Great Breakfast — No Toast

From the Santa Fe New Mexican, Saturday, April 5, 2014:

Tecolote searches for new home following eviction notice

by Chris Quintana

A longtime Santa Fe breakfast and lunch restaurant, Tecolote Café, is being evicted from its Cerrillos Road location at the end of the month. The owner announced Friday that the eatery’s last day of business at 1203 Cerrillos Road will be Easter Sunday, April 20.

Owner Katie Adkins, the founders’ daughter, said in an interview that the restaurant is being evicted from its decades-old location because of an Albuquerque Journal North report that the cafe eventually would relocate to the Luna District development on upper Cerrillos Road.

Adkins, who operates the restaurant with her husband, Matt Adkins, confirmed that Tecolote had been negotiating for the past two years with the Luna District developer, but she said no formal deal had ever been reached. That development on Cerrillos Road at Manhattan Avenue currently is home to Talin Market, Ohori’s Coffee and a few other businesses.

But after the Journal story appeared in mid-January, landowner Jerry Honnell sent Adkins an eviction letter, citing her rumored move to the Luna District as the impetus. To compound matters, Adkins said, the bank that would have funded Tecolote’s move to the Luna District pulled its support following the restaurant’s eviction notice. Adkins said she was told she might have some legal ground to sue, but she isn’t interested in waging a legal battle.

We’re trying to find a place to go, Adkins said. I don’t have the time or the energy. I just want to get my parents’ place open again.

Tecolote first opened at the Cerrillos Road location in 1980 and was run by Adkins’ parents, Bill and Alice Jennison. Bill Jennison died in 2010, and Alice Jennison died two years later. Adkins said she returned to New Mexico following her father’s death and took over the restaurant.

Honnell didn’t immediately return a reporter’s call Friday afternoon.

Luna District developer Ken Joseph said he couldn’t comment on the situation Friday.

In the January story in the Journal, he was quoted as saying that he expected Tecolote to move into his development by May. The New Mexican had reported in February 2013 that Tecolote had considered the Luna District as a possible site for a relocation but wouldn’t say if a move was planned or not. Journal North Editor Mark Oswald said Friday that his paper never received any feedback from either the Luna District developer or from the Tecolote owners after publishing the article last January.

Adkins said Friday she has received multiple calls from members of the community offering her support as she looks for a new location. She said Tecolote will reopen. A news release indicated the cafe plans to move to a new location this summer.

It looks like we’re going to find something, Adkins said. I can’t wait to get open in a new space.

The restaurant established a reputation as a popular place for New Mexican cuisine and received national attention from programs such as Guy Fieri’s TV show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

According to restaurant’s website, tecolote means owl in the Aztec language Nahuatl. The site also stated that Bill Jennison named the restaurant after a small town north of Santa Fe.

Contact Chris Quintana at 986-3093 or cquintana@sfnewmexican.com.