As Bernalillo County begins its transition to “yellow level” after months in red, it’s a blessing to restaurants as they reopen to 25 percent indoor dining capacity. This process is especially special to Albuquerque-staple Frontier Restaurant who recently celebrated its 50th year anniversary this week.
The legendary establishment near the University of New Mexico has worked its way around the COVID restrictions that included installing a walk up to go window, placing tables alongside the outside of the building and providing curbside services. A process all New Mexico eateries have been forced to do.
While Frontier preferred not to celebrate its half-century milestone in a lockdown scenario, the restaurant received the good news on Wednesday after Governor Lujan Grisham’s announcement. “We were elated to hear the news, we prepared everything to accommodate a COVID safe environment to our patrons for the first day of opening,” Frontier’s chief administrative officer Shannon Rainosek Hurley explains. “It was an easy transition, as we left everything in place from the last lockdown. But overall it’s going to be a nice vibe having people in the store again.”
Hurley discussed how Frontier wasn’t a place designed for take-out only. It was established for folk to gather and communicate. It is meant to be a place to people watch, enjoy a nice cup of coffee, giant cinnamon roll and catch up on your studies. The UNM-area staple has been featured in publications from The New York Times to GQ Magazine.
“We have such a wide variety of people who’ve come through this place,” Hurley mentions. “From families to professionals, it’s a gathering place for the Albuquerque community. With all the events canceled throughout the city, it’s drastically changed things.”
With the 25 percent limit, Frontier holds approximately 80 customers. The combination of hitting record milestones and Burquenos longing for their delicious green chile stew—or the freshly squeezed orange juice—the line will probably wrap around the building.