Barelas eatery to reopen, but its owners have concerns
August 19, 2018 07:31 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Boasting a fresh coat of paint and high expectations on Sunday, a historic Albuquerque eatery is getting ready for its grand reopening.
Laticia Gutierrez used to work as a cook at the Red Ball Café when its owners locked the restaurant's doors about five years ago.
But the business – located off Fourth Street between Cromwell and Barelas in southwest Albuquerque – it looking to make a comeback when it opens again in September.
"My son-in-law actually just thought of the idea," Gutierrez said. "He passed by, he saw the closed sign and the 'For Lease' (sign). He said, 'I wonder if it would be that hard to really open the Red Ball again.'"
However, while Red Ball's new owners are excited for its reintroduction into the community, they're worried about the investment after spotting nearby garbage and needles. They say the area attracts homelessness, with public urination not unusual here, and they're worried those things could affect business.
Just down the street it's easy to spot those needs, garbage and the stench of stale urine. And while they've contacted the city and police, the conditions haven't really improved.
"Actually I think it's gotten a little bit worse," Gutierrez said. "Using the restroom in the street—it's just not good at all."
At the end of the block is a makeshift tent city for some homeless residents, a sight that Gutierrez said is new.
"It was different," she said, comparing the neighborhood she grew up in to what it looks like today. "It was very different."
Now, as a business owner, there are concerns that those changes could hurt business, potentially deterring would-be patrons.
"It would make people uncomfortable," Gutierrez said. "Because it does happen during the day, and it would scare people off."
Updated: August 19, 2018 07:31 PM
Created: August 19, 2018 05:22 PM
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