Sips and Tips - Santa Fe Restaurant and Bar News -


Santa Fe has another James Beard nominee

The James Beard Foundation semifinalist nominations for Best Chef: Southwest came out last week and Santa Fe’s very own Fernando Olea is on the list! The Sazón chef/owner is getting the recognition he deserves with this nomination for his take on Mexican cuisine. The Southwest region covers Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma.

After a rough year where Sazón suffered extensive fire damage and was closed for months, the news must be a little bit of karma for years of hard work, and no small amount of suffering. Thankfully, the restaurant is back open, so get in there and enjoy some of Olea’s delicious mole.


What’s up in the Railyard?

Wondering what’s going on in the Railyard? There’s no official move-in dates, but surely we can’t be too far away from Bosque Brewing moving into half of the old Flying Star just across from Violet Crown. They are one of New Mexico’s better breweries, so should provide good competition to the Santa Fe breweries.

The other portion of the building will be occupied by Wayward Sons distillery. They are a new operation focused on coffee-based spirits. If that isn’t your thing, don’t worry, as local producers can pour other New Mexico-made spirits.

These additions, plus the restaurants coming the Railyard, should draw a ton of new people to the area and make it a true alternative to the plaza.

Got any tips you want to send us? Reach out to [email protected]

The Food Hall Craze is (Finally) Hitting Santa Fe, Plus We’re Getting Rad!

Soon Santa Fe will have two – yes two – food halls. (Wondering what a food hall is?) The first will be in the Luna Center downtown in the old Talin Market space. Aptly named Chomp, the new place should be open in the next month, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican. It will feature space for 18 food vendors, including prepared foods, dry goods, as well as a pizza joint and a wine and cocktail bar. Sounds like the parking lot is always going to be full now.

The new food hall at Santa Fe Place Mall won’t have to ever worry about parking. Say what you will about malls, but SF Place owners Espinosa Realty Group have put a ton of resources into refreshing the mall and it is becoming a hub of the south side along with the development on Zafarano. Stay tuned for more details on who is coming to the food hall.

Also coming to the mall is a truly rad place — Rad Retrocade. It will be 9,000 square feet of retro pinball and video games, a full restaurant and a bar. We’ve been to the original location in Las Cruces and can tell you that this place should be amazing if it’s anything like the one down south. Time to revert back to our mall-rat days! Pegged jeans are optional.

Another Santa Fe Chef has beaten Bobby Flay!

The Food Network loves Santa Fe, and for good reason. We really are spoiled for good chefs and restaurants in Santa Fe, whether it’s fine dining, New Mexican, or more international fare like Indian Cuisine. To that end, the owner of Raaga-Go Pramad “Paddy” Rawal beat Bobby Flay! The Food Network’s latest episode of Beat Bobby Flay aired Sunday. In case you were watching the Super Bowl, Rawal won with his delicious chicken tikka masala. This isn’t Rawal’s first Food Network rodeo, either. In 2016 he appeared on Chopped, though he was less successful that time around.

If you want to see a clip of Rawal winning his duel with Bobby Flay, check it out here. If you’re having a hankering for some delicious Indian food, check out Raaga-Go’s menu and then stop in to see them on Old Santa Fe Trail near Rio Chama Steakhouse or call in to order carry-out. They have a huge menu, including loads of vegetarian options.

A New Face on an Old Coffee Place

If you happen to traverse St. Michael’s Drive on a regular basis, you’ll notice that the old Hava Java stand in the parking lot on the southwest corner of St. Mikes and Llano has a new name and a spruced up image. The new Agapo Coffee and Tea is taking over the 20 year reign of the old owner Cecilia Gonzales, according the Santa Fe New Mexican. Agapo supplies coffee and tea to locations around the state, so expect it to have consistent quality. The paper reports the new coffee joint will open by this Friday, February 7.

Some Meow Wolf Faces Making a Mark in Albuquerque

With the success of Meow Wolf, it’s only natural that ideas, concepts and even employees are spinning off to do new things. That is true with two former Meow Wolfers who have just opened up Electric Playhouse in Albuquerque. John Feins, the former marketing manager, and Drew Tulchin, the former CFO, have helped create the ABQ interactive experience with a team that is hoping to take the concept nation-wide.

