Jack Martinez, Jack-n-Grill's affable owner, thumped the defeated guy's back and nodded in sympathy before moving on to the next table, stopping to ask a foursome what they thought of the food and the space: 5,500 square feet of wood, tile, tapestry, lanterns, candles and New Mexican flea market bric-a-brac separated into several rooms, all with individual themes: Spanish, Native American and cowboy. "They're the tri-cultures of New Mexico," says Martinez, who opened to the public yesterday afternoon.And according to Martinez, the joint was standing room only last night. "We opened at 4 p.m., and in five hours, we did more sales than the Federal Boulevard and Belleview locations combined."
Over the next month, Martinez will add a full-fledged bakery flogging fresh tortillas, traditional New Mexican cakes, pies and pastries, sweet and savory empanadas and tamales to augment the shelves of housemade jams and jellies that are sold by the front door.
Then, says Martinez, he'll begin to scout spaces in his home town of New Mexico, where he plans to build several more Jack-n-Grill restaurants -- two in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe. And the original Jack-n-Grill, which opened ten years ago at 2524 Federal Boulevard, will soon undergo a nip and tuck. "The Federal location needs a facelift. She's not as pretty as her sisters," jokes Martinez, who will redo the kitchen, give the walls a fresh coat of paint and give the "Jack" room, bedecked with all things, well, "Jack," a makeover.
The Westminster location, which includes a bar (also known as the "Jack" room), is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more info, call 303-428-4788.