Summer Dining Guide: Downtown Patio City

Sarah Mowrey
6 min read
(Eric WIlliams)
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It’s summertime in Burque, and there ain’t nothing like sippin’ on a cold beverage while sitting on a patio and soaking up that gorgeous blue sky. Since the fall of Blackbird Buvette (RIP those hamburgers; RIP the sassiest staff), some of you might be wondering where to get your outdoor eating fix. Here are some fresh suggestions from me to you, Downtown freaks.

Summer Dining

Eric WIlliams
Zendo is my productivity jam. I could sit at this bright, beautiful coffee shop for days if the effortlessly cool staff would let me. Like, one of the baristas wears a freaking leather baseball cap; who goes to Zendo and isn’t inspired by the human condition?

I’ve heard a couple of complaints about Zendo’s patio because it “takes up parking spaces,” to which I say; more humans can fit on the wooden structure than could possibly ride in the cars that would be parked there. The parkito patio situation is the perfect place to go for a smoke break (which I do immediately after getting my drink) and listen to the trucks drive by. The busy street makes me feel invigorated with energy.

As for drinks: Ask for a “Sweet Bonnie” (blood orange iced tea, milk (coconut) and vanilla sugar).

Summer Dining

While this Downtown café doesn’t necessarily have a “patio,” it does have three outdoor tables that reflect its minimalist sensibilities perfectly. I first fell in love with this sweet little number because of their extensive tea options and the staff’s patience with my childlike indecision.

Espresso Fino is tiny and mighty, with rave-level espresso and customer service. It’s list-worthy because of the people who work there. It’s run by Taos coffee man Greg Flores. Within three visits, most of the family knew my name and even remembered parts of our conversations. That’s not just good management; that’s good parenting.

If you take a trip to the aforementioned table-lined sidewalk, you can probably see Greg juggling conversations between passersby and neighborhood business people, all of whom he knows by name, of course.

Summer Dining

If you’re a Downtowner, like me, it’s biking distance on the way there and walking distance on the way back. So drink up, but don’t drink and drive, jerks!

Listen, I was like a lot of folks who were nervous about the rebrand, but after visiting both ABQ’s and Santa Fe’s taprooms, I’m a total believer. It’s quirky, and also their taps are cleverly designed with paper inserts so they can be used with
any keg. Okay, so the bartender in me got very excited.

Marble’s patio is sort of a Burque standard at this point, if you want a beer in your hand, a breeze in your face, some jams in your ears and bro-tanks standing directly in front of the stage.

Even though I can be a little on the introverted side, I’ve really grown accustomed to the community-style picnic tables, even when the patio fills up. And I’ve even had that wonderful Burque thing happen where the people you wind up next to turn out to be friends of friends or live in the same building, and suddenly you’ve got new pals for the night.

Summer Dining

In the search for the best patios Downtown, this one is the whole damn cake to me. It’s sweet, secretive and “the most romantic patio in Albuquerque,” according to a male friend of mine who proceeded to wink and call me “shawty.” I think I’m gonna delete his number from my phone. Boundaries, Mowrey.

Back to A & B’s, the patio has a tunnel that looks exactly like England with a side of red chile. I’m guessing; I’ve never been to England. The tunnel leads you in and out of the patio and is lined with mismatch-y tables and chairs. On the patio proper, there are live chickens clucking away while you eat your eggs. If you think about it too hard, it might feel a little like a piece of performance art about the food culture in America. It’s not. It’s just cute chickens on a cute patio.

It’s perfect if you have friends like mine who sit down and start saying offensive things immediately. No joke, a group of spandex-wearing cyclists got up and moved while loudly complaining about us. (BTW, we’re, like, “feminist offensive”; we’re not, like, poop jokes/rape jokes offensive.) Which brings me to the staff, who didn’t bat an eye at complaints from the cyclists, and they weren’t even cranky at me or the feral cats I call my friends.

Food-wise, holy guacamole! They have rotating specials (carne adovada breakfast bowls,
Star Wars-shaped pancakes, fresh-baked treats), which are consistently mucho bueno de burrito. Okay, I don’t speak Spanish, but the food is delicious and comforting, like laughing with friends over breakfast. And having half a carne adovada breakfast bowl in the fridge right now! Yum!

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