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Burgers, wings just part of new eatery’s offerings

The name says it all – or pretty close to it.

bizO-Dyer_Jessica_BizOAlbuquerque’s new BullChicks restaurant serves – are you ready to have your mind blown? – burgers and chicken wings.

A whole lot of them, in fact.

BullChicks, 4400 Wyoming NE, has 20 burgers on its menu, from a bacon burger to a bleu cheese burger to turkey, veggie and even tuna burgers. They run $5.49-$6.49 each and arrive on freshly baked buns.

Wings, meanwhile, come in 10 flavors, including mesquite barbecue, tequila lime and chipotle ranch. Customers can order a “fire” flavor, too, picking their heat preference anywhere along a spectrum that runs 1-10. (A level-15 version is also available to customers who take on the BullChicks’ “fire wing challenge,” a tongue assault so intense they must first sign a waiver.)

But BullChicks – a small Corpus Christi, Texas-based fast-casual chain – works outside the burger-and-wing realm, too.

BullChicks has opened at 4400 Wyoming NE, the former home of Just Muffin Around. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

BullChicks has opened at 4400 Wyoming NE, the former home of Just Muffin Around. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

In fact, the brand’s so-called “20-20-20 menu” includes just as many salads and wrap choices as burger options. Wraps ($5.49-$6.49) get stuffed with everything from teriyaki chicken to grilled tilapia. Many of the same options exist on the salad menu.

Customers also have their pick of 16 different sandwiches.

“We specialize in picky eaters,” says the chain’s website. “Our versatile menu options work for anyone.”

Franchisee Jay Bhakta brought BullChicks to Albuquerque as part of a career shift.

“I was looking into getting into food service and a partner of mine bought the (company’s) rights in Arizona, and they wanted to open up here,” says Bhakta, who has worked in the construction industry and at his family’s motel in Las Vegas, N.M. “I went to try the food out and it was awesome. The food was good; the burgers were good. I figured it might work here in Albuquerque.”

Bhakta says most items on the menu feature the special BullChicks house sauce, which he describes as a mayo-mustard blend punched up with various herbs and spices.

While it’s not standard for the chain, the Albuquerque location will also serve green chile.

“I was pretty much told if we don’t put green chile on our menu, I shouldn’t even open,” Bhakta says.

BullChicks occupies the old Just Muffin Around spot at Montgomery and Wyoming NE. A couple of TVs offer entertainment in the remodeled, 32-seat dining room, but Bhakta says he isn’t trying to make it into a sports bar. He may ultimately apply for a beer and wine license, but says, “I want it to be a family atmosphere.”

BullChicks is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 639-5430.

A little something spicy

Bullchicks isn’t the only new addition at the Montgomery Crossing shopping center.

A national retail chain called Penzeys Spices will soon join the mix with a new 3,300-square-foot location at 4410 Wyoming NE. Penzeys will take over most of the old India Palace suite, according to Ben Perich of Colliers International’s Albuquerque office, who represented the shopping center.

This is the first New Mexico location for Penzeys, though the Wisconsin-based chain already has stores in 29 other states.

Penzeys – which uses the tagline “love to cook, cook to love” – should begin work on the space this week and Perich says the company is targeting a summer opening.

Looking for a boot (or heel) bargain?

Shoe fanatics, make some room in your closet.

Shoe Stop opened last month on Menaul near Pennsylvania to sell name-brand shoes for men and women at a single price: $29.99. Among the current 1,000-pair inventory, you can find the likes of Franco Sarto, Bandolino, Calvin Klein, Coach and Clarks.

How is that possible, you ask?

Well, the shoes have a little bit of history – perhaps they previously served as the display model at a department store or maybe they were customer returns. Shoe Stop buys such shoes in bulk from a wholesaler. Some have scuffs or other signs of use, but others lining the store’s racks look in near-perfect condition.

“Some of them still have the tags on them. Some of them have boxes,” says Wes King, who owns Shoe Stop with Jon Welch, Scott Bannister and Rick Morales.

The group opened a similar store in Las Cruces last fall, though it specializes in athletic shoes. King says they plan to continue expanding the model into other markets.

Shoe Stop is located at 7401 Menaul NE. It’s open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday. The phone number is 881-5109.

Prepare for Piatanzi

Piattini, we hardly knew thee.

The year-old small-plates Italian restaurant at 1403 Girard NE will soon become Piatanzi, a name change that comes amid legal pressure from another Piattini eatery on the East Coast.

Maggie Lukes, who owns the Albuquerque restaurant with husband and chef Pete Lukes, says the new name will take effect by mid-June.

While Piattini means “small plates” in Italian, Piatanzi has no formal translation, but was chosen to make the transition a little less difficult.

“It was the closest thing we could come up with where we were able to maintain our logo,” Lukes says.

The new identity isn’t the only thing brewing for the Lukes. They’re also preparing to expand by opening a second location at 3305 Juan Tabo NE later this year.

WisePies headed to I-25 corridor

Albuquerque’s homegrown build-your-own pizza chain is expanding yet again.

Just over a year after WisePies Pizza & Salad launched its brand, the company has a fifth Albuquerque restaurant in the works. Spokeswoman Season Elliott says a franchisee expects to open a WisePies at Interstate 25 and Jefferson – next to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit – by late spring.

Store No. 4, by the way, is slated to open March 18 in Nob Hill, she says.

So much more!

• Camino Real Winery and Painting Parties Plus have launched a joint venture at 8420 Firestone NE (off Jefferson, near Alameda). It’s a tasting room but also a “sip and paint studio” that hosts painting classes ($35 per person) and group events.

• A local Little Caesars franchisee is working on a new West Side store. Alfredo Barrenechea says his new location at Unser and Paradise NW should be open by early summer.

• Notice all the activity at the northwest corner of Louisiana and Montgomery? That’s a new Smith’s gas station and it’s expected to open in April.

• Pita Taza has ended its run at 7441 Paseo del Norte NE. Landlord Eddy Burgarello says the Mediterranean grill shuttered a couple of weeks ago and he’s now seeking a new tenant for the 2,500-square-foot restaurant slot.

• Melrose Family Fashions has opened its new store at 3300 San Mateo NE.

Catching up …

Marble Brewery recently completed a redesign of the interior of its Downtown location at 111 Marble NW. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Marble Brewery recently completed a redesign of the interior of its Downtown location at 111 Marble NW. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

In case you missed these on my blog:

• Marble Brewery recently completed a pub redesign at its Downtown location, 111 Marble NW. The remodel features a new indoor stage, 50 more seats and custom furniture.

• Starbucks is working on a couple of new stores in Albuquerque, according to building permits filed with the city of Albuquerque. That includes a new site at Montgomery and San Mateo NE on the property that previously housed Pancho’s Mexican Buffet.

• Kouture Konsignment, located at 136 Washington NE, has closed its doors after less than a year in business so owner Julia Jones can pursue a digital marketing position for the parent company of Plug.Solar.

If you have retail news to share, contact me at or 823-3864. For more regular updates on Albuquerque shopping and restaurant news, visit my blog at or follow @abqdyer on Twitter.