Let’s go eat at Frontier!

pattern stories
Written by:
Ed Domain

Who’s Hungry?

Several new friends I’ve made have asked me, “When are you going to Frontier?” and challenged me with things like, “You can’t call yourself a Burqueño until you eat at Frontier.”

In 1971, Larry and Dorothy Rainosek left Austin, Texas, and moved to Albuquerque. Once there, they opened Frontier and proceeded to become an Albuquerque institution. 

You may not recall New Mexico, or you may be new to these blogs, but I moved to New Mexico right before the pandemic lockdown started in 2020.

Fast forward to July 2021: New Mexico has opened again, and (fingers crossed) we will stay that way.

Several new friends I’ve made have asked me, “When are you going to Frontier?” and challenged me with things like, “You can’t call yourself a Burqueño until you eat at Frontier.”

Word is, back in the day Frontier was open 24/7, which is no surprise given their location across the street from the University of New Mexico, but these days they close at 11. 

Walking through the front door felt comfortable, the sort of comfortable you feel walking into an old friend’s house. The decor is all Southwest-inspired art mixed with Albuqeruque’s unique style and culture that is all it’s own. 

The menu: it has all the choices. ALL the choices.

The customers and staff moved through the place like they had done it a 1,000 times before and it is that exact special feeling, the feeling that can’t be faked that says to you, “Everything is going to be good, and you’ll be back.”

Hanging on the wall in Frontier.

The ketchup and salsa stand had a lobo running behind it on some important business, and for some reason it made me laugh. Maybe he delivered the ketchup and had somewhere else to be. 

I got myself a Frontier burrito because when you go to a place that everyone tells you is a, “city institution,” you go try the main attraction.

As expected, it was delicious. The green chiles delivered the right amount of heat and the burrito was awesome. (Can you tell?) 

YES

For everyone grabbing a drink, Frontier has the machine that lets you pick any soda flavor you can think of, and it’s a big place with plenty of seating.

How do you describe a burrito to people that have all had a burrito before? It was good. Real good. My face broke out in a light sweat after the first bite and the green chiles took hold. It was over soon, I couldn’t stop eating.

Speaks for itself (I should have eaten my lettuce).

As my friend and I polished off our meals, I slowed down a little and looked around again. Everyone was smiling, the mood was relaxed, and there was a great mix of people. Families, college students, and plenty of everyday Burqueños like yours truly. 

I took a walk through, noted the fun features like the wagon wheel chandeliers and art all over the walls.

Before I walked in, I knew I’d like it. I was right- Frontier is an institution, and I hope it stays that way for decades to come. 

Larry and Dorothy Rainosek.

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