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THE VOTES ARE IN FOR OUR 2ND ANNUAL POLL OF THE BEST PLACES TO EAT, DRINK, SHOP, PLAY AND REJUVENATE IN RIO RANCHO

88 CATEGORIES OF THE VERY BEST THE CITY OF VISION HAS TO OFFER

KELLI TRAPNELL


BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST PUB

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company 905 36TH PL. SE 994-9497, TURTLEMOUNTAINBREWING.COM It’s a beautiful thing when the beers at your favorite brewery are as good as the food. Even better when that brewery has perfectly nailed the feel of a neighborhood pub. Turtle Mountain has all these qualities in spades. In fact, items like the hand-tossed pretzels, pork belly skewers, and the artisanal meat-n-cheese plate were part of the master plan to make Turtle Mountain reminiscent of the friendly bar on that TV show. It worked. Cheers! BEST OF THE REST: O’HARE’S GRILLE & PUB (4100 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 896-0123, OHARESGRILLEPUB.COM), BLUE GRASSHOPPER (2 LOCATIONS, BGHBREWERY.COM)

BEST HAIR SALON

Attractions Hair Studio 3751 SOUTHERN BLVD SE 891-8771 Owner Safia Ayazi leads the experienced, versatile team at Attractions Hair Studio, which is a Rio Rancho institution in itself. She and her team not only cut and color hair expertly, but also build relationships with whole families—some of the regulars at Attractions have been getting their hair cut by Safia and her team for a decade. Known for their skill and kindness, the hair stylists at Attractions are what keeps people coming back. BEST OF THE REST: SALON DELUXE (3301 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 896-0586, SALONDELUXE.VCARDINFO.COM), FLAMING LOX (2006 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 818-2618)

BEST PET BOARDING Pet Paradise

580 QUANTUM RD. NE 891-4100, PETPARADISE.COM This facility has amenities to make owners green with envy when they drop off their dogs. “Paradise” truly is the buzzword, thanks to a trio of yearround heated pools — the only ones of their kind in Rio Rancho or Albuquerque. There are also multiple indoor and outdoor play areas, climate-controlled indoor suites and training classes. There’s more: dogs can socialize and make new friends during day camp or get pampered with a “spa day” while boarding.

BEST OF THE REST: MONTE VISTA PET LODGE (365 UNSER BLVD SE, 998-1494, MVPETLODGE.COM), ZOEY’S TLC BED & BREAKFAST (114 INDUSTRIAL PARK PL NE, 892-5811)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST APPETIZER MENU Slate Street Billiards 2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 994-0363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM Slate Street is known across the city for their delicious chicken wings, but the rest of their appetizer menu is nothing to scoff at. With mouth-watering classics like nachos stacked high with queso, jalapenos, and olives, stuffed potato skins bursting with bits of bacon and cheese, and perfectly crispy mozzarella sticks or fried mushrooms, pre-pool snacks are a must here. If you’re undecided, go with the Porky Fries or Tots, a bed of fries or tots smothered in green chile pulled pork gravy, Monterey jack cheese, and dusted with fresh chives. BEST OF THE REST: TURTLE MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY (905 36TH PL. SE, 994-9497, TURTLEMOUNTAINBREWING.COM), O’HARE’S GRILLE & PUB (4100 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 896-0123, OHARESGRILLEPUB.COM)

BEST PET SUPPLY STORE Pet Food Gone Wild 2415 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 994-0101, PETFOODGONEWILD.COM This holistic premium dog and cat food store, which celebrated its eighth anniversary this year, offers natural and healthy products to pet owners in the Rio Rancho area. That means byproducts such as corn, wheat and soy are nowhere to be found — and even gluten-free pet food lines are available. The food can be geared to sick pets as well, whether they’re suffering from pancreatitis, kidney issues or another type of ailment. Ultimately, better nutrition equals better pet longevity, something any pet owner can point to as a positive. BEST OF THE REST: BOOFY’S BEST FOR PETS (8201 GOLF COURSE RD NW C-2, 8900757, BOOFYSBEST.COM), PETSENSE (4300 RIDGECREST DR SE, STE Q-2, PETSENSE. COM, 892-4232)

BEST DATE NIGHT RESTAURANT Prairie Star

288 PRAIRIE STAR ROAD 867-3327, MYNEWMEXICOGOLF.COM Diners looking to mark a special occasion have long flocked to this elegant restaurant and wine bar on the grounds of the Santa Ana Golf Club. In addition to fine dining, Prairie Star is known for wine, with the city’s largest by-the-glass selection (32 varietals). BEST OF THE REST: M’TUCCI’S MODERNO (1908 WELLSPRING AVE. SE, 891-2432, MTUCCIS.COM), JOE’S PASTA HOUSE (3201 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 8923333, JOESPASTAHOUSE.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST BUFFET Namaste

1580 DEBORAH RD SE 896-3126, NAMASTENM.NET It’s hard to beat an all you can eat buffet, especially when it’s filled to the brim with Indian delights like tandoori chicken, dal, saag, chutney, raita, and two rotating meat dishes from Namaste’s regular menu. If you’re lucky, they’ll even have their special Green Chile Chicken Curry on offering.

