One Hour in Santa Fe
In June, (2022) Don and I spent about an hour in Santa Fe.
We spent it, dining in The Pantry Restaurant on Cerrillos Road.
We were headed to Colorado and had hoped to stop for a leisurely lunch in the beautiful town of Santa Fe.
But there were fires and those fires changed our route. This photo was taken before we were in the midst of a huge traffic jam.
Views From the Car
We were rerouted on a strange drive, that seemed sort of curious and entertaining.
But our snaking route ate up time. There wasn't time for a proper visit to Santa Fe.
On Route 66
But we still needed lunch. I Googled and found a place that was actually in Santa Fe, but far from Old Town. This little stucco building was once on the outskirts of town, on the old Mother Road.
That was intriguing enough. But the restaurant had great reviews and they offered easy free parking in the lot.
We entered through a door that looked like it could have been original. George Myers opened The Pantry in 1948.
The stools looked like they could have been original also. I love dining at a counter!
In the Corner
But we took a corner table in the front room, where we had a good view of the guests coming and going. There was lots of activity.
We were seated by friendly staff and given menus right away.
I tired to study the menu, but my eyes were drawn to the tables around me. I liked the quilted art piece above the table behind Don. Below the framed piece, a fireplace was hidden. Did that warm the restaurant in 1948?
I studied the old casement windows nearby. The ladies sitting next to them had a nice view of the old Rt 66. However they seemed unaware of the world outside their table. One of the two was a talker. She hardly paused to taste her food. I was amused.
Don and I placed our order and enjoyed the upbeat atmosphere. There must have been 20 employees, wearing colorful Pantry t-shirts.
There was a cooperative, pitch in feel to the place. Lots of staff moving about, serving, clearing, chatting, joking. No one stood still for more than a moment and no one seemed stressed. My favorite kind of place.
Our meals arrived on colorful southwestern plates. Don ordered 2 fish tacos, well-stuffed with fish and fresh avocado. No complaints!
I'm not sure what possessed me to order a Greek Salad. But I'm glad that I did.
My hefty salad with crispy cucumbers, Kawamata olives, feta cheese and fresh greens, would have been much more than $10.75, if we'd been dining in the touristy part of Santa Fe.
It was 2:30 by the time we finished up. Most of the tables had cleared and some of the staff was freed up for a bit.
I chatted with this friendly bunch for a few minutes. They saw me taking photos and figured I was curious about the place.
One pointed out a silver dollar embedded in the counter. I was confused about her story. I'm thinking there was once another coin, in the nearby hole. It looks like someone needed more money to cover the bill and grabbed a dinner knife...
Another one of the girls took me over to the little open nook, with the cash register. She pointed to a display of origami dollars on the wall. Her favorite was the elephant. Cute!
Then and Now
We left full and happy. I wish we'd learned more about this wonderful 74 year old business. George Myers obviously did something right, when he started up, 74 years ago.
I read that George's son Max, has partnered with the current owners of The Pantry, to open up a new location. I love that.
We pulled out of the lot and I took one last look at the blue and yellow sign. I pictured a 1950 Chevy traveling on Route 66, slowing down to take a look at the neon letters.
As we continued down Cerrillos Road, I spotted more signs. I was reminded of a time when travelers in New Mexico stayed in motor courts, not boutique hotels and Airbnbs. I hope to someday and spend a night in one. In the morning, we can head over to The Pantry for breakfast!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.