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El Pinto gets ‘Big’ TV moment

Journal file photo

Journal file photo

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The country is about to get a little taste of life inside one of Albuquerque’s most recognizable restaurants.

El Pinto, a 52-year-old New Mexican food behemoth, will be featured in an upcoming episode of “Big Kitchens.” It will air at 9:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, on the FYI network, according to the network’s posted schedule and in subsequent scheduled reruns.

The restaurant will celebrate by hosting its own special screening of the show the following night, according to a news release. The event, set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, will include free appetizers and margarita specials until 6 p.m.

The “Big Kitchens” series “explores the mind-boggling logistics, colossal cuisine and extraordinary characters behind the world’s biggest, most extreme kitchens and restaurants,” according to the FYI website.

El Pinto, a sprawling, multi-room eatery in Albuquerque’s North Valley, can seat 1,000 people.

Here’s FYI’s description of the 30-minute El Pinto episode titled “Massive New Mexican” (including the “chili” spelling choice):

“The spiciest and biggest New Mexican restaurant in America, El Pinto is all about the chili. Based in Albuquerque, El Pinto’s massive kitchen can feed up to three thousand people a night. Originally opened in 1962, “Chile Twins” John and Jim Thomas took over the family business in 1990 and have spent decades perfecting their family restaurant to create chili-infused dishes that continue to draw millions in from across the country. Extremely busy every Saturday night, El Pinto is also hosting a pig roast with a 150lb seasoned pig cooked to perfection in their Native-American clay oven. But with hundreds of additional customers coming in just to taste a perfectly-roasted pig, the pressure is on! Although El Pinto starts out each night with three tons of food, the team struggles to keep up with the volume of orders without running out. When they do fall short on fresh green chili sauce, Jim roasts more in their fire-roasted chili tumbler.”

El Pinto is located at 10500 4th NW.

As you may recall, El Pinto has also been working on a possible reality show. A restaurant spokesman said the project is “still moving.”

 

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