After initial concerns of nearby drug use, historic Barelas eatery reopens | KOB 4

After initial concerns of nearby drug use, historic Barelas eatery reopens

Casey Torres
September 21, 2018 05:29 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Thomas Shoats's taste buds have been waiting for this moment since 2013.


On Friday, he was enjoying the Red Ball Café's signature dish – the wimpy burger – as the historic Barelas restaurant began to serve up food once again after five years of closed doors.

"The chile tastes just like it did when they were open five years ago," Shoats said. "I had a lot of great memories with my mom here."

He's now able to rekindle those memories thanks to Leticia Gutierrez, who has worked hard and fast after deciding to buy the restaurant in May.

For some time, she feared ongoing issues with homelessness and needles littering the ground nearby would halt her dream.

"As we were getting ready to clean up and getting the building ready is when we would come out and we would clean and find needles there in the front," Gutierrez said. "We would have to call 311 for them to come, (for the) fire department to come pick them up."

A week after Gutierrez initially told KOB about the issues, she said police arrived with cameras and cleaned up the area. 

Since then, she said she hasn't seen any more needles, allowing her to focus on reviving an eatery that has existed for nearly a century in the neighborhood.

"It's an iconic building, and I think it'll do good here in this neighborhood," Gutierrez said. "It's a wonderful neighborhood."


Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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