Flying Star Café: "Casual and good ? but take ID!" Albuquerque Restaurant Tip by toonsarah

Albuquerque Restaurants: 154 reviews and 232 photos

  Order here
by toonsarah
  • Order here - Albuquerque
      Order here
    by toonsarah
  • Chris with passport and hard-won beer - Albuquerque
      Chris with passport and hard-won beer
    by toonsarah
  • It was worth it! - Albuquerque
      It was worth it!
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  • Key lime pie on the house - Albuquerque
      Key lime pie on the house
    by toonsarah

We had thought about eating in the Old Town on our one evening in Albuquerque but when we discovered that there were several options within walking distance of the Hotel Blue we changed our minds. Most of these were along Central Avenue, but another, recommended in our Moon Handbook, had caught my eye ? the Flying Star Café. This is a small local chain with a handful of branches in the city and one in Santa Fe. They aren?t fancy places but have a great reputation for good quality if simple food at very reasonable prices. You won?t find table cloths, flowers and candles, and you have to go to the counter to order, but you?ll get good deli-style food alongside some more interesting and substantial dishes, and a friendly buzzy atmosphere.

This particular branch also happens to be located in an interesting and rather striking building ? which I completely failed to take any photos of! It was originally the Southern Union Gas Company and was designed in 1950 by a regionally famous architect, John Gaw Meem. The gas company stopped using it about 17 years ago and the building was restored for use by the café. It has been granted the status of a National Historic Place. On the evening we visited it was busy with a wide variety of diners ? students making a coffee last for hours while working on laptops (there is free wifi), groups of friends evidently on the first leg of a night out, tourists like ourselves, family groups, business people etc etc. This is clearly a popular spot.

There were several tempting dishes on the menu and we decided to keep with the casual vibe and go for sandwiches ? Chris?s the Turkey and Swiss on rye, and mine the ?MOO-ve Over Meat? veggie burger, which was delicious (I?m not a vegetarian but I do like anything spicy, which this promised to be: a ?grilled, spicy southwest black bean patty with melted cheddar & Cajun dressing?. Both our sandwiches came with a choice of sides ? I opted for the homemade BBQ potato chips while Chris had the French fries.

To go with our meals we ordered a couple of bottles of Santa Fe pale ale ? and thus began one of the more amusing incidents of our trip. It is New Mexico state law that anyone drinking alcohol must be over 21 years of age. Neither Chris nor I are under any delusions that we look anything like that young. Consequently we were not surprised to be able to buy beer and other drinks in a number of places during the first few days of our trip. The friendly Buffalo Bar in Silver City happily served us beer and Jack Daniels; the Socorro Springs Brewery had no problem with us enjoying their brews both with and after our meal; and our hotel in Grants served us without a quibble. So imagine our surprise, and initial amusement, when we were asked to show ID here. It is a very long while since anyone questioned whether I was over 21! But the server was adamant ? no ID, no beer. She did however offer to see if her manager would waive the rule, but the manager too was insistent. According to her, state laws meant that anyone serving alcohol to anyone had to ask for and see evidence that they were of legal drinking age. We pointed out that no one else had so far done so, but she said that she could lose her job if the police were to raid the restaurant and find anyone drinking without ID, so Chris popped back to the hotel (thankfully only a few minutes away) to get our passports.

To be fair the manager was only doing her job and we certainly didn?t want her to lose it because of us! And she obviously felt a bit bad because when I went up to the counter to order dessert (Key Lime pie to share and a decaf latte for Chris) she came over to tell the server that it was on the house :-)

Address: 723 Silver Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Price Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: On the corner of Silver and 8th St W, two blocks south of Central Ave
Phone: %s3%cb 505-244-8099
Price: US$11-20
Rating: 3
Theme: Diner

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 18, 2011
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