BEST OF THE REST: JOE’S PASTA HOUSE (3201 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 892-3333, JOESPASTAHOUSE.COM), SANTA ANA STAR CASINO HOTEL (54 JEMEZ CANYON DAM ROAD, 867-0000, SANTAANASTAR.COM)

BEST ESTHETICIAN

Monica Montoya Fresh Face Therapeutics 4041 BARBARA LOOP, SE UNIT E 920-2185, FRESHFACETHERAPEUTICS.COM With nearly a decade of experience under her belt, Monica Montoya, the owner of Fresh Face Therapeutics, knows exactly what her patients need in order to reach their personal skincare goals. Montoya’s treatments are all natural, and span a range of services, from chemical peels to microdermabrasion and more.

BEST OF THE REST: AMANDA MEDINA (HALO MED SPA, 203 RIO GRANDE BLVD NW #3, 433-4043, HALOMEDSPAABQ.COM), ASHLEE COSTALES (PRICKLY + PEAR SKIN, 10700 CORRALES RD, 489-8034, PRICKLYPEARHAIRSKINBODY.COM)

BEST COLUMNIST

Gary Herron Rio Rancho Observer

Gary Herron is an avid sports fan, which makes his writing voice particularly personal. The author of several sports books, including 50 Years of the Pit and Baseball in Albuquerque, Herron brings decades of experience and a love of the local sports scene to everything he writes. He has been a radio personality, a journalist, an author and an expert in everything from high school sports to MMA. BEST OF THE REST: JOLINE GUTIERREZ KRUEGER – ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, STEPHEN MONTOYA – ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST NAIL SALON Demi’s Nails

2345 SOUTHERN BLVD. SUITE C6 892-2426 With 15 techs working with 900 different gel polish colors, the crew here can do one of a kind art for your nails—fingers and toes! The Demi’s team can work with acrylic, gel, or regular polish to give customers intricate nail designs. They accommodate bridal parties as well and even do waxing and eyelash extensions. BEST OF THE REST: PAM’S NAIL SPA (1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE SUITE #104, 994-0020), KIM VI NAILS & SALON (1290 NM-528, 892-0642)

BEST FAMILY RESTAURANT

Slice & Dice Board Game Pizzeria 5720 MCMAHON BLVD NW SUITE B 361-2058, SLICEANDDICEPIZZERIA.COM Board games and pizza! Now that’s a combo the kiddos are sure to love. And with classic games like Clue on hand as well as new favorites like Settlers of Catan, there’s something for everyone at Slice and Dice. Did we mention that their pizza is great, too? Bring your full house out to try their Full House pizza, or build your own, if you’ve got picky eaters. Any way you slice it, this place is a great time for the whole family. BEST OF THE REST: JOE’S PASTA HOUSE (3201 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 892-3333, JOESPASTAHOUSE.COM), IRONWOOD KITCHEN (5740 NIGHT WHISPER RD. NW, 890-4488, IRONWOODKITCHEN.COM)

BEST COMFORT FOOD

K’Lynns’s Southern & Cajun Fusion 4300 RIDGECREST DR. SE, SUITE O 453-3068, KLYNNSFUSION.COM The dishes are plentiful at this diner’s ode to Cajun-style cooking, which draws raves from homesick Southerners with authentic dishes like collard greens, oxtail, and fried green tomatoes.

BEST OF THE REST: UNCLE T’S SANGWICHES (1520 DEBORAH RD. SE SUITE O, 404-9345, ALLTHESANGWICHES.COM), O’HARE’S GRILLE & PUB (4100 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 896-0123, OHARESGRILLEPUB.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST LOCAL TO HAVE LUNCH WITH Mayor Gregg Hull

Accessible, fun, smart, and with a deep passion for his city; those are all things you want in a mayor, and in a lunch partner. Now in his second term as Mayor, Gregg Hull is seen all over the City of Vision, and he loves discovering Rio Rancho restaurants, so if you do get a chance to have lunch with him, take his recommendation on where to eat. BEST OF THE REST: RIO RANCHO POLICE DEPT., ANDRES TRUJILLO (NM RUNNERS)

