This story was originally published at EatABQ, the city's food, restaurant and drinks guide. EatABQ is a publication of The Paper, ABQ's new alternative, independent weekly.
In the evolving food scene in Albuquerque, there is a growing list of Black-owned food businesses and great community support for them as well.
We list out some of our favorites, featuring classic Southern soul food to authentic West African cuisine. Have more? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank’s Famous Chicken & Waffles
Frank’s is a soul food staple in the metro area, boasting a big “thumbs up” from celebrities passing through such as comedian Seth Rogan. The owner, Frank Willis, is a former basketball player for UNM. This tiny unassuming restaurant features soul food in the kitchen and a huge collection of original rap and Black music LPs on the wall. That alone is worth the visit.
In 2019, Frank moved from his cramped spot on San Mateo to a spacious new joint on Washington and Zuni on the edge of Nob Hill. Fortunate for chicken wing fans, it came with a patio and wraparound parking lot that makes curbside ordering a breeze.
Then there is, of course, Frank’s “famous” fried chicken and waffles. Frank’s offers curbside and pickup—and a whole lotta love passed down through generations of cooking.
A Taste of the Caribbean
When a hankering for jerk chicken hits you, no place delivers better than A Taste of the Caribbean across Central from Johnson Field.
Like most places, the pandemic restrictions hit this restaurant hard — but they’ve adapted and overcome by offering almost their entire menu for curbside takeout ordering via DoorDash.
We don’t usually share reviews from other sites, but in this case we’ll make an exception. One reviewer on Yelp sums it up more authentically than any of us local chile-heads can:
“Speaking as someone who grew up in the Virgin Islands, I am so excited to get a taste of home in ABQ! I am absolutely in love with their roti – the only other ones that come close to comparing to these are from a food truck in St. Croix. I can’t wait to try all of the flavors that they offer here (so far, I have tried the jerk chicken and the curry chicken roti). The Caribbean Mango Habanero Chicken Wings are my absolute favorite chicken wing recipe that I have ever tasted. I think it would be IDEAL to just grab a bunch of wings before/after watching a game.”
“Biscuits, butter and jam. Hot damn!” Biscuit Boy doesn’t mess around with it’s mission or it’s marketing. Biscuit Boy is a Southern-style homemade biscuit and sandwich food truck, made popular while operating at the Railyards Market and La Esquinta in the Barelas neighborhood.
Eat what you want, but don’t miss this.
Head down to La Esquinita every Saturday morning and grab a Southern Belle Sandwich, featuring buttermilk fried chicken, fried apples and cheddar cheese. Wash down any of their delicious delights with some sweet tea, and you’ll be counting down the days until you can visit them again at either location.
50/50 Coffee House & Pub
50/50 Coffee House & Pub first came onto the coffee and lunch scene in 2019. You know the place – it’s right next to Bandito’s on Central.
Local art and murals fill the cozy space, and there is a sense of community and a commitment to sustainability in everything that they do. Operated by Carmen Prince-Morris and her husband Chad Morris, their goal is to build a community and to support women entrepreneurs and people of color.
The restaurant even features the tiny Bradley’s Books in the back of the joint, operated by the former owner of Birdsong Books near UNM. One of the best things about 50/50 Coffee House & Pub is that you can shop their fair trade coffee online and pick up those fresh grounds while you stop in for a pin
Green Gene Vegan Cafe
Plant-based world comfort cuisine is what Dr. Colin Forde has made with Green Gene Vegan Cafe. Forde, a practicing cosmetic dentist in the Duke City, built his vegan menu around flavors and ingredients he was influenced by in his world travels.
The cafe features produce grown locally and serves a vegan Sunday brunch to die for.
Established in 2012, Talking Drums is the only local restaurant serving authentic West African cuisine. Located near downtown Albuquerque, this restaurant started as a market selling African clothes and accessories.
The demand for African food grew, and thus, Talking Drums came to be. Add on a kitchen and some globally-sourced recipes and you have an African cuisine hot spot.
Their diverse menu serves up Caribbean jerk chicken alongside Ethopian injera and curried goat. Try this place out for flavors you won’t find anywhere else in Albuquerque.
Nexus Brewery & Nexus Blue Smokehouse
In New Mexico’s exploding brewery scene, it’s hard to stand out. Ken Carson, however, has not had that problem. Carson’s Nexus Brewery – hidden behind a medical cannabis dispensary and tile shop just of the interstate – was so popular in. the before times that you might have to wait up to an hour on a busy football Sunday for a table for two. And we waited happily.
Soul food lovers knew that Ken’s collard greens and Nashville Hot Chicken were worth the wait. And all that hot chicken needs a good beer side: their Blood Orange Wheat won major recognition at this year’s Great American Beer Festival.
Downtown at the smokehouse, some of ABQ’s best BBQ awaits your visit.
And if good food wasn’t a good enough reason to support Nexus, think of this: Nexus’ owners have bucked the restaurant association and publicly called for increasing the minimum wage and providing health care for restaurant workers. So buy that extra pint and side of ribs. The profit goes to the workers.
Nexus Blue Smokehouse
1511 Broadway Blvd SE
Neighborhood: Downtown (S. Broadway)