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Local Buyers Love Garduno’s Brand, Plan to Continue It

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It looks like Garduño’s has a buyer — and a local one at that.

The partners in Synergy Ventures Inc., who are also partners in Keva Juice Southwest have reached an agreement with the trustee in the Tortilla Inc., parent company of Garduño’s, Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

They have agreed to pay $1.75 million for two locations, two liquor licences, recipes and more, according to court documents filed in the case this week.

Synergy, a local 24-year-old Albuquerque company,would get the “Winrock Restaurant” in Uptown and the “Westside restaurant” next to Cottonwood Mall, including “liquor licenses, intellectual property, recipes, trademarks, trade names, furniture, fixtures, equipment and inventory,” if the deal is approved by the court.

Synergy’s partners are Jack Harney, Tug Herig and hotelier Jim Long — Valley High School friends who are also partners in Keva Juice Southwest.

Herig told the Journal on Friday that if the sale goes through, they plan on keeping the Garduño’s brand going — something the trustee had hoped to achieve.

“We bought Keva four years ago and kept the brand,” Herig said. “Garduno’s has a tremendous brand and track record.”

He said the menu may get minor changes, but the basics of the restaurant will remain the same — including their signature margaritas.

“We grew up in New Mexico, my two partners and myself. We’ve been part of the family that have been going to Garduño’s for years on 4th Street (the original location). …Our goal is to maintain to culture of New Mexico,” Herig said.

The court motion seeks approval of the sale of Tortilla Inc.’s assets free and clear of liens to Synergy Ventures Inc. Three creditors claim to have secured debt in the case — AdvanceMe Inc. at more than $1 million, state Tax and Revenue at $900,000 and IRS at almost $500,000.

Michael Caplan, the trustee in the case, told the Journal on Friday that the three would not be paid in full from the sale, if approved. “They will certainly get a big chunk of cash,” he said.

Debts to three liquor wholesalers will be paid in full from the sale of the two liquor licenses, he said. Other debts from the other three closed Garduño’s locations will be paid once those liquor licenses are sold, the motion states.