Boxcar in the Railyard

Santafe.com - March 27, 2018

Santa Fe's hot spot

When Boxcar pulled in to the heart of the Railyard in 2015, it brought with it a freight train full of fun. A combination sports bar, gastropub and live music venue, the spacious, split-floor spot filled in some major pieces that had been missing from Santa Fe's entertainment scene for quite some time.

A place to eat after hours? Boxcar serves delectable, affordable fare until 1:30 am, Monday through Saturday. Multiple TVs for cheering on the sport teams of your choice? Boxcar's got 14 of those, recently tuned in to March Madness, golf, soccer, hockey and more. As for music, the sky's the limit. Dance to reggae, rock, ska, Latin rock, the rhythms of South America and other musical genres. They'll all get you moving on the custom dance floor that's awash in a sea of changing color from state-of-the-art-lights.

In short, Boxcar is the place to be, not just for enjoying exciting games, local and touring musical acts and food served at all hours, but for meeting friends for a night on the town, a weekend brunch or a laid-back lunch. Whenever you choose to drop in, the friendly staff will greet you and make you feel at home. Yes, Boxcar is that kind of hang-out, where it seems like everyone really does know your name.

The menu offers a creative combination of comfort food and upscale fare, unlike what you'd find at other sports bars. Boxcar calls itself a gastropub and its fare fits the bill, “a pub specializing in high-quality food.” The menu highlights fresh local ingredients—including organic, as much as possible—and forbids anything frozen. The Santa Fe Farmers' Market, after all, sits outside Boxcar's back door and its produce played a big role when the menu was in development.

Some of the Boxcar appetizer hits include jalapeño poppers, stuffed with New Mexico Tucumcari cheddar and cream cheese, wrapped with bacon and fried in a light tempura. It's a starter but could easily stand in for a main course. Shrimp and grits are another satisfying starter, made with marinated seared black tiger shrimp paired with creamy grits bearing a smoky flavor.

The salads are fresh and delicious and will remind you that the farmer's market is just outside. In fact, one salad is named is named for our famous farmer's market, bearing health and happiness on a plate full of beets, arugula and a goat cheese croquette, all drizzled in roasted balsamic vinaigrette. Entrées include a wide range of burgers, a hearty Nebraskan Pan Handle Plate starring a 45-day aged, grass-fed ribeye. There's also chicken and waffles, fish and chips you can order with black squid ink batter, and the irresistible Boxcar Mac & Cheese, heaped with bacon, braised short rib, chicken breast and green chile.

Boxcar's menu is designed to be affordable. Indeed, the lunch basket specials are probably some of the best meal deals in town. For only $5 to $8, you can savor a mouth-watering sloppy joe, a rich vegetable quesadilla, freshly made house-made tacos stuffed with veggies and more.

The chef behind Boxcar's success is David Mora, who used to work at Arroyo Vino and knows a thing or two about fantastic food. The owners of Boxcar who hired him, Sylwia Handzel and Tate Mruz, used to work at Junction, the restaurant formerly occupying the space. In fact, that's where they met, fell in love and decided to partner as business owners so they could transform it into a place where locals and visitors alike felt welcome and well-fed.

Boxcar not only has a wide-ranging menu with an array of enticing choices, its entertainment schedule is chock-a-block full, too. DJs regularly take the stage, playing a range of music, and local and touring bands perform regularly too. Tuesdays are devoted to Geeks Who Drink, a live trivia and drinking competition with giveaways that starts at 8 pm.

So whether you're in the mood to belly up to the 24-seat bar and sip on craft beer or cocktails as you root for your sports team, take a seat at a table to feast on gastropub fare, or fuel up on food while listening to live music, Boxcar is the place for you.