Alibi V.13 No.14 • April 1-7, 2004 

Chewing the Fat

Gold Street Caffé Shines Brightly at Night

A chat with Matt Nichols, chef and general manager

Matt catches a breath between lunch and dinner
Matt catches a breath between lunch and dinner
Laura Marrich

Gold Street Caffé (218 Gold SW), a popular sidewalk spot for breakfast and lunch, began serving dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. This development is one of many changes Matt Nichols has planned for the coming months.

You're a real veteran of the Albuquerque food scene. Can you talk about some of the restaurants you've been involved with here?

I did Fajitaville, of course, and then created the menu for Nothing But Noodles. I consulted for the reopening of Monte Vista Fire Station. And before that I was cooking up in Santa Fe at a bunch of places. I was at Wolf Canyon, La Casa Sena, Santa Café.

You've been at Gold Street for a few months and I see you've expanded the menu for dinner service.

For quite a while this has been a sandwiches and salads kind of place. I wanted to offer a better variety so that if you want to come out and have a nice dinner and a bottle of wine, you can. If you want to come in for a quick sandwich and a beer or a scone and a cup of hot tea, we can do that. I want to say, too, that I know we've had a reputation for bad service and we're really working on that. We're beefing up the service staff and we put in a Micros system.

Tell me about that.

Basically, it's a computer system that allows us to track everything better. We used to do everything with hand-written tickets. Now everything is a lot smoother and quicker. It'll eliminate a lot of mistakes.

Back to the menu. What are your favorite dishes?

I like the enchiladas, the fish tacos and the quesadillas. The sandwiches are all on Sage Bakehouse bread. The most important start of any sandwich is the bread so we've got a great start there. Of course, for the BLT we're using our own bacon. I also love the giant burger.

I'm looking at the menu now. There seems to be a lot going on here, a very Asian lettuce wrap, fish tacos, a Mediterranian-inspired salmon with Kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes. Are you trying to do a little of everything?

Yeah. We're going to do that with our specials too. We did a couscous special today. The menu is going to be sort of old standards and the specials will be more exciting.

Your menu is also quite Atkins-friendly.

It is. A lot of people are into it. It's a big trend but I'm not into it. I'm the Carbohydrate King, that's what makes me go. But our customers want it, so we do it. Our sandwiches can be made as salads and we do stuff like adding hard-boiled eggs to the tuna salad for more protein.

You're doing more with desserts, too.

We're pushing the baking side of things. We have cookies, scones, biscuits and we have the Theobroma chocolate torte. I'm good buddies with Chuck [Weck, of Theobroma Chocolatiers] and he's got the best chocolate in town. That torte is just drop-dead good.