While Electric Playhouse is borrowing on some of the ideas from Meow Wolf, its focus is more oriented to games and food — kind of like a psychedelic Dave & Busters. The food portion of the experience interests us greatly, as you can create custom experiences for groups, parties, etc. So if you wanted to have an outer-space themed retirement party, they can do that. Check it out.

A new restaurant is taking over the old Palace

You heard it here second! The New Mexican reports that a new surf n turf joint is moving into what was once the Palace. While the location itself has seen a host of tenants since The Palace was sold by Lino Pertusini (of Pizza da Lino and Osteria) in 2003, but this time could be different.

The new Palace Prime Steakhouse is being set up by local culinary celeb Charles Dale, who is coming out of retirement (briefly, anyway) to help design the space and menu for the new restaurant. If you don’t know Dale, you do know his creations under the New Mexico Fine Dining name: Tratoria a Mano, Lucky Goat, Maize (now closed) and the upcoming reopening of Bobcat Bite.

Another, perhaps larger, celeb will man the kitchen – Fernando Ruiz. He’s been a mainstay in Santa Fe kitchens for years, but is best known for a winning streak on the Food Network that saw him win Guys Grocery Games, Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay…pretty impressive in our book.

So far there’s no word on whether the naked Indian painting or red velvet wallpaper will remain from the old Palace. You’ll just have to check it out when the place opens this spring.

Santa Fe restaurant Sazón has reopened. Finally!

Big news in the Santa Fe restaurant scene this week! One of Santa Fe’s best restaurants, Sazón, finally reopened late last week after a monthslong shutdown due to a fire back in May.

While the fire damaged mostly non-dining and kitchen space, the restaurant struggled with city inspections in the historic area of downtown, the New Mexican reported. Apparently insurance issues also delayed the reopening.

The Sazón experience should be familiar to the restaurant’s devoted fans. The menu is the same, including chef Olea’s delectible molés. Even the waitstaff is the same as the restaurant has been paying its employees since the fire.


The new beer hall at Santa Fe Brewing opens this Friday

(Dec 17) Santa Fe Brewing is opening its beautiful new beer hall at its brewery location off Highway 14 this Friday, Dec 20. The three story building has amazing views of the surrounding mountains and their website even mentions a garden, though it’s probably not much to look at this time of year.

The new beer hall will of course have all the Santa Fe Brewing beers on tap, plus cider and wine from various New Mexico producers. The new joint will also have a limited menu, including tacos, fries, frito pies, etc.

The new space does have accommodations for private parties, too. There is no word so far on what will happen to the existing taproom space or the Bridge across the parking lot from the beer hall.

Welcome to Sips & Tips! This new column is where we talk about the cool things happening in the Santa Fe food & drink scene! Have a hot tip on a new restaurant opening, an amazing success story or just something really cool? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll get it in to our site that gets more than a million pageviews a year.

A Santa Fe Restaurant Controversy?

Yesterday was opening day for the Chipotle at intersection of St. Francis and Cerrillos. The national chain touts its responsibly sourced ingredients, massive portions and quick service that has proven successful around the country.

In a town that has always prided itself on supporting local restaurants, the fast-casual restaurant is apparently controversial. The Santa Fe New Mexican on Sunday published comments from its Facebook users that tended to be negative. The consensus, at least in this case, seems to be that locals want to support their favorite New Mexican and Mexican burrito joints.

But we’re left to wonder if Santa Fe locals are really that loyal to local eats or if this is just a vocal few who are letting their opinions be known. A lunch-time drive-by of any number of chains — we’re looking at you Taco Bell and Chik-fil-A — will confirm that loads of people support the national chains.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook.


Lucky Goat Hopes for New Luck in Sandoval Location + Bobcat Bite

Downtown Santa Fe has a new asian fusion restaurant. Lucky Goat opened a couple weeks ago in the same spot where Capitol Kitchen used to be. The menu focuses on asian comfort-food dishes like pho, rice and noodle dishes, Korean wings, seafood and more. If you’re not sure which type of asian food you’re in the mood for, this could be the place because they have cuisine inspired by Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. Check out their menu.

Lucky Goat is run by New Mexico Find Dining, which also has Trattoria a Mano and Bouche Bistro in their portfolio. Word has it that they are under construction at the original Bobcat Bite location on Old Las Vegas Highway, too. No word on when it will open, but they do intend to use the original grill from 1953, according to an article in the New Mexican.

