Some of my earliest memories involve me, usually book in hand, standing with my mother in the long line that seemed like an eternal future of Flying Star’s (then Double Rainbow) Nob Hill location in the early 2000s.
If I wasn’t there, I spent time playing in the workshop of my grandparents’ now-closed sewing machine business or strolling the alleys of Beeps.
Whether I realize it or not, local businesses have shaped who I am, with many of my fondest memories revolving around the many wonderful shops and restaurants that call Albuquerque home.
And for the past three years, my life has revolved even more around these establishments.
Just weeks before the pandemic hit in 2020, I accepted a full-time position covering Albuquerque’s retail and real estate scene. Initially, I expected a lot of my work to revolve around the positive, like covering new restaurants and local stores. But my pace quickly changed. Business openings have stopped and consumerism as we knew it is gone.
It took two years before my pace returned to much of its pre-pandemic function.
My time as a retail reporter for the Albuquerque Journal has only deepened my appreciation of the unique place small businesses hold in our communities. During my tenure, I’ve spoken with starry-eyed new business owners who’ve dreamed of opening their own restaurant for years, with industry veterans looking to grow in new directions, and with owners who seemed to have the ability to run their own store. fall on their knees.
Throughout it all, I have seen the passion and diversity that these owners bring to our community – something that separates us from so many other cities.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Albuquerque and all the little bits and pieces of this city that make it so special as I prepare to leave my journalism career at the Albuquerque Journal and leave the state to attend law school. As I prepare to leave the Journal and move from Albuquerque for the foreseeable future, I wanted to share some of the places I love the most. (Disclaimer: As a permanent resident of Albuquerque who has only lived south of Central, there is an obvious bias toward business along or near the Central Corridor.)
Gravity Bound Brewing Co.
816 Third NW
When asked what Albuquerque does best, I almost always default to three answers: beer, coffee, and chili.
Sure, big-city counterparts like Portland and Denver tend to top national brewery lists, but in all honesty, even those nationally-known spots barely match the incredible selection of breweries and beers in town. ‘Albuquerque.
And at the top of the list, for me, is Gravity Bound Brewing Co.
Owned by newly Colorado-based Cameron and Chris Frigon, Gravity Bound quickly established itself on the Albuquerque beer scene as one of the most exciting breweries in town – and within two years its opening.
Housed in a converted auto repair shop in downtown Albuquerque, the brewery’s menu features the usual options like pilsners, lagers and IPAs. But where he excels is in his selection of sours and gos infused with ingredients such as fruit, vanilla or cocoa nibs.
Through collaborations with other local businesses like Slow Burn Coffee Roasters or Ex Novo Brewing Co., the brewery regularly offers options like its layer cake beer series: think sour beers made with coffee and brewed with fruits and vanilla beans (trust me, it sort of works).
Gravity Bound Brewing is open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
640 Broadway SE
I am not an early riser by nature. Despite that, I spent half of my 20s working weekend mornings.
These two things made it difficult to find a croissant from The Burque Bakehouse for several years.
Meanwhile, my encounters with the bakery have come vicariously through Instagram posts of friends grabbing a treat at the Railyard Market on Sundays or my own bi-annual visits to the market.
Fortunately, I no longer work weekend mornings, and even more fortunately, Burque Bakehouse, like many other businesses over the past few years, has since evolved from its origins as a pop-up weekend stand to a showcase of its own. whole.
The South Broadway neighborhood walk-in bakery sells a selection of breads, sweet and savory croissant-based pastries and other decadent treats like the hard-to-find cannelé.
While The Burque Bakehouse often has a line wrapped around the building on weekends, luckily it moves quickly, making it easy to get to those once-out-of-reach croissants.
The Burque Bakehouse is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
413 Second SO
When Zendo opened its doors nearly a decade ago in downtown, it was one of the first hip cafes to come to Albuquerque.
And while many new cafes of the same ilk have proliferated across the city since, Zendo has remained my favorite place to study or spend a quiet morning alone.
On my first visit to Zendo as a high school student, I quickly found myself in love with the bright, semi-industrial space and beautiful drinks, each topped with a unique latte art.
It’s not just the superb coffee (re: Turkish lattes or Zia) or the unbeatable matcha latte that keeps me coming back, but the ever-friendly baristas who are quick to offer recommendations and wall art of local artists for sale.
My love for Zendo, like my love for all those places, has a nostalgic bent: it’s where I went to write college and law school admissions essays, where I formatted CV and where I anxiously typed essays for college class finals. . Luckily, these stress reminders don’t overwhelm my penchant for Zendo.
Zendo is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
230 SE Louisiana
For over a decade, Coda Bakery in the International District has earned a well-deserved following for its affordable and authentic Vietnamese dishes.
I’m not the only one dedicated to Coda Bakery.
Much like its home district, Coda Bakery’s (formerly known as Banh Mi Coda) clientele is equally diverse. At any time during lunch hours, the small, sparsely decorated lobby is filled with men in suits, servicemen from around the corner at Kirtland Air Force Base, or families all gathered together with one goal in mind: quick sandwiches. and delicious, noodle bowls and spring dishes. Rolls.
Coda Bakery is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.