BEST BARBERSHOP

Randy’s Barbershop 2104 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 896-8188 Walking into Randy’s, you’ll get the feel of an old-time, community-building barbershop. The men sitting in line, waiting for their cut are laughing and having a good time; pitching in to the conversations going on between the barbers and the other customers; smiling as they wait their turn. Ask any one of the regulars at this old-fashioned-in-thebest-way, manly little shop why they keep coming back, and they’ll all mention the same thing: the people. At Randy’s, every barber will give you a detail-focused, crisp cut for a cool $15, plus a shape up with a straight razor before sending you on your way. BEST OF THE REST: TYMELESS BARBER SHOPPE (5740 NIGHT WHISPER RD. NW, 5542062, TYMELESSBARBERSHOPPE.COM), ROB’S FAMILY BARBERSHOP (3301 SOUTHERN BLVD SE #303, 221-5044, ROBERTSFAMILYBARBERSHOP.COM)

BEST GREEN CHILE Hot Tamales

1520 RIO RANCHO BLVD. SE 962-0123, HOTTAMALESNMRESTAURANT.COM Green chile is taken seriously here, on plates ranging from breakfast (such as the Green Chile Stew Omelet) to lunch or dinner (Mama’s Green Chile Enchilada Casserole). They even sell it to-go—by the quart! BEST OF THE REST: TWISTERS (2435 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 892-4121, MYTWISTERS.COM), THE LOCAL BREWHOUSE (300 UNSER BLVD. SE, 994-2007)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST TAP BEER SELECTION The Local Brewhouse 300 UNSER BLVD. SE 994-2007 With 32 beers on tap—many of them rotating seasonal beers—it’s easy to see why the City of Vision flocks to The Local Brewhouse when they’re hoping for some good brews. Pair that with their food menu— which includes Taco Tuesdays and a Sunday promotion that involves free chile cheese fries or a cup of Green Chile Stew with the purchase of an alcoholic beverage—and their nice patio, and you can’t go wrong. BEST OF THE REST: TURTLE MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY (905 36TH PL. SE, 994-9497, TURTLEMOUNTAINBREWING.COM), FREIGHT HOUSE KITCHEN + TAP (200 S CAMINO DEL PUEBLO, BERNALILLO 588-2143, FR8HOUSE.COM)

BEST COLLISION REPAIR SHOP Car Crafters

2 LOCATIONS CARCRAFTERS.COM How’s this for passion? Car Crafters owner Jim Guthrie initially started a body shop in his parents’ garage until the overcrowding in the neighborhood cul-de-sac forced him to pursue his calling elsewhere. Fortunately, Guthrie was able to convert his passion into a successful career. Since 1982, Car Crafters—with two Rio Rancho locations and seven overall—has offered all types of collision repair (dents, scratches, hail and more) from a capable staff of I-CAR trained and ASE certified technicians. Car Crafters is no one-trick pony, however. Mechanical services, glass repair and much more are also available. BEST OF THE REST: QUANZ AUTO CARE (204 FRONTAGE ROAD, 897-1955, QUANZAUTOCARE.COM), HAROLD’S BODY SHOP (3811 EDITH BLVD NE, 345-6170, HAROLDSBODYREPAIR.COM)

BEST ASIAN CUISINE Pho Bar

3301 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 994-9150, PHO-BAR.COM Pho is broadly defined as noodle soup with meat. But the options at this Southern Boulevard favorite go far beyond that, with varieties like beef tripe, brisket, or even filet mignon. For the indecisive, try the six-meat combination bowl. All come with a colorful medley of sprouts, basil, cilantro and jalapeño. BEST OF THE REST: KYOTO SUSHI & STEAKHOUSE (355 NM-528, 892-8668, KYOTOYABA.COM), VIET RICE (1340 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 892-7423, VIETRICE. CAFE)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST DESSERT

ChocGlitz & Cream 10660 UNSER BLVD. NW 898-4589, CHOCGLITZANDCREAM.COM The decadent chocolate creations sit in glass cases like sparkling jewelry at this locally-owned sweets shop on the southern edge of Rio Rancho. Never thought you’d crave a caramel apple or handmade fudge? Guess again. BEST OF THE REST: FLYING STAR (6 LOCATIONS, FLYINGSTARCAFE. COM), PALETA BAR (2003 SOUTHERN BLVD SE SUITE 118, 234-1116, THEPALETABAR.COM)

