What happens when your family kills your pet chicken and serves it for dinner? You never eat chicken again.
Before Cindy bought La Salita Restaurant in 1978, the restaurant was run by an Armenian man named Sam. Sam grew up during the great depression and he had a pet chicken who he loved dearly. One day Sam came home from school and his chicken was missing. That same night his family was eating chicken for dinner, his pet chicken to be exact. After that day Sam vowed to never eat chicken again. To this day, La Salita Restaurant in Albuquerque, NM serves shredded turkey instead of chicken to honor Sam’s legacy.
Your home away from home
Close to six generations of customers have continually supported this family-run restaurant, even during the chaos of 2020. Cindy has always been passionate about hospitality and serving people. She loved the idea of creating a place where family is important, and where people could gather and eat good comfort food. In 2009 when her daughter Stephanie took over the restaurant, Stephanie took from the same passion her mother had and continued with the family traditions.
The little living room
There was a smaller menu when La Salita Restaurant first started. The menu only had a few options, but it was all New Mexican food. La Salita translates to “little living room”, and the name fits well with the cozy home feeling the restaurant has. Nothing has really changed throughout the years, and rest assured that you’ll find delicious menu items covered in chili & cheese – that’s New Mexico roots for you!
When Covid-19 hit, a very kind and generous customer donated $500 to La Salita Restaurant to pay for food for others. Since then, customers have been donating money to La Salita so they can pay for meals for people in need. “We’ve had an opportunity to give back to the community. We’re making sure to take care of the community since they’re taking care of us”, Stephanie said. Low income, no income, high-risk, elderly, shelters, anyone who needs a free hot meal La Salita is providing them with one. They’re calling it “Operation Kindness” and Stephanie said it is bringing together a sense of community. “It’s like when you’re giving back at the Starbucks line, but more scaled”.
Our Restaurant is their Restaurant
“We take interest in people, we actually care about them. It’s been overwhelming how much support there actually is out there. Our restaurant is their restaurant, and our customers are up to the point where they want our restaurant to survive” Throughout the years La Salita Restaurant has been there for their customers, and now their customers are showing up for them. Many birthdays, anniversaries, and different celebrations have been held at the restaurant in the last 40 years they’ve been in business. Though the pandemic has been challenging, Stephanie and her team have been left speechless with what customers have been willing to do to keep their restaurant afloat.
We’re all family here
“The biggest struggle is we don’t want to lose any team members because they’re family”. If there’s one word that describes 2020, it’s adaption. La Salita has tried to accommodate and adapt to their customer’s needs to keep all of their team members employed. Whether it’s a call, text, or even email they will answer it to take customer orders. La Salita realized how important it was to adapt to the chaos of 2020, but also how to adapt in general for their business to continue to grow. That’s why they offer gluten-free and vegan options, so that everyone can enjoy a delicious meal at their restaurant. No matter the chaos life can bring, you can always expect the comfort that comes from a home away from home at La Salita Restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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