of continuous Medicaid coverage ends Friday. ...
ABQnews Seeker
Continuous enrollment - started at the ... Continuous enrollment - started at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic - automatically renewed coverage for people in the Medicaid program. New Mexico is ...
ABB plans new $40M factory in ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Electrification company will expand its current ... Electrification company will expand its current facility, add 55 jobs