BEST PRODUCT MADE LOCALLY Paulita’s New Mexico 896-1078, PAULITASNEWMEXICO.COM

Paulita’s might very well lead the state in care packages. In addition to destinations throughout the United States, the store’s flagship dehydrated green chile has traveled to locales such as Okinawa, Afghanistan, France and Germany, to name a few. “It’s a product that travels well,” says owner Paula Nieto Porter. “Very inexpensive. We’re able to ship our products because they are lightweight, and you don’t have to worry about freezing or special packaging.” Most importantly, the taste isn’t lost in translation. “It’s very unique in the fact that when you rehydrate our product it’s like having actual fire-roasted green chile from New Mexico,” Porter says. BEST OF THE REST: ACEQUIA WINERY (240 RECLINING ACRES RD, 898-0933, ACEQUIAWINERY.COM), THE BEES KNEES WAX BOUTIQUE (1515 GOLF COURSE RD SE SUITE 202, 702-6935, THEBEESKNEESWAXBOUTIQUE.COM)

BEST NACHOS

Ironwood Kitchen 5740 NIGHT WHISPER RD. NW 890-4488, IRONWOODKITCHEN.COM Made-from-scratch is the term most often associated with the Mexican and American cuisines on the Ironwood menu. That especially applies to the nachos, which come loaded, layered, and ready for only the heartiest appetites. BEST OF THE REST: SLATE STREET BILLIARDS (2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 9940363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM), TURTLE MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY (905 36TH PL. SE, 994-9497, TURTLEMOUNTAINBREWING.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST CHICKEN WINGS Slate Street Billiards 2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 994-0363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM Wings are the thing at this Rio Rancho grub pub. In fact, co-owner Todd Mack says his team seeks out the biggest, most plump wings that food distributors have to offer. Then the Slate Street team whips up an offering of 10 in-house sauces, and all you need are napkins. BEST OF THE REST: BLUE GRASSHOPPER (3 LOCATIONS, BGHBREWERY. COM), TURTLE MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY (905 36TH PL. SE, 9949497, TURTLEMOUNTAINBREWING.COM)

BEST SANDWICH

Dagmars’ Delectables 2704 SOUTHERN BLVD. S.E. 891-7995 A Dagmar’s novice might go straight for the coconut cream strudels and the glistening apple cheese Danish, but the real prizes here are the sandwiches. Just like with her sweeter creations, every combination is good—brats, schnitzel brotechen with mustardy German potato salad, liverwurst or braunschweigen on a more straightforward sandwich bread with butterkase. The Bavarian flavors are so authentic, your feet might just start tapping out a schuhplattler. BEST OF THE REST: UNCLE T’S SANGWICHES (1520 DEBORAH RD. SE SUITE O, 404-9345, ALLTHESANGWICHES.COM), 1933 BREWING COMPANY (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

BEST DOG TRAINING Sit Means Sit

10408 2ND ST. NW, ALBUQUERQUE 916-1748, SITMEANSSIT.COM Not comfortable sending your unruly canine away to learn behavior and obedience? Sit Means Sit also comes to you with in-home dog and puppy training programs. More traditional 15- and 20-day boarding programs are also offered, as well as a doggy boot camp that comes complete with homework after each weekly lesson. Whatever your preference, there is training that can suit your needs — including packages that offer lifetime training options. Rehabilitation is a speciality, as some of the most aggressive animals have emerged from the program as therapy dogs. BEST OF THE REST: PET PARADISE (580 QUANTUM RD. NE, 891-4100, PETPARADISE.COM), GOOD BUDDY (661 QUANTUM RD NE #V102, 221-7314, GOODBUDDYDOGTRAINING.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST BAKE SHOP

Les Blonde Bakery 903-8868 Owner Kerian Myerson’s homemade cheesecakes became so popular with family that she decided to open Les Blonde. Her decadent and meticulously crafted goodies have since become a smash hit at wedding receptions and birthday parties. BEST OF THE REST: DAGMAR’S DELECTABLES (2704 SOUTHERN BLVD. S.E., 891-7995), LILY AND LIAM BISTRO (1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 3403309, LILYANDLIAMBISTRO.COM)

BEST PLACE FOR A SHOPPING SPREE Cottonwood Mall

10000 COORS BYPASS NW 899-7467, COTTONWOODMALL.COM If the credit lines are open and the accounts are flush with cash, this is your best shop-til-you-drop option, with more than 135 stores and specialty retailers such as Dillard’s, JC Penney, Forever 21, Ulta Beauty and the Disney Store on site. Just as important, there’s plenty to help the little ones avoid mall fatigue while you make the rounds, including kid-focused community events, play area, food court and a Regal Cinema movie theater. BEST OF THE REST: KOHL’S (3715 ELLISON RD NW, 792-3961, KOHLS.COM), BURLINGTON COAT FACTORY (3400 CALLE CUERVO NW, 899-3112, BURLINGTON.COM),

