A Reporter’s Incomplete, Totally Biased Guide to Albuquerque

Pilar Martinez

Some of my earliest memories involve me, usually book in hand, standing in a long line with my mother in what seems to be the perennial future of the Nob Hill location of Flying Star (then Double Rainbow) in the early 00s. was.

If I weren’t there, I’d be spending time playing on the shop floor of my grandparents’ now-closed sewing machine business or wandering the aisles of beeps.

Whether I realized it or not, local businesses shaped who I am, my fondest memories revolve around the many wonderful stores and restaurants that call Albuquerque home.

And for the last three years my life has revolved more and more around these establishments.

Just a few weeks before the start of the pandemic in 2020, I accepted a full-time position covering Albuquerque’s retail and real estate landscape. Initially, I expected most of my work to revolve around positives, such as covering new restaurants and local stores. But my heartbeat quickly changed. Business openings took off and consumerism as we knew it disappeared.

It took two years for my beat to largely return to its pre-pandemic functions.

My time as a retail reporter for the Albuquerque Journal deepened my appreciation for the unique place small businesses have in our communities. During my tenure, I’ve spoken with new business owners who have dreamed of opening their own restaurant over the years, industry veterans looking to expand in new directions, and with owners who have found their own. Opportunity to run a store falling in his lap.

Throughout it all, I’ve seen these owners bring passion and diversity to our community – something that sets us apart from many other cities.

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I am thinking about Albuquerque and all the little bits of this city that make it so special as I prepare to leave my career as a journalist at the Albuquerque Journal and move out of state to attend law school. Am. As I prepare to leave the Journal and move out of Albuquerque for the foreseeable future, I want to share some of the places I love most. (Disclaimer: As a lifelong resident of Albuquerque who lives only south of Central, there is a clear bias towards trading along or near the central corridor.)

Gravity Bound Brewing Company

816 3rd NW

Gravity Bound Brewing Company opened in downtown Albuquerque in 2020. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

When asked what Albuquerque does best, I almost always default to a trio of answers: beer, coffee, and chili.

Sure, big-city counterparts like Portland and Denver top national lists of breweries, but in all honesty, even nationally renowned locations match Albuquerque’s incredible selection of breweries and beers. Huh.

And at the top of the list, for me, is Gravity Bound Brewing Company.

Owned by Cameron and Chris Frigon, recent Colorado transplants, Gravity Bound has managed to cement itself in Albuquerque’s beer scene as one of the most interesting breweries in the city—and within two years of opening.

Housed in a converted car repair shop in downtown Albuquerque, the brewery menu features the usual options such as pilsners, lagers, and IPAs. But where it excels is in its selection of citrus and goose with ingredients like fruit, vanilla or even cocoa nibs.

Through collaborations with other local businesses such as Slow Burn Coffee Roasters or Ex Novo Brewing Company, the brewery regularly offers options such as its layer cake range of beers: sour beers made with coffee and with fruit and vanilla beans. Brewed with (trust me, it somehow works).

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Gravity Bound Brewing is open Tuesday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. .

Burke Bakehouse

640 Broadway SE

Originally started as a pop-up stand at farmers markets, Burke’s Bakehouse has since moved to a storefront location in Albuquerque’s South Broadway neighborhood. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

I am not an early riser by nature. Despite this, I spent half of my 20s working weekend mornings.

Both of those things didn’t give me a chance to track down a croissant from The Burke’s Bakehouse for many years.

During that time, I met with the bakery through Instagram posts from friends picking up sweets from Railyards Market on Sundays or through my own bi-annual visits to the market.

Luckily I no longer work on weekend mornings, and even more fortunately, like many other businesses over the years, Burke’s Bakehouse has grown from its origins as a pop-up stand on weekends into a fully-fledged storefront. Graduated.

The walk-up bakery in the South Broadway neighborhood carries a selection of breads, sweet and savory croissant-based pastries, and other decadent treats such as hard-to-find cannels.

While The Burke Bakehouse often has a line wrapped around the building on weekends, it thankfully moves quickly, making these easy to reach.

Burke’s Bakehouse is open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


413 sec SW

Zendo has a menu of freshly made lattes, including favorites such as the Zia Latte. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

When Zendo opened in downtown nearly a decade ago, it was one of the trendiest coffee shops to make its way to Albuquerque.

And while many similar new coffee shops have popped up throughout the city since that time, Zendo remains my go-to place to study, or to spend a quiet morning on my own.

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During my first visit to Zendo as a high school student, I quickly found myself enamored with the bright, semi-industrial space and beautiful drinks each topped with unique latte art.

It’s not just fantastic coffee (re: Turkish or Zea lattes) or unbeatable matcha lattes that keep me coming back, but the always kind barista who is quick to make recommendations and wall art for sale by local artists.

My love for Zendo, like my love for all these places, has a nostalgic bent: It’s where I went to write admissions essays in college and law school, where I drafted resumes and where I eagerly Typed essays for the final of the college class. , Fortunately, these reminders of stress don’t dampen my fondness for Zendo.

Zendo is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Koda Bakery

230 Louisiana SE

Onh Dang, in front, wraps up one of Koda Bakery’s famous banh mi sandwiches for a customer during lunch. (Mike Sandoval/for The Journal)

For more than a decade the International District’s Koda Bakery has earned a well-deserved reputation for its affordable and authentic Vietnamese eats.

I am not alone in my devotion to Koda Bakery.

Like its home neighborhood, Koda Bakery (formerly known as Banh Mi Koda) has an equally diverse clientele. At any time during lunch, the small, sparsely decorated lobby is filled with men in suits, soldiers down the street at Kirtland Air Force Base, or families all gathered with one goal in mind: fast and strong. Delicious Sandwiches, Noodle Bowls and Spring Rolls from

Koda Bakery is open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5:30 pm and on Sundays from 10:30 am to 5 pm.

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