Abe’s Cantina y Cocina is truly a legendary destination for locals and visitors. Look beyond its nondescript exterior and what waits inside for you is authentic, homemade and delicious food, well-crafted libations and a package store for grab-and-go needs.
For decades Abe’s has been the spot to go on your way into or out of Taos Ski Valley, whether your skis or snowboards are strapped to the top of your car or your boots are donned for the hike to Williams Lake. One of their multiple award-winning breakfast burritos and a bracing espresso is just what you need for fueling up before tackling the great outdoors.
Nothing could be better than relaxing with tacos, their steaming, tender tamales or a sizzling green chile cheeseburger and a cold beer at a cozy table inside or on the hidden outdoor patio along the creek.
The magic spark that sets Abe’s apart from others, the Garcia family believes is both a product of their strong community ties as it is their famous homestyle warmth.
Abe first took over bartending after his service in World War II. The story of Abe’s Cantina continued with his marriage to Grace in 1949 and his appointment as Arroyo Seco’s postmaster in 1962. He retired in 1988, but not really – at 97 years old, he’s bound to greet you as you enter.
In 1978 the bar caught fire due to an electrical issue. It took about six months, but it was rebuilt with the assistance of Abe’s friends in the community, the family notes with pride.
Abe’s Cocina opened in January 1981, with daughter Lina Garcia at the helm. The aim was to maintain treasured family recipes that are both authentic and traditional to Northern New Mexico.
“My mother taught me how to cook and I’ve continued to use her recipes,” Lina said. She and sister Olympia do all the cooking.
“We started the restaurant as a full-service restaurant, adding it on to the established bar,” Lina continued. In 1986 they added the small grocery store and food to go.
With the boom in new-home construction at that time, they got a big boost in business from all the construction workers, which “helped us a lot,” she said, giving Abe’s even stronger community roots.
Today, their family specialty – tamales – remains a top seller and are also a time-honored holiday tradition.
“Christmas is a very busy time for us, when we make over 200 dozen pork tamales each season,” Lina said. “When I was younger I would make over 300 dozen, but last year started cutting back a lot,” she laughed.
The Garcia sisters noted that by popular demand they’ve added chicken and green chile tamales, and have made some modifications to accommodate a wider range of customers. Now, their green chili is vegetarian. They make every effort to adapt menu items to your preferences.
“We are very fortunate that people come from all over Taos to eat here,” Lina said. “We are kind of out of the way so it’s nice to hear people come because they enjoy our food.”
“We want to thank all of our loyal customers for supporting us over the years, especially this past year which was an unfortunate year for many people and businesses,” Lina concluded.
Lina and Olympia note they are most grateful for Pam Quintana and Miquela Struck, their cashiers and all-around helpers.
Abe’s Cantina y Cocina is located at 489 State Road 150 in Arroyo Seco. To reach the restaurant and place your take-out order, please call (575) 776-8516, or call (575) 776-8643 for the cantina. Don’t forget to “like” their Facebook page!