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New downtown cafe a dream come true

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A dream has been realized with the opening of Cafe Lush.

Husband-and-wife team Tom Docherty and Sandy Gregory have been in the restaurant business for 40 years, but with the opening of Cafe Lush at 700 Tijeras NW, they now have a restaurant of their own — something Docherty, a chef, has always wanted.

“He just wouldn’t change his mind,” Gregory told the Journal. “I couldn’t talk him out of it. He’s always wanted his own place.”

The cafe opened mid-June in 775 square feet at 7th Street and Tijeras NW after about 10 months of construction on the historic Downtown building that most recently housed Gold Rush Cupcakes.

The couple spent $75,000 renovating the space and also received a $10,000 grant from the Downtown Action Team to make improvements to the exterior of the building. New bathrooms and a kitchen were added to the premises, among other changes.

“We chose this location because we have lived down in this location for 30 years,” Gregory said. “We wanted to be in our neighborhood. Downtown to me could always use an uplift and another good restaurant.”

Cafe Lush serves breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, you’ll find burritos, enchiladas, called lushladas, and pizza with a potato crust, eggs and chile. Lunch options include sandwiches — named after the couple’s friends — wraps, pizzas and salads.

“The menu isn’t real big. The place isn’t real big,” Gregory said. “We wanted to have really good sandwiches.”

All dressings and sauces are made in-house, Docherty said. Docherty most recently was the executive chef at the Radisson Hotel & Water Park.

Local and organic ingredients are used when possible, the pair said.

“We’ve done organic for so long, we wanted to serve food we would eat at home,” Docherty said.

The cafe also offers coffee and espresso drinks, pastries, and desserts. Menu items cost $8.95 and under. Cafe Lush offers seating for 16 inside and 30 outside.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more, call 508-0164 or visit

Speaking of cupcakes

If your taste buds were intrigued by the earlier cupcake mention, here’s some information to satisfy your curiosity.

Gold Rush Cupcakes opened in June 2009 at 700 Tijeras NW and moved to the Galleria building at 3rd Street and Copper NW about a year ago. The eatery offers lunch and all kinds of different cupcakes in 500 to 600 square feet of space.

“It’s not a bigger location, but a better location,” said owner Melanie Gold. “There are more people walking by and we are by the Convention Center.”

Gold says Gold Rush specializes in cream cheese frosting. You can even order a shot of frosting — served in a chocolate tea cup — for $1 at Gold Rush.

“Cream cheese frosting is what most people are connecting with,” she said. “It’s not too sweet.”

Cupcakes are available in a variety of flavors and mini, regular and jumbo sizes. Bananas foster is the most popular cupcake flavor, Gold says. That’s a vanilla bean cake with cream filling and banana frosting. A regular-sized cupcake costs $2.

Gold Rush at 20 First Plaza in “Sweet” 211 also serves sandwiches, salads and soups for lunch. A daily lunch special offers a sandwich, side, drink and cupcake for $7.95. Gold Rush also makes cakes and offers catering.

Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 247-4653 or visit for more.

Paradise Bakery & Café

There’s a new chain coming to town that emphasizes fresh, made-from-scratch foods.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based chain Paradise Bakery & Café will open next month at Coronado Center, offering freshly baked breads, cookies, muffins, bagels as part of its breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.

Construction started at the beginning of July at the southeast corner of the mall, in a shell inside the Kohl’s space. The location is a sublease through Kohl’s, said Randy Sanchez, general manager of Coronado Center.

The nearly 6,000-square-foot location will be the first Paradise in New Mexico.

“It’s a new market for us and we are really excited to be coming there,” said Louie Kizis, director of marketing for Paradise Bakery & Café Inc. “It’s different. We have not opened in a new market in a long time.”

She said when the Albuquerque location opens next month — around the company’s 35th anniversary — other Paradise Bakery & Café locations will also open in Tucson and St. George, Utah.

Paradise Bakery & Café, owned by Panera Bread, a St. Louis-based company, plans to open another Albuquerque location by the end of the year, Kizis said. The company is also planning another three or four locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe that will open next year.

There are 64 Paradise locations in 10 states, including the Albuquerque cafe.

The company is hiring 50 part-time and full-time positions for the new Albuquerque location.

Hours will be Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit for more or to apply for a position.

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