If you look at SantaFe.com’s archives of articles about good eats, you’ll find several mentions of The Pantry. It rates on just about everyone in the know’s lists for Santa Fe’s top breakfasts and favorite comfort food classics. I decided to write about it again, though, after a recent lunch there. Darn, I just love a place where everything works, and that more than delivers on its promise. As I thought about it, I realized I’ve felt that way for decades.
Tantalizing Menu items
Want a smothered breakfast burrito or corn flake-coated French toast, or perhaps a tortilla burger, meatloaf, or chicken-fried steak? Maybe tres leches cake or chocoflan? It’s all here, and much, much more. Because The Pantry serves breakfast all day, I can get my favorite morning sandwich/quesadilla in town, green chile and eggs oozing from its tortilla wrapper, any time. Vegetarians and gluten-free guests have options. For example, Tup’s burrito offers a corn tortilla-swathed parcel of scrambled eggs, vegs, and the famous Pantry fries, bathed in piquant red chile.
Both the owners, father-and-son team Stan and Michael Singley, have extensive culinary and management experience, and it shows. In addition to offering hearty tasty meals, they’ve put together a hard-working, cheerful team of efficient cooks and servers to get it to you.
The Original Pantry
The humble little original restaurant sits at the intersection of Cerrillos Road and Fifth Street. The business dates back to the late 1940s when it was on the outskirts of town. It’s an adobe-colored cube of a structure, with an oh-so-welcome very large parking lot surrounding it. New Mexico sky blue awnings, and a great neon sign of the same hue, are the exterior’s bright distinguishing features. Many hours of the day, a few folks can be spotted milling about patiently, waiting for a table. That line usually moves quickly.
Once inside, there’s a row of counter seating, on swivel stools like used to be the norm for the diner class of American dining joints. Bigger groups sit in one of two rooms, basic but cheery spaces which remind you that you’re in New Mexico. Light streams into both in daytime hours.
Two more locations
Over recent years, the Singleys expanded to two more locations. Both have patio dining in season. The menus are similar, but each has a few items that set it apart. The Pantry Dos popped up on the far south side of town, in Oshara Village. The building is new, with a more industrial modern interior. My Tesuque neighbors and I have driven all the way down from the northern fringes of town to enjoy Dos. It has yet to be discovered by the number of visitors who know the original as well as the new downtown location, called The Pantry Rio. As you might guess, it’s near the Santa Fe River. I like to avail myself of an espresso drink, a michelada, or perhaps one of Rio’s eight mimosa options while sitting under an umbrella or the wisteria arbor on its terrace.
Whichever Pantry you choose, I think you’ll have an uplifting down-home experience.
The Pantry (the original location)
1820 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe
Top image: Stuffed sopaipilla.
Story and photos by Cheryl Alters Jamison.
Four-time James Beard Foundation Book Award-winning author Cheryl Alters Jamison is the host of Heating It Up on KTRC and is now the “queen of culinary content” for SantaFe.com. Find new stories about the Santa Fe food scene each week on SantaFe.com.