Special Destination

Rio Grande Social


by Albuquerque Journal:

Locally owned Rio Grande Social will open its doors to the public on Tuesday. The restaurant and lounge, at 10127 Coors NW, is a contemporary venue where family and friends can meet up for a bite, a cocktail or both.

Co-owners Yogesh Patel and Art Gardenswartz worked together on the concept for Rio Grande Social.

“We collaborated together to put in some of the items that we have in other restaurants that we have, such as the taco, the pizza, the Thai, and wanted to bring a nice elegant bar to the West Side of town that people could enjoy,” Patel said.

Its menu has options for all types of appetites. The majority of plates are priced less than $20.

If you are looking for something small, there are several items under the Social Bites category to choose from, including whole chicken wings with a choice of hot, Jamaican jerk or BBQ sauce; shishito peppers; a smoked butter board comprised of Irish butter topped with seasonal ingredients; and a charcuterie board filled with cured meats, cheeses, bacon jam, mustards and pickled vegetables. A few salads and sandwiches includes the hangover burger that uses two grilled cheese sandwiches as the buns with beef chorizo, bacon, fried egg and sauce in between.

Italian influenced offerings include pastas such as the orecchiette al sugo, comprised of housemade fennel sausage, tomato sauce and spinach, as well as 14-inch brick oven pizzas. However, the Mexican Pizza is a fun twist with black bean crema, pepper jack, beef chorizo, and a cilantro and tomatillo avocado sauce.

Chef Jordan Rivera and sous chef Andres Arabago created the menu together.

“Both of us have a lot of experience that we bring together,” Rivera said. “I had a lot of input with our entrees. We have a nice seared salmon on there, steak and frites. Our salmon fish and chips is a little different. Everyone’s used to a white fish. We also have our burgers, which can be a little different. The one I’m looking forward to is our hangover burger.”

There are 24 TVs throughout the space for sports fans to enjoy. An outside patio is available for patrons who want to soak up the sun and take in views of the Sandia mountains and the bosque. Seating areas are sprinkled throughout the space .

Rio Grande Social is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. It opens early for brunch at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A bloody mary bar will be part of the brunch menu.

Guests can choose to sit at the quartzite bar top. The full-service bar offers signature cocktails including the Social Whip, a pineapple slush made with Malibu rum or New Amsterdam vodka and the rosemary paloma made with Lunazul tequila, triple sec, grapefruit juice and rosemary. On tap are 22 area craft beers as well as domestic and imports. Wine is also available.

“The drink menu is curated off of elevated traditional drinks,” said bar manager May Souriyanyong. “And it will be seasonal with the kitchen menu as well. So it’s going to be turned around every few months.”

The “It’s 5:05 Somewhere!” is Rio Grande Social’s happy hour menu, which has $5 cocktails all day. Offerings include the Pink Whitney lemonade, Socialite Whip shot and the Ketel One Peach Ring.

Rio Grande Social, at the corner of Coors and Seven Bar Loop NW, is on what once was a drainage pond. It was transformed to accommodate the restaurant and lounge.

“What’s interesting about this particular space is this was a hole,” Gardenswartz said. “This was a draining site for the shopping center. So we’ve worked for the last five years with the engineering (team) and getting the city to shorten the pond. And so we filled this space in and created this land from the pond. The pond is still over there. We made it deeper so it can handle the drainage. In a sense, we’ve created some land that wasn’t here.”


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