The Grove: Family Run Cafe in Santa Fe’s Shadow

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Restaurant Sign Albuquerque

The Grove is a modern family-run restaurant and coffee bar along Route 66.

Certain cities seem destined to play second fiddle. Minneapolis may be a jewel of the Midwest, but not many people give national credence to St. Paul. Miami has South Beach chic, but drive due north and Ft. Lauderdale fails to deliver the same sparkle. Such is the case with Albuquerque, which has long been Santa Fe’s less gifted little brother. However, as we learned on a recent trip to Santa Fe, Albuquerque deserves some culinary consideration. For example, The Grove is a winning cafe & market from Chef Jason Greene and wife Lauren that enlivens a bygone stretch of Route 66.

Restaurant Sign Albuquerque

A signpost near the register touts building blocks like “all natural meats,” “local produce” and “housemade sweets.” The words “seasonal” and “organic” also factor into the mix.

Restaurant Albuquerque

The industrial space features concrete floors, a glass front that promotes streaming sunlight and illuminates blackboard menus. Order at the counter, grab a number and stroll to seats.

The Grove’s menu isn’t especially daring or unusual, but the quality of their local, seasonal ingredients helps to differentiate them from similar concepts.

Grilled Cheese Albuquerque

My THREE CHEESE ($6.95) sandwich involved molten white cheddar, Havarti and aged Provolone on fresh-pressed sourdough.

The Grove gave us the option to add caramelized onions, green chilies or sweet pickles for just $0.75 more. We added tangy roasted green chilies, which spilled out the sides of the sandwich.

Sandwich Albuquerque

Matthew “Mattatouille” Kang opted for THE BEEF ($8.95), a cold, hearty sandwich involving thin-sliced sirloin, caramelized onions, arugula, subtly spicy horseradish crème fraiche, whole-grain mustard and Havarti on more sourdough.

Breakfast Albuquerque

Fiona “Gourmet Pigs” Chandra wasn’t ready for lunch, so she opted for POACHED EGGS ($8.95) with silky sheets of La Quercia prosciutto, a pair of poached eggs and salty Parmesan shavings on supple toast.

Accompaniments consisted of a fresh fruit salad, a fan of ripe avocado and a dish of local jam that didn’t seem to fit with an egg dish.

English Muffin Albuquerque

Since house=made English muffins are hard to come by, we split a single toasted muffin served with dishes of honey and red chile-raspberry jam that featured a hint of local spice.

The English muffin was fairly dry and didn’t feature much spring, but was worth a try.

Since The Grove uses premium ingredients like Plugra butter and Valrhona chocolate in their baked goods.

Cookie Albuquerque

Their large, crispy ginger chocolate cookie featured a ginger kick and big chocolate chunks.

We still had a long travel day ahead of us, so we swung back by the counter for coffee.

Coffee Albuquerque

The Grove is one of the only establishments in New Mexico to source Intelligentsia Coffee beans, and they have a La Marzocco three-group espresso machine, so I had high hopes.

Coffee Albuquerque

My espresso may not have displayed textbook reddish inflection, but it did feature some consistent tan color and the crema held strong at the tilt.

The Grove brunch was a nice change of pace from our other chile-soaked experiences in New Mexico.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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