BEST RED CHILE Burrito Express

1592 SARA RD. 896-1592, BURRITOEXPRESSINC.COM This place takes their burritos pretty seriously—they have 23 varieties of breakfast burritos that are served all day, and 26 lunch burritos on top of that—but they take their red chile just as seriously. Each one of the burritos can be made with chile if your heart desires, and it should, because this red chile is to die for! BEST OF THE REST: HOT TAMALES (1520 RIO RANCHO BLVD. SE, 9620123, HOTTAMALESNMRESTAURANT.COM), TWISTERS (2435 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 892-4121, MYTWISTERS.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST JEWELRY STORE Harris Jewelers

909 36TH PL SE 892-3841 HARRISJEWELERSNM.COM Initially founded in 1945, Rio Rancho’s first jewelry store adheres to its “Unique to the Universe” motto. If something from their large store inventory doesn’t catch your eye, a custom jewelry design service can help you find the right bling for that special someone. Even if a new piece isn’t on the agenda, the Harris team has you covered with a wide range of services including ring sizing and cleaning, pearl restringing, engraving, jewelry repairs, timepiece services and laser welding. BEST OF THE REST: CREATIVE JEWELERS (10200 CORRALES RD # C3, 897-1251, NMCREATIVEJEWELERS.COM), SANDIA JEWELERS (2704 SOUTHERN BLVD SE SUITE 2, 891-9923, SANDIAJEWELERS.COM)

BEST NEW RESTAURANT Lily and Liam’s Bistro 1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE 340-3309, LILYANDLIAMBISTRO.COM Lily and Liam’s opened in late fall of 2019, but it already has a fierce following. But what do you expect when the owners of the restaurant, married couple James and Megan Garrigan, have over 20 years of restaurant experience on their side. James also has experience at another neighborhood stand-by, Joe’s Pasta House, which helps the couple create their own “hometown staple” atmosphere. With food that tastes as delicious as the place feels to be in, it’s a no brainer. BEST OF THE REST: UNCLE T’S SANGWICHES (1520 DEBORAH RD. SE SUITE O, 404-9345, ALLTHESANGWICHES.COM), JERUSALEM—TASTE OF THE HOLY LAND (1690 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE STE B, 8961964)

BEST LOCAL COFFEE SHOP Café Bella Coffee

2115 GOLF COURSE RD. SE, SUITE #102 994-9436, CAFEBELLACOFFEE.COM Coffee is king, but food is also royalty at this spacious center of Rio Rancho’s caffeine universe. Alongside espressos and coffee shakes are food items, like all-day breakfast sandwiches, salads, and scores of pastries and sweet treats. BEST OF THE REST: BAD ASS COFFEE (965 W HWY 550, SUITE F, BERNALILLO, 867-1778, BADASSCOFFEE.COM), WHISPERING BEAN (10701 CORRALES RD SUITE #3, 697-9919, WHISPERINGBEAN.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST COCKTAILS

Slate Street Billiards 2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE SUITE 139 994-0363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM It’s a pool hall with hardy food and a giant beer menu, but this Rio Rancho favorite is most beloved for its cocktail menu. Their Bloody Marys are famous in the City of Vision due to both the in-house Bloody Mary mix and the drink’s built-to-suit style. Customers can get them simply garnished with green olives, or go for the full experience with bacon, olives, sausage, lemon, lime, celery, onion, and a drumstick. BEST OF THE REST: THE LOCAL BREWHOUSE (300 UNSER BLVD. SE, 994-2007), O’HARE’S GRILLE & PUB (4100 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 8960123, OHARESGRILLEPUB.COM)

BEST WAITSTAFF

M’tucci’s Moderno 1908 WELLSPRING AVE. SE 891-2432, MTUCCIS.COM Several members of the restaurant’s ownership group started as M’Tucci’s staff members, so it should be no surprise that service and attention to detail are held in high regard here. With the restaurant’s four separate dining spaces (including a mezzanine and outdoor patio), and a full-service cocktail bar, it certainly takes a crack team to keep things on course. BEST OF THE REST: VIET RICE (1340 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 892-7423, VIETRICE. CAFE), LILY AND LIAM’S BISTRO (1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 340-3309, LILYANDLIAMBISTRO.COM)

BEST GIRLIE STORE Cato

1324 RIO RANCHO BLVD. SE 892-1599, CATOFASHIONS.COM With more than 1,000 stores in 31 states, Cato’s is an established commodity on the women’s fashion scene. It’s no different at the Rio Rancho location, which is lauded for its wide range of available sizes, from junior/misses all the way to plus. Whether it’s attire for work or play, Cato delivers the goods with trendy fashions and exclusive styles. BEST OF THE REST: TJ MAXX (3575 NM-528 NE, 771-4839, TJMAXX.TJX. COM), SALLY’S BEAUTY SUPPLY (4 LOCATIONS, SALLYBEAUTY.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO BEST GUN SHOP

