The Bubba Chinos at 160 Federal Boulevard made a sudden exit about a month ago, leaving seekers of cheap, overstuffed burritos and spackle-thick green chile out in the cold. But Terry Dikeman, who owns the building, as well as Dandy Dan's just a block away, isn't crying over spilt queso. Instead, he's getting the place ready for a new restaurant tenant.
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"Cleaning — a lot of cleaning," is what Dikeman says is happening in the building in the absence of Leonard Cordova, founder of the Bubba Chinos brand and grandson of Stella Cordova, the matriarch of the original Chubby's (1231 West 38th Aveunue), who shared her green chile recipe with her grandson years before she passed away in 2009. Leonard Cordova was in and out of the Chubby's business for years before finally opening what was then called Chubby Bubbachino's at this location in 2005. Before that, Rita Cordova had run it as Chubby's, much to the chagrin of the side of the family trying to rein in the proliferation of Chubby's outposts unauthorized by Stella herself.
The name was soon changed to just Bubba Chinos, and it became the flagship for a series of other like-named eateries owned by Leonard or franchised out by him to other owners. Those came and went with the frequency of food trucks, but there are still a few left. (Try the Bubba Chinos Express at 8809 West Colfax Avenue if you're looking for a Cordova-run version.)
Dikeman says he's been easygoing about rent and bills over the years, but that Cordova fell behind to the point that the owner had to find a new tenant, whom he now has lined up — a former Bubba Chinos franchisee, in fact. So expect something similar to move in soon...only maybe without the colorful street art.