Monica’s El Portal to close after nearly 50 years

Monica’s El Portal closing after nearly 50 years

Monica Baca says it has been a good run but the time has come to close her iconic Albuquerque restaurant.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Since 1978, Monica’s El Portal Restaurant has been serving New Mexican food but now the owners say it’s time to say goodbye.

El Portal is a family business through and through. The owner, Monica Baca, has been running the iconic Old Town restaurant since she was just 17 years old.

“A lot of hardship, a lot of crying, a lot of cheers but we’re here still,” Monica said.

Her parents passed it down to her 47 years ago. Now, she and her husband say it’s time to move on and retire.

“I’m here 15 hours a day on my feet in that kitchen. I make all the food, I make all the orders. My husband helps me with the sopapillas and stuff. By the end of the day, I go home and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh,'” Monica said. “I’ve even resorted to wearing Crocs.”

Monica’s passion for cooking at El Portal has been hard to ignore. She will always cherish the memories. It’s just time to make some new ones.

“We earned it, we deserve it, it’s time,” she said. “I’m just very thankful for the people who have come in and eaten here.”

Beyond the end of June, they plan to lease out the location.