Bulldog Firearms 2502 SOUTHERN BLVD. 994-9243, BULLDOGFIREARMSNM.COM For more than 10 years, Bulldog Firearms has been building quality relationships with distributors throughout the United States. That’s good news for its customers, who can find reasonable prices on guns from all the major manufacturers. And if the store’s inventory doesn’t meet your needs, Bulldog Firearms will have the gun you want shipped to you. Oh, and did we mention the in-house gunsmith? “He’s more of a machinist than a gunsmith, meaning that he’s good with machinery in general,” says manager Jon Patik. “I don’t know if there’s any other gunsmith in the state that can outpace our gunsmith.” BEST OF THE REST: RIO RANCHO ARMORY (1702 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 715-5505, RIO-RANCHO-ARMORY.BUSINESS.SITE), FULL METAL JACKET (CLOSED)

BEST STEAK

Juniper Steakhouse Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel 54 JEMEZ CANYON DAM ROAD 771-7145, SANTAANASTAR.COM/JUNIPER-STEAKHOUSE Hand-cut, dry-aged steaks are cooked to perfection at Juniper Steakhouse, and can come crusted in Stilton blue cheese, doused in a creamy Bearnaise sauce, seasoned with black peppercorn, or accompanied by a plump, buttery lobster tail, a couple of giant sea scallops, or even jumbo prawn scampi. It’s not hard to see why it’s Rio Ranchoans’ go-to for steak night. BEST OF THE REST: 1933 BREWING COMPANY (PERMANENTLY CLOSED), CHILI’S (6 LOCATIONS, CHILIS.COM)

BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE

Unleashed Sports Nutrition 2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 892-4800 UNLEASHEDSPORTSNUTRITION.COM Recommendations don’t come lightly from the staff at Unleashed Sports Nutrition, which takes a personalized approach to helping its customers find a supplement that helps them achieve the results they need. According to their website they, “teach you how to implement our products into your everyday workout routine and also how to diet with it to get the best results possible.” BEST OF THE REST: UNIVERSAL TRANSMISSION (3148 NORTHERN BLVD NE , 896-0555, UNIVERSALTRANSNM.COM), TURBO THREADS (1503 GOLF COURSE RD SE UNIT C, 999-1234, TURBOTHREADS.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST HAIRSTYLIST/COLORIST

BEST RIO RANCHO EVENT

3751 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 891-8771

3001 CIVIC CENTER CIR NE, SUITE 2 663-7786, NEWMEXICORUNNERS.COM

Gina Clark Attractions Hair Studio

As one of the star stylists at Attractions Hair Studio, Gina Clark has earned her reputation as Rio Rancho’s “Queen of Color.” She is up on all the newest hair trends, and her customers love her. From highlights to accent colors, in icy blonde all the way to neon green and electric blue, Gina knows how to get that perfect shade for all hair types. BEST OF THE REST: MINDI BLEA (HAIRAPY SALON, 5633 PARADISE BLVD NW, ALBUQUERQUE, 787-9561, HAIRAPYBYMINDI. NET), JAN RICAR (ATTRACTION HAIR STUDIO, 3751 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 891-8771)

BEST VIEW OF THE SANDIAS

NM Runners Arena Soccer

Any true Rio Ranchoan knows that New Mexico Runners games are the place to be—these professional indoor soccer games are exciting and quick, and fans pack in wearing red and black to cheer on the Runners. Co-Founders Andres Trujillo and his father Edwin Trujillo are dedicated to community engagement and creating a family-friendly atmosphere. The Runners play in the Major Arena Soccer League and typically have about 7 home games at the Santa Ana Star Center every season. BEST OF THE REST: MAYOR’S SUNDAY IS FUNDAY, PORK AND BREW FESTIVAL

Santa Ana Golf Course

Early Learning Preschool

BEST PRESCHOOL

BEST STAYCATION SPOT

288 PRAIRIE STAR ROAD 867-9464, MYNEWMEXICOGOLF.COM

2704 SOUTHERN BLVD SE # 10 892-5105, ELPRIORANCHO.COM

1300 TUYUNA TRAIL 867-1234, TAMAYA.REGENCY.HYATT.COM

Featured in Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and the New York Times (who said Santa Ana Golf Club is “one of America’s three best links-style golf courses) and chosen as the location for the 2009 PGA Professional National Championship, Santa Ana Golf Club is considered one of the best courses in the state. The course includes 27 championship links-style holes, eight lakes, and a practice facility.