Off the Chainé

If you’re in to beautiful baked goods, check out the new Chainé Cookie Shop downtown at 131 Water Street. Owner Chaine Pena is focusing on the best ingredients in an artful presentation that elevates the cookie experience. And really we should be calling them for what they are: macarons. And they make a great present for that holiday party at your boss’s house. There’s not much on the website yet (though the pics look delicious), so you’ll just have to stop in to check it out.


Chili Line opens in Lamy & Jimmy D’s closes

After being a low-key player in the Santa Fe beer scene for a few years, Chili Line Brewing is finding its groove. A slight tweak in style has seen them go from heavily smoked beers (if you haven’t tried a smoked beer, you must) to more offerings that appeal to more people. You’ll still find some uniques styles, mind, but there’s also a pilsner and IPA, sans smoke, in the mix. They also are doing some food that doesn’t borrow fromt the menu at next door Pizza da Lino. While it may be ubiquitous, you have to love a good green chile burger to go with that beer.

With the flagship running well, the brewery has opened a new location in the Lamy train station. The small taproom of course offers the full range of Chili Line beers as well as food for the hungry travelers. Make a trip of it with a morning hike at the Galisteo Basin Preserve and lunch at the Lin.

In other news, the restaurant that replaced Santa Fe Bite at Garett’s Desert Inn last year, Jimmy D’s is no more. While Sips & Tips never had a chance to dine there, we’re told it’s American fare was pretty decent. This is the second restaurant (Maize) from the New Mexico Fine Dining group that has gone under since it was formed in 2017 with investors Jennifer and Jimmy Day and chef Charles Dale. This year Dale, who is an investor in the group that include Trattoria A Mano and Bouche Bistro, stepped away from day-to-day operations.


Vote for Totemoff’s as the Best Slopeside Watering Hole in North America!

Ski season is just around the corner, so it apropos that USA Today’s 10 Best is looking to choose the best apres ski bars in North America. The fact that little ole’ Totemoff’s has made the nominees list is quite a feat. They are up against some of the big resorts: A-Basin, Aspen, Breck, Alta, Whistler…you get the picture. The competition generally are from the big resorts that get tons and tons of visitors every season.

The timing of the nomination is great as Totemoff’s has been remodeled for this upcoming 2019/2020 season. We haven’t seen the changes yet, but they assure us the remodel has been made with the goal of reducing the size of lines to get food and drinks. They have also added the Tram Car Bar outside the deck area to alleviate some of the congestion. And yes, it is an old tram car, which we think is pretty cool.

Of course we know how special Ski Santa Fe and Totemoff’s are, so it’s imperative you vote as much as possible. There are 5 days left and it looks like you can vote every 8 hours.


The Best Sports Bar in New Mexico is Santa Fe’s Very Own Boxcar

Santa Fe’s very own Boxcar has been voted best Sports Bar in New Mexico, reports. We’ve always enjoyed Boxcar for it’s mix of a bajillion sportsball screens, a great beer list (and some killer cocktails, too) and some pretty stellar pub food made fresh every day. Apparently lots of others agree because they have been giving Boxcar a lot of great Yelp reviews, which is where pulled the list.

According to the site, they measured using an algorithm that looks at the number of reviews and star rating for a business. Yelp actually sent the top three sports bar options for each state. If the first option didn’t appear to be a true sports bar or at least a bar that screens games, they removed and went to the next in line.

The article actually lists to top sports bar in every state, in case you are interested. Or check out our other restaurants in Santa Fe.


Geronimo Is One of the Best Restaurants in the Country

One of Santa Fe’s favorite restaurants is one of the best in the United States! That’s according to Trip Advisor, anyway. The mega travel review site just labeled the Santa Fe mainstay the 5th best fine dining restaurant in the country.

That’s a serious accolade considering the competition. Daniel Boulud’s restaurant Daniel in NYC takes top spot on the list, which is perhaps a bit less surprising than some of the others that ranked in the top 10. Then again, the rankings are determined by those who have paid money to eat at these places, so maybe they’re worth a little more than those who get paid to review restaurants. Maybe…

Here’s the list:

  1. Daniel, NYC
  2. Hall’s Chophouse, Charleston, SC
  3. GW Fins, New Orleans, LA
  4. Lahaina Grill, Lahaina, HI
  5. Geronimo, Santa Fe (woot woot!)
  6. Charleston Grill, Charleston, SC
  7. Peninsula Grill, Charleston, SC
  8. Mama’s Fish House, Paia, HI
  9. Merriman’s, Waimea, HI
  10. The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Miami Beach, FL

And also, what’s up with all the Charleston restaurants? We’ve heard it’s a lovely town and we know it competes directly with Santa Fe to attract visitors, so it makes you wonder what they are doing to get all these votes. Are they really doing it better than we are? We’d like to hear from you on our Facebook page.

