New Sadie's restaurant location

Posted at: 06/11/2013 4:50 PM | Updated at: 06/11/2013 6:52 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A legendary Albuquerque restaurant is expanding its empire. Sadie’s opened its newest place at lunchtime Tuesday. It’s the old Garduno’s Restaurant on Academy just east of San Mateo.

With a $2.3 million makeover, you’ll hardly recognize the place. Sadie’s has managed to do all of this while most of the state’s economy is just beginning to recover from the recession.

The new Sadie’s was slammed on day one. As of now Sadie’s has four restaurants around Albuquerque, and employs almost 500 people. That’s a lot more than one, which is what Sadie Koury had when she opened the first Sadie’s Diner on Second Street, just north of Osuna, back in 1954. It was just Sadie, who called everybody “honey”. There were nine seats at the counter, that’s it, just nine.

Her nephew Billy Stafford practically grew up in the old place. Now he owns the family business.

“Because of that philosophy that she had, that honest, home philosophy, people would just pour in there,” Stafford said. “I can remember, I can vividly see three or four people deep trying to get to one of those seats.”

“That’s what Sadie’s is all about,” said Jim Garcia, operations director for the restaurants. “It’s bringing in families, whether it’s a graduation, or a quinceanera, it’s about spending time with family and friends. What I love is that everywhere I go, somebody has a Sadie’s story.” “Everything is consistent,” Stafford said.

“Everything is honest. Chips and salsa are free. They’ve always been free. We’ll never charge you for chips and salsa. You want some more chips and salsa? Sure, honey, come on in! That was Aunt Sadie’s philosophy and we’ve been doing it for 59 years the same way.”

The bustling, noisy, gleaming kitchen at the new restaurant is a long way from the tiny old grill Sadie used to cook on at the old diner. The sunny, spacious dining spaces of the new place are a far cry from the old counter with nine seats. The menu has grown huge over the years, but the spirit with which the food is prepared and served remains the same.

“It’s just a great feeling,” Stafford said. “My family is very excited. My mom, who is Sadie’s little sister, my brother, my dad in heaven, Aunt Sadie in heaven, I’m sure they’re looking down on us just with thumbs up and very pleased!”


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