Built for the express purpose of advocating for and including parent involvement in children’s preschool education, Early Learning Preschool has a model that looks a little different from most typical preschools: it’s a parent co-op. But in the eyes of most Rio Ranchoans, that’s a good thing—the chance to get to participate in their child’s early learning, to be physically present in the classroom as a parent helper, helps them better continue the circle of learning at home on their own.

Tucked away on a 550-acre plot in the heart of Santa Ana Pueblo, the Hyatt Regency Tamaya is a luxury resort stay at its finest. The list of amenities feels endless, but of special note are the Tamaya Mist spa treatment, which features treatments infused with Native ingredients, the award-winning Twin Warriors Golf Club, the Tamaya Stables, which features a dozen rescued horses, and Corn Maiden, a fine dining establishment.

BEST OF THE REST: BOSQUE BREWING (834 US-550BER, BERNALILLO, 361-1876, BOSQUEBREWING.COM), THE LOCAL BREWHOUSE (300 UNSER BLVD. SE, 9942007)

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BEST OF THE REST: COVENANT SCHOOLS (1601 BARBARA LOOP SE, 994-4600, COVENANTSCHOOLS.COM), SHINING STARS PRESCHOOL (4477 9TH AVE NE, 892-7735, SHININGSTARS.RRPS.NET)

Hyatt Regency Tamaya

BEST OF THE REST: SANTA ANA STAR CASINO HOTEL (54 JEMEZ CANYON DAM ROAD, BERNALILLO, 867-0000, SANTAANASTAR.COM), CHOCOLATE TURTLE BED AND BREAKFAST (1098 W MEADOWLARK LN, CORRALES, 898-1800, CHOCOLATETURTLEBB.COM)

WWW.ABQTHEMAG.COM | JULY 2020


BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST HUMANITARIAN GROUP

BEST CITY PARK

RIORANCHOROTARYSUNRISE.ORG

2441 WESTSIDE BLVD. 994-6338 APARKABOVE.ORG

Rio Rancho Sunrise Rotary

The mission of Rotary clubs everywhere is to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. The Rio Rancho Sunrise Rotary carries that banner in our community and gives back in ways that include: funding scholarships, giving community awards, and hosting youth exchange programs. Plus, their popular Sunrise Stars and Stripes flag rental program helps raise money for special projects in the community. BEST OF THE REST: HAVEN HOUSE, CITY OF VISION CIVITANS

BEST AUTO REPAIR SHOP Quanz Auto Body 204 FRONTAGE RD. NE 897-1955, QUANZAUTOCARE.COM Quanz Auto Care extends its “full-service” guarantee beyond comprehensive auto care. Here, the drivers are just as integral a part of that package. Since 1980, more than 100,000 vehicle owners have had their needs covered, from collision repair to claims management to dent removal and more. Collision repair is at the heart of what this business does well, as a team of specially certified professionals utilize the most technologically advanced methods available to return each vehicle as close to its previous status as possible. Additionally, on-site car rental is available for those who need transportation while their vehicle is being repaired. BEST OF THE REST: CAR CRAFTERS (32 LOCATIONS, CARCRAFTERS.COM), CHRISTIAN BROTHERS AUTOMOTIVE (2014 SOUTHERN BLVD SE, 485-1100, CBAC. COM)

A Park Above

A Park Above is an experience for everyone to enjoy. The first fully inclusive and accessible playground in New Mexico, this city park was constructed with children with disabilities in mind. From the easily accessible splash pad, to the inclusive playground equipment, to the wheelchair-friendly dog park, A Park Above is 6-acres of fun for everybody. BEST OF THE REST: HAYNES PARK (2006 GRANDE BLVD SE, 891-7240, RRNM.GOV), RIO RANCHO SPORTS COMPLEX (3501 HIGH RESORT BLVD. SE, RRNM.GOV)

BEST HIKING/RUNNING/ BIKING

BEST LANDSCAPING COMPANY

Tough but rewarding, this 2.1-mile hike will have you scrambling up the rocky side of Cabezon Peak, the tallest of the volcanic necks in the Rio Puerco Valley, just outside of Jemez. If you can make it up the sheer cliff face and set foot on the summit, Cabezon will offer you a breathtaking view of the valley below. The trail itself is also full of gorgeous scenery—junipers and pinons, full of birds like meadowlarks, quail and hawks, and other fauna, like prairie dogs, rabbits, and kangaroo mice. If you dare to scale the Big Head, be sure to come prepared: the terrain is tricky, there’s little to no cell service on the ascent, and if you don’t bring your own water, you’ll be out of luck--this place is as dry as they come.

