Mom and pop restaurants are always a great dining option. But they’re especially appreciated when you’re on the road or want home-cooked food without, you know, actually having to cook it yourself. New Mexico has no shortage of these culinary gems. Here are 14 mom and pop restaurants that’ll make your soul smile.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. La Salita, 1217 Eubank Boulevard NE, Albuquerque
La Salita offers the friendly atmosphere and personal service you expect from a mom and pop establishment. The family owned and operated restaurant has been around since 1965. The menu features many traditional New Mexican dishes, the highlight of which is the chile rellenos, prepared in an egg-free batter.
2. Blue House Bakery and Café, 609 N Canyon Street, Carlsbad
As the name implies, the Blue House Bakery and Café is located inside an adorable house, which boasts a cozy patio. The restaurant offers the yummiest breakfast in Carlsbad.
3. La Pasadita Café, 230 Garfield Street, Socorro
This out-of-the-way café doesn’t look like much, but La Pasadita serves authentic New Mexican food that restores you. There isn’t a bad item on the menu, from blue corn enchiladas to chimichangas. Remember to bring cash.
4. Fu Yuang Korean & Chinese Restaurant, 3107 Eubank Boulevard NE, Suite 16, Albuquerque
Since 1994, this family business has been satisfying New Mexicans' cravings for Chinese and Korean cuisine. Even simple menu items amaze, and the service is great.
5. Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante, 298 Juan Medina Road, Chimayó
Rancho de Chimayó has staying power – it’s been in business for 50 years. You’re sure to feel at home in this indie restaurant because it’s located inside the family’s old house. Although it won the 2016 American Classics Award from the prestigious James Beard Foundation, Rancho de Chimayó remains unpretentious and inviting. Don’t miss the carne adovada or the sopaipillas.
6. Rodeo Grill, 714 E Sumner Avenue, Fort Sumner
This homey restaurant dishes up flavor-packed burgers, including a Billy the Kid Burger.
7. Orlando’s New Mexican Café, 1114 Don Juan Valdez Lane, Taos
When food cooked by your own family isn’t available, the meals prepared at Orlando’s may be the next best thing. This restaurant specializes in New Mexican cuisine and makes a mean posole and enchiladas. It’s a vibrant place where you’ll be tempted to linger over a slice of avocado pie.
8. Nopalito's, 310 S Mesquite Street, Las Cruces
Las Cruces supports two Nopalitos and, even though the restaurant has changed buildings since it first opened in 1964, the Gallegos family continues to run this business. The older of the two locations (on Mesquite Street) is housed in the church where J.R. and Ernestina Gallegos originally met.
To get the most bang for your buck, order a combo plate.
9. Magokoro, 5614 Menaul Boulevard NE, Albuquerque
Magokoro has a "heart to plate policy," which is just about the sweetest way of letting customers know that the food is prepared with love. This Japanese restaurant is family owned and run, and menu standouts include the unparalleled ramen and curry.
10. Viola’s Restaurant, 1360 Trinity Drive, Los Alamos
Viola’s doesn’t appear all that inviting from the outside but, inside, it’s a different story. The atmosphere is friendly, the prices low, and the lunch specials draw in locals in the know. If you stop by for breakfast, try the huevos rancheros.
11. Palacio Café, 209 E Palace Avenue, Santa Fe
Palacio Café’s warm and comfy vibe and scrumptious food makes it a local favorite. The artwork on the walls and small space contribute to the feeling that you’re a guest in someone’s home. If you want a familiar breakfast, the eggs benedict never disappoints but, if you’re up for branching out, order Rocky’s breakfast tacos.
12. 1st Street Café, 1600 W Santa Fe Avenue, Grants
While the soups of the day vary, the quality of the food at 1st Street Café is consistently high. The menu at this indie joint includes sandwiches like the Reuben and French dip – comfort food to be sure.
13. Fratelli’s Bistro, 1209 N Highway 491, Gallup
This family-run business specializes in comfort food like pizza and chicken wings. If you find carbs soothing, you'll be relaxed in no time at Fratelli's Bistro.
14. La Herradura, 1901 N Pine Street, Artesia
La Herradura delivers down home, New Mexican food that tastes like your favorite relative cooked it – the one who guards the family recipes. This restaurant is known for making some of the best tacos in the state.
If you’re committed to supporting New Mexico’s indie restaurants, here are some more
suggestions for places that dish up home-cooked food.