Regulars donned their Easter best today to bid a special farewell to Tecolote Café. The venerable breakfast and lunch hotspot stayed open past its usual 2 pm closing time as some folks waited upwards of an hour to be seated.
For Katie Adkins, daughter of original founders Alice and Bill Jennison, the moment was an emotional one.
“It’s been insane business all week long,” Adkins told SFR. “The community is awesome. Today we had quite the wait and people are waiting with a smile…it’s awesome.”
Longtime patrons, Adkins said, inundated them with tips about vacant restaurants and other possible locations.
As SFR first reported, the eatery is being evicted from 1203 Cerrillos Road—a locale they’ve occupied for close to 34 years.
Chef Leslie Chavez was ready for today’s challenge.
“There was some good planning and grocery store shopping over the last few days—yesterday included—because I didn’t want to order too much,” Chavez said. About the only item Chavez and her crew overshot were Tecolote’s cinnamon rolls, as she feared they’d run out of the famous bread basket staple.
Chavez plans on freezing the surplus rolls and selling them, along with quarts of chile, to folks that swing by the establishment during the new few days.
Lee Meyers and her husband Joe, seated at Tecolote’s community table, knew they had to be there for the last hurrah. The Florida transplants have frequented the restaurant twice a month since they moved to Santa Fe two years ago.
“Besides home, this is my favorite table,” Lee said of Tecolote’s communal space, which was designed to promote socializing among patrons.
“When we come here, it’s like we’re coming home,” she commented, adding that wherever Tecolote went, they’d follow. “I couldn’t imagine that they wouldn’t open up somewhere,” Meyers continued, “and I was really encouraged that so many places were offering a location—I thought that was great.”
Per Adkins’ estimation, Tecolote will be dark anywhere from 60 to 90 days while they close the deal on a new location, secure permits and renovate as required.
Also at the community table sat Donald Doerrer, who worked at Tecolote during the early 90s as a dishwasher.
“I saw it on the news and I started crying,” Doerrer said about the impending closure. “It’s kind of like and icon, you know?”
For Doerrer, who worked under the Jennison’s, the mixture of good food and good people where Tecolote’s claim to fame.
“When I worked here, Billy Idol ate here and [Senator] Jeff Bingaman would eat here—I don’t know, it’s just a cool place,” he said.
On closing day, Game of Thrones creative and a Santa Fe icon in his own right, George RR Martin, also came to pay his culinary respects.
“I hope not!” GRRM said when asked by SFR if this was the breakfast equivalent of GoT’s “Purple Wedding.”
The famed author noshed on a carne adovada burrito and “of course, the famous jalapeño bacon.” Martin’s wife Parris enjoyed the ham steak special.
As far as where the future home of Tecolote, Adkins says "nothing is official" as of yet.
“We’re very close,” she said. “I think we should have the deal closed by tomorrow or Tuesday.”
Here are some of the sights from Tecolote's last day of operation:
Do you have any Tecolote memories of your own? Post them in the comments section below.