Santa Fe Brewing Completes New Brewhouse, Poised for Domination

We kind of take Santa Fe Brewing for granted seeing as how they’ve been in town for decades. But they are building something amazing in their new brewhouse off of Highway 14.

On Monday, Oct 6, they brewed their first production batch of their flagship 7k IPA in the new 70-barrel brewhouse. The additional brewing capacity means they can scale to 200,000 barrels of beer annually. (BTW, a barrel is measured as 31 gallons, so they can brew 6.8 million gallons).

Santa Fe Brewing said in a press release that they have added seven full-time staff and multiple part-time positions to meet the growth of the company. This will only continue as they bring the new brewery taproom online and continue to add more locations around the state and more sales people around the region. VP of Sales Jarrett Babincsak said they plan for two more taprooms in New Mexico in the next year or so.

That’s a ton of room for growth, as the brewery is currently producing just shy of 33,000 barrels. The new brewhouse comes in the nick of time as they have had to prioritize certain markets so they didn’t run out of beer. Thankfully, the most important market was New Mexico, so we never had to go without the beloved 7k or the new Social Hour.

Those in Kansas and Missouri weren’t so lucky. They’ll just have to come visit the new two-story beer hall (yes, not just a tap room but a beer hall!!) when it is complete. Dates are tentative, but it sounds like it will be before the holiday season. We’ll keep you posted once we know more.

Santa Fe Brewing is #7 in the Mountain West region according to the Brewer’s Association. They are only one of two breweries in the top 10 to experience growth (approximately 20% year over year, 40% over 2017) and the other one is owned – and capitalized – by AB Inbev, the megacorporation that owns Budweiser and is buying up micro-breweries across the country in an attempt to buy marketshare to make up for sluggish Bud and Bud Light sales.


Santa Fe Bite Reopened!

We were all sad when Santa Fe Bite closed its doors on its downtown location last year. Mind, there are some good burgers in town, but theirs really were the were the best, weren’t they? Plus the location was casual, the prices were reasonable and there was parking.

Well, apparently the Eckre’s really weren’t hanging up their hats for good. We don’t know why they decided to reopen — probably because everyone was clamoring for those green chile cheeseburgers — but we are oh so glad they did.

The new location is on St. Michael’s drive, where Tecolote used to be, at 1616 St. Michael’s Drive. The doors are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so get over there now! Check out their Facebook for more info.

The Pantry, Two

Speaking of Santa Fe restaurant icons, The Pantry has opened its long-awaited second location, The Pantry Dos. So far the new location is getting great reviews for its modern decor and the fact they have the favorites you have come to know over the decades. And did we mention the wait times are miniscule? Sounds like a great reason to check it out.

The new location is south of town, just off Richards Ave in Oshara Village. The address is 20 White Feather, 87508. Get more info on their website.

Oct, 8: Gold Medal Beer Right Here in Santa Fe!

Rowley Farmhouse Ales is having an amazing year. Last weekend they won three medals at the Great American Beer Fest. And get this: that’s more than any other brewery in the country. That’s some serious beer considering there were 2,295 breweries that entered almost 9,500 beers in 107 categories from one of Santa Fe’s smallest breweries.

Their winning brews were Meier, a German-style sour ale (gold); Agent Orange for Wood and Barrel-aged Sour Beer (silver); and Cote d’Or (Double Cerise) for Mixed-Culture Brett Beer (bronze).

Yesterday the brewery was written up in the Food & Wine magazine website, which gets millions of views every month. Owner John Rowley was super humble in his interview, telling the magazine, “We won a competition. That’s it. We try to make the best beer we can, and we entered beers we had on hand that we felt were peaking at the right time. Merely winning a competition doesn’t make you the best at anything. It simply means you scored well at a given point in time… All this said, we are excited and humbled to be recognized for our passion towards making better beer.”

On top of that, Rowley will be featured on the iconic Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives this Friday, October 11. The brewery will have a watch party at 7 pm and everyone is invited.

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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