We were in Albuquerque for a family wedding in May. It was beyond wonderful.
There was joy in the air. It was a remarkably lovely, fun, low-key but high-energy event. Look at those faces.
Here are the bride and groom on the day after the wedding, relaxing poolside.
We learned something new at the wedding that I will share soon, the dance called La Marcha. But this is a comfort food / restaurant rave post, so I’ll move on to that now.
Where to Eat?
We had a couple of hours on the last morning of the long weekend trip before flying home to Houston, and wanted to eat somewhere really, really unique and local. We had a recommendation from a friend:
“Go to the Frontier if you want the honey drenched sticky bun to go with your 28 pounds of potatoes, eggs and bacon.”
When we told the groom where we were headed, he said, “That’s so foundational!” We knew we’d made the right choice. We also knew when we drove up and saw the retro exterior. It had to be good. It just had that ‘locals eat here because it’s great and I know I’ll get exactly what I expect’ feel to it.
Retro signage sets the mood before you even enter the building.
We learned that Frontier Restaurant has been an Albuquerque institution for over 50 years, having opened in 1971. Just across from the University of New Mexico (UNM), they are open from 5:00 a.m. to midnight, daily. Frontier has been highlighted in publications like USA Today and The New York Times, with USA Today’s headline telling the story perfectly: “10 great places to eat regionally, eat well”.
That’s what we wanted, and that’s what we got. Check out that tablescape.
I had the Huevos Rancheros with both red and green sauce (Christmas). It was hearty, stick-to-your-ribs, I-shouldn’t-have-that-next-bite-but-I-must kind of food. It was beyond delicious, hitting that sweet spot that comfort food tickles, somewhere deep in your brain stem or thalamus, that says go-go-go, this is what you need to stay alive today. I ate waaaaay more than I should have, and I wasn’t sorry for a moment. Every bite was perfection in comfort food.
We could tell that we were lucky to have gotten to Frontier quite early on a Sunday, before it got super-busy. The signs for how long the wait would be at certain points in the restaurant said it all.
The wagon wheel lights add to the down-home western ambiance. I hope they never change them.
There were about a dozen cashiers taking orders. Ours was very patient and helpful, explaining everything on the menu and making sure we understood the options. It felt like he really cared about our meal being exactly what we wanted.
It started to get busy while we were there.
The condiment station has personality.
A friendly stranger walked up and offered to take our picture after he saw me snapping pics of the food. I wish I had his name so I could send him this link. Dear Readers, are you proud of me for not getting red sauce on that white cotton blouse???
Bottom line: go to Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque for a unique regional comfort food experience. You won’t regret it. Thank you, Ray, for the recommendation!
And thank you, Brian and Shelby, for making us a part of your wonderful wedding celebration.
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