Iconic NM Restaurants: Comet II Drive In

Created: 12/25/2013 9:35 AM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

SANTA ROSA, N.M. -- America's Main Street still has meaning in Santa Rosa, where the neon signs take us back to a time when ordering food while cruising in your hot rod was the "it" thing to do. Welcome to the Comet II Drive In Restaurant, which hasn't been a drive in for 15 years.

"At one time it was a drive-in but in '94 I had a fire and it burned down," said John Martinez, the owner of the restaurant.

It also burned down the original Comet, which is why you see "Comet II" on the signs.

The car-hop may be gone, but people still flock to the restaurant to taste the mouth-watering food! John says that everything's made from scratch and he does almost everything...almost!

"I don't serve the window anymore because of my temperament. I'll blow it too quick," John said jokingly.

The former serviceman started out as a cook before becoming the owner of the restaurant more than six decades ago! The Comet started back in 1929 and has been in John's family for three generations now. It's the reason that he gets out of bed in the morning!

"I look forward to coming and going to the kitchen and cooking and coming out here and talking to my customers. My customers are the most important thing in my life," he said.

Some of those customers include Dan Aykroyd, Johnny Cash, and former KOB 4 Investigative Reporter Conroy Chino!

The locals swear by green chile, and we're not talking about the famous ones from southern New Mexico.

"I have a friend that grows it in Puerto De Luna, and they call the chile the PDL and it's got it all over hatch. Hatch is no match," he exclaimed.

Those are fightin' words! After I tried the popular PDL Green Chile Enchilada, I realized that John may be on to something. Maybe Hatch has a worthy opponent.

To John, the enchiladas and the Comet are his bread and butter and don't expect him to hang up his apron anytime soon!

"The day I die you're going to have to bury me with a spatula in my hand. I'm here as long as the good Lord lets me," said John.

More: New Mexico Culinary Treasures

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