Carlito's (10th Street and Coal) is gone but there will still be New Mexican food in the neighborhood. Angel Vigil, owner of Wrap it Up, has moved her wrap sandwich business from Fourth Street and Menaul into Carlito's space in Barelas. Carlito's owner Carlos Montoya will now be able to spend more time with his family, while Angel Vigil gets the dining room area she never had in the North Valley. She's also expanding Wrap it Up's menu to include New Mexican food. Vigil is still adjusting to her new space, working to find the perfect hours and menu, but she aims to be open for three meals a day and to deliver. "This little community needs us," she said. "All we did was open the door and people are coming in. We want to take care of them." Call 342-9727 for details.
Out with Nana, in with Rosa: a popular Italian eatery changes Mamas. If you've recently driven down San Mateo south of Montgomery, then you've surely noticed the new sign over an old Albuquerque eatery at 3325 San Mateo. Rick and Rosa Matthews took over Nana's Italian restaurant in the middle of October and though the concept is the same, much is different. Rick Jr., Rick and Rosa's son, told me that his family has been in the food business for decades. His father previously ran JBs family restaurants, and Rick Jr. has cooked at 10 different restaurants in 12 years. In fact, the younger Rick told me he's lived in 29 cities in the past 24 years. But he swears he'll be here for a while, helping his dad out and leaving his mark on Rosa's menu. He recommends the lasagna. Call 884-7672 for more information.
More bubble tea coming to Albuquerque. As an ethnically Chinese, Taiwan-born native of Baltimore who is married to a Santa Fean and lives in Albuquerque, Judy Chang de Baca is the perfect person to open a Duke City franchise of Lollicup Café, a California bubble tea company. Chang de Baca said that she and her husband had long been fans of bubble tea, an addictive concoction of tea, fruit flavoring and tapioca balls. It was only recently that they came to the decision to go into the bubble tea business and Chang de Baca gave notice at Zanios Foods, a local food distributor where she had worked as chief financial officer. They decided to put Lollicup Café inside the small retail building located in front of the new Talin Market on Louisiana at Central, where their café will seat about 21 and serve mostly bubble tea and coffee drinks, but also light lunches. When construction is completed and Lollicup opens, in early 2005, it will join Café O (Montgomery and Wyoming), Fei Café (Central and Yale), and Double Bubble (Zuni and San Mateo), the city's existing three bubble tea purveyors. "I guess you can say that these are our competitors," Chang de Baca told me, "but we have really invested in the design, the product, the service and the whole thing is going to be totally unique. " Explaining how popular bubble tea is with the younger crowd, she added, "Kids these days they need a place to go where they can socialize, hang out, eat and visit."