Past the railroad tracks in EDo (East Downtown), The Grove (600 Central Ave. SE, 505/248-9800, 7 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., $9) complements its local-organic menu with an indoor-outdoor feel, with big front windows facing Central and a screened-in patio. The chalkboard menu features big, creative salads (spinach, orange slices, and dates is one combo) as well as sandwiches and cupcakes; breakfast, with farm-fresh local eggs and homemade English muffins, is served all day. It’s a notch above Flying Star in price, but you’re paying for the very high-quality ingredients.
A couple of blocks west, Standard Diner (320 Central Ave. SE, 505/243-1440, 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri. and Sat., 9 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Sun., $15) satisfies dinner cravings too. The place is in fact far from standard, with cucumber slices in the water and cotton dish towels for napkins. Each plate, from chicken-fried steak to a pork chop with baked beans, has special touches; there’s also a big Sunday brunch menu. With deep booths, exposed brick walls, and flattering lighting, it feels more special than the menu prices would suggest, but it’s still family friendly.
For either coffee and pastry or a full dinner with a glass of wine, head to Gold Street Caffè (218 Gold Ave. SW, 505/765-1633, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Mon., 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., $10), where you can monopolize a sidewalk table while you sample food that tends toward light and fresh, from tuna niçoise salad to mussels in a red chile broth. It also serves full breakfasts—the de rigueur huevos rancheros alongside innovations such as poached eggs on green-chile brioche, as well as the dangerously addictive honey-chile glazed bacon.
A branch of Flying Star (723 Silver Ave. SE, 505/244-8099, 6 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 6 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri. and Sat., $9) occupies a hiply restored 1950 John Gaw Meem bank building—stop here for sustenance any time of day.
If you’re on the go—or just prefer to soak up the sun on the 4th Street pedestrian walk—you can grab a delectable sandwich, hot or cold, from
Relish (411 Central Ave. NW, 505/248-0002, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., $8)—its cubano is succulent, and even the coleslaw, studded with slices of green apple, has a special savor.
Or you can pick up a cheap slice at JC’s New York Pizza Department (215 Central Ave. NW, 505/766-6973, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–3 a.m. Fri. and Sat., $6), which specializes in thin-crust pies named after the five boroughs (Da Bronx: cured pepperoni and mozzarella).
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition