A New Mexico Story: Shannon, Chris, and The Farmacy

pattern stories
Written by:
Ed Domain

The Farmacy in East Nob Hill, Albuquerque, is open for business — socially distanced, less than normal capacity allowed, of course — but they are definitely open and the food is delicious. I’m jumping ahead. We’ll get to that.

From the outside, The Farmacy looks like what it is: a charming breakfast restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. And, for those who like brunch a bit lively, they’ve got drinks to go with it.

“This place,” Chris added, “this place is good for the community. East Nob Hill is on the comeback, and The Farmacy is a big part of that.”

Any city runs on its people, and Albuquerque is no different. In our unusual times, all of us are making adjustments and doing what needs to be done. The Farmacy is no different here, either. The staff is masked, the host stand has hand sanitizer, and they are being noticeably careful about safety.

The Farmacy at opening time, Chris and Shannon

When I rolled in for breakfast early one morning, I was excited to try a spot I heard, “was delicious.” (It doesn’t take much to convince me to eat).

It was indeed delicious, so much so I came back several times over the next couple weeks, and got to talking to Chris Woods, general manager of The Farmacy, and Shannon Downey, a server newly returned to Albuquerque.

 

 

Shannon

As coffee poured into my cup and the smell filled my nose, Shannon greeted me and we got to talking a little. I was the first customer that morning, but that would change in 30 or 40 minutes.  But for now we talked about how we both moved to Albuquerque in March. For me, it was a brand new move. For Shannon, it’s been a return to a familiar and beloved place.

Shannon is originally from the Midwest, but raised her kids in Nob Hill. “I have two daughters in Albuquerque, and one of my daughters is at UNM. I really enjoy being close to them, and Albuquerque is great. The weather, the liveability. It’s an easy going lifestyle here, and people are friendly.”

Chris

“You have a slight New Mexican accent,” I said to Chris, “but I’m new here and might be off.” His eyes widened in surprise and he started laughing. “I’ve lived here twenty years, and I usually have people tell me they hear the east coast in my voice.”

Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Chris came out to Albuquerque to visit friends and stayed. “That visit was all it took,” he said casually. “I love Albuquerque.”

The Farmacy

“You saw for yourself,” Chris told me as he set up a host stand outside the front door, complete with hand sanitizer. He was referring to my last visit to the restaurant. I was the first customer that morning, and by the time I left, there was a line of hungry people waiting for a table.

He said the obvious. “We get busy.”

Grits and Pork Belly

Currently limited on how many diners can be inside and outside due to COVID restrictions, The Farmacy is still sticking to their high standards.

“Everything is made by hand,” said Chris, “we are a scratch kitchen, like ‘The Shop,’  and ‘Tia’s Waffleria.’”

Back at my table, Shannon presented me with my bowl of grits with pork belly, served with toast and fresh fruit spread.

I’ve had this four times now.

New Mexico, I can only say this: I have eaten at The Farmacy four times, and I have had this dish four times. It’s that good.

The rest of The Farmacy’s menu is equally good looking. I haven’t tried it yet, but plan to.

Shannon

“It was great to come back to New Mexico and find work so easily,” said Shannon with a smile. “I came here to The Farmacy, met Chris, got hired. It’s worked out well, and everything here has been great.” Then she shared another interesting fact: “I’m also a brewer by trade.”

Shannon was a professional brewer for years, and has been thinking about launching a female-owned cider company. “I’m a supporter of our government here, and Albuquerque feels like a good place to do it with all the breweries, and now distilleries, opening. A craft brew cider might do well here.”

Chris

“I was out of work because of COVID-related layoffs,” Chris told me. “In a very New Mexico way, I met the owner, and it turns out he needed a GM to run it,” he shared, “and it’s worked out really well. We’re very proud of the food we serve here, and it shows.” He smiled at this, as we both looked at the line of people waiting.

“This place,” Chris added, “this place is good for the community. East Nob Hill is on the comeback, and The Farmacy is a big part of that.”

Chris and Shannon called out a goodbye as silverware clinked, the air smelled of coffee, and they moved on to their next customers.

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