alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.14 No.11 | March 17 - 23, 2005 

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Heavy equipment is less scary when it’s pink and blue.

First you, Graze, then you, Gulp. Or is it the other way around? Chef and restaurateur Jennifer James has unveiled her newest venture, a sophisticated lounge called Gulp, in the storefront next to Graze (Central and Buena Vista, 268-4729).

“Customers wanted a martini before dinner. In order to keep up with the neighborhood, we knew we needed to have a full liquor license,” James told me. Makes sense. Neighbors Zinc, Gruet Steakhouse/Monte Vista Fire Station and Yanni's all have separate, full bars. But couldn't she have just gotten the license without opening another place? “Yeah, but we didn't want anyone else moving in there and opening up a bar!”

The photography studio had been mostly an open space, blanketed with ugly carpet, but boasting a big, double-doored bank vault. The carpet got ripped out, the concrete floors stained, and the airy space was fleshed out with earth tones, blond wood and simple metal fixtures. The vault has become an extraordinarily secure liquor storage room. The vibe here is of a space that's different from Graze—with its exposed wooden beams and green grass chair-railing—but feels similar.

“I wanted an extension of the restaurant, a kind of rustic, outdoorsy, maybe a little industrial feel,” James said. The project's architect originally proposed something much different, with an icy blue floor and lots of cool colors. “He wanted it to look like you were walking into a drink, literally,” James told me. “I said that sounds really cool, but that's not us.”

James is particularly fond of the art hanging on the walls at Gulp, paintings of industrial equipment like backhoes, done by one of the restaurant's servers, Nina Elder. “She says they're tractors, but they're not,” and having grown up in Illinois farm country, James knows a tractor when she sees one.

Gulp has been open since the first week of March, and already weekends have been busy. With 50 seats, Gulp triples the total seating, bumping up James' seating capacity by one-third. Right now, the full restaurant menu is available in the bar, from lunch through late-night. A bar menu is in the works, scheduled to debut in the next few weeks, along with Graze's spring menu.

Between Graze, Gulp and Restaurant Jennifer James, the chef is stretched pretty thin these days, but in April she plans to close her first restaurant to concentrate on Graze and Gulp. “Graze was what I originally wanted to do,” she said. “I'm just not into that style of dining anymore.” Asked to explain how the food at the two places was different, aside from plate size, she told me she wanted to focus on food that was clean, fresh and healthy. And by those words she meant not just washed carrots and recently picked arugula, but dishes that are minimally handled and processed. “The less that we do to things before they make it to the plate the better. You don't feel heavy, you don't feel weighed down.”

After Restaurant Jennifer James closes (the exact April date is not yet set), Graze and Gulp will gradually transition to serving seven days a week, including brunch on Sundays.

I love you, tipsters! If it weren't for my small army of eyes and eaters out there, "The Dish," would never happen. If you've got news for me, e-mail, call 346-0660 ext. 245 or fax 256-9651. The juiciest tidbits will be rewarded.

Tomorrow's Events

Bread and Song at q-Staff Theatre


Food, drink, song, and stories featuring food from South America. Reservations required.

Spanish Olive Oil Tasting at National Hispanic Cultural Center


Shrub to Cup: Coffee Basics at Prosum Roasters

More Recommended Events ››

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Outdoor Cats & Birds
    Outdoor Cats & Birds4.6.2017