Tula’s, Dion’s sister chain, expanding in NE Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Customers walking through the front doors of Tula’s Kitchen in northeast Albuquerque, would never guess it used to be an IHOP.

“We totally refurbished the building to revitalize the space and the area,” said Deena Crawley, the chief of staff for both Tula’s, and its sister restaurant Dion’s.

Since October, Tula’s has been serving up Mediterranean dishes, sandwiches, soups and cocktails, with some familiar items like Dion’s ranch.

“It’s really modern, casual dining, rethought,” Crawley explained. “We also have items like alcoholic drinks that you’re not going to find at Dion’s. So, we have a great drink called the ‘Santa Fe Blue.’ That’s blueberry vodka and Dion’s lemonade. We also have a ‘Spiced Cherry Old Fashion’ that’s popular.”

Crawley said Tula’s established a big enough customer base to branch out, after just seven months. But instead of working with another IHOP, officials say they plan to flip what used to be Nick and Jimmy’s off I-25 and Jefferson.

“We knew it was going to be the perfect location, and it’s a great, busy area, and it’s got a larger footprint for us,” Crawley said. “So, it will allow us to serve even more customers.”

With a bigger space and a full liquor license “Tula’s Two” will offer more food and drink options. But popular items like the chicken scallopini and crispy chicken sandwich will remain on the menu.”We always started Tula’s with the intention of having multiple locations,” Crawley said.

Officials hope that dream will become a reality before the end of this year. Tula’s Two is only in its design phase right now, but that has not slowed plans for more growth down the road.

“We definitely think Albuquerque has room for two to three more locations for Tula’s,” Crawley said.