ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jenni Zullo’s restaurant dream was born in Minneapolis, but it will become a reality in Albuquerque.
The Minnesota transplant and her father expect to open Zullo’s Bistro this spring at 509 Central NW, filling a Downtown vacancy created two years ago with Blackbird Buvette’s closure.
Zullo’s will specialize in Italian food, particularly pasta dishes featuring Jenni Zullo’s red sauces — including a green chile red sauce. It will also have a full liquor license.
Zullo, 26, is a first-time restaurateur but said both she and her father, Mike, have worked in the industry.
She had originally considered Minneapolis for her own venture but called the market “crazy expensive.” When her mom took a job at Sandia National Labs and her parents moved to Albuquerque five years ago, the Duke City captured her attention.
“People here are so friendly, and that’s what made me fall in love with the place when I visited … Coming here was a breath of fresh air. I was like ‘You know what? I want to be here. I want to live here,'” she said.
Zullo settled on the Downtown location after considering several different areas around Albuquerque. Her new spot is 2,300 square feet, according to Brecken Mallette, the leasing broker from landlord Peterson Properties.
Downtown feels increasingly vibrant, Zullo said, noting that she is located on the same block as the new Burt’s Tiki Lounge and the forthcoming 505 Central mixed-use project.
“All around where we are it’s literally growing, and I’m just so excited to be part of it,” she said.