La Fonda del Bosque restaurant at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Barelas had its last day under the current management on Friday.
The center’s board, which has operated the restaurant for the past three years, decided that it needed to focus on its main purpose of fundraising for the center and leave operating the restaurant to a professional restaurateur, said Gary Romero, the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s interim director.
The cultural center will put out a request for proposals to find a new operator for the restaurant and catering and concession functions performed by La Fonda. Romero hopes to have a new operator by April.
During the interim, the restaurant space will still be available to rent for special events. In the absence of catering services, renters will be able to provide their own food, Romero said.
But the breakfast and lunch menu of traditional New Mexican food made by chef Daniel Baca will be moving on.
La Fonda general manager Suzie Baca, Daniel’s wife, said they plan to look for a place to open their own restaurant.
“It’s a bittersweet ending. We’ve made so many friends,” Suzie Baca said on her next-to-last day.
The couple have run the restaurant for seven years, first under Charlie Villa, who owns the High Noon restaurant in Old Town, then the foundation.
La Fonda del Bosque has seen its share of high-profile visitors.
Walls by the restaurant entrance are filled with photos of local, national and international celebrities who have visited.
They include former President Bill Clinton, and actors Edward James Olmos and Helen Mirren.
But their main goal was to make the place feel like home.
“Our highest compliment was to hear someone say, ‘That’s just like my tia used to make it,'” Baca said.