661 QUANTUM RD. NE 433-1449, DIAZLANDSCAPING.NET

Cabezon Peak Trailhead

Diaz Landscaping

This fully insured, full-service landscaping company specializes in making properties look spectacular throughout the year. Whether it’s putting down gravel or concrete, irrigation installation or simply all-round mowing, trimming and maintenance, Diaz Landscaping will give you a yard worth bragging about. BEST OF THE REST: 2 BROTHERS LANDSCAPING (1012 CASA ROJA PL. NW, 2612681, 2BROTHERSLANDSCAPINGNM. COM), ACCESSIBILITY DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION (10220 SILVER GRADE CT NW, 967-7509, ACCESSABILITYNM.COM)

BEST OF THE REST: MARIPOSA TRAILS, CORRALES HEIGHTS TRAILS

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST MVD SERVICES

BEST PLACE TO ADOPT A PET

4000 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 218-7448, MVDEXPRESS.COM

3251 WESTPHALIA BLVD. NE 771-0140, WMRANCH.ORG

Thanks to an online appointment scheduling tool that allows you to select the service you need in a timeframe that fits your schedule, a trip to the MVD is a relatively painless experience. Couple that with consistently minimal wait times, and customers can get on with their lives in short order. This particular location (off 528 & Southern Boulevard SE) is ideal for exactly that, as it is conveniently situated near several shops and restaurants. BEST OF THE REST: MVD (4114 SABANA GRANDE AVE SE, 891-5014, CI.RIO-RANCHO.NM.US)

Established in 1996, the Land of Enchantment’s largest no-kill animal shelter has rescued and found homes for more than 150,000 animals since its inception. Rescue efforts have expanded over the years, moving beyond most New Mexico counties to southern Texas and Juarez. Watermelon Mountain Ranch works tirelessly to educate the community on the pitfalls of pet overpopulation, a mission that includes getting the area’s youth involved by allowing them to volunteer at the 10-acre facility and adoption sites.

BEST PLACE TO LOSE TRACK OF TIME

BEST HOUSE CLEANING SERVICE

BEST VEGAN/VEGETARIAN OPTIONS

755 LOMA COLORADO BLVD. NE 891-5013, RRNM.GOV

851 LONGHORN RD SE 903-2985

1580 DEBORAH RD. SE 896-3126, NAMASTENM.NET

MVD Express

Loma Colorado Library

Yes, the Loma Colorado Library has a giant selection of books, a media center, a kids’ corner, and all of the amenities that make a modern library function. Featuring a large, open floor plan and a reading corner with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views, it’s the perfect place to just curl up with a good book and lose track of time. BEST OF THE REST: SLATE STREET BILLIARDS (2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 9940363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM), PREMIERE CINEMAS (1000 PREMIERE PKWY SE, 994-3300, PCCMOVIES.COM)

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JK Cleaning Service

A clean house is a happy house. It’s much easier to kick off your shoes and relax at the end of the day if you’re not surrounded by clutter and looming chores. That’s where The Happy House cleaning service comes in. The dust everything from ceiling fans to furniture, clean appliances like stoves and refrigerators, remove hard water stains and mildew from toilets and showers, vacuum, and even fold clothes. BEST OF THE REST: THE HAPPY HOUSE (1775 MESA GRANDE LOOP NE, 3822872), MERRY MAIDS (877-476-0278)

Watermelon Mountain Ranch

BEST OF THE REST: RIO RANCHO ANIMAL SHELTER (3441 NORTHERN BLVD NE, 8915075, RRNM.GOV), ARGOS DOG RESCUE (ARGOSDOGRESCUE.ORG)

Namaste

More than a dozen of their entrees are either vegan or vegetarian, like the Mushroom Mattar Makhani, (mushrooms and green peas cooked in tomato sauce and homemade yogurt sauce). Using native spices imported from Nepal, the dishes here are as authentic as they are tasty. BEST OF THE REST: PHO GARDEN (1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE #106, 404-0774, PHOGARDENNM.COM), LILY AND LIAM’S BISTRO (1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 3403309, LILYANDLIAMBISTRO.COM)

WWW.ABQTHEMAG.COM | JULY 2020


BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST LOCAL ATHLETE

BEST CAR WASH

Focused on building her strength both inside and out, Clarissa Gannon is a personal trainer, nutritionist, and NPC ((the major sanctioning body for would-be professional bodybuilders and organized amateur bodybuilding) figure competitor. She has said that the most important part of her athletic career is getting to “share this lifestyle with my family and set a positive example for my children.”

2421 NM-528 404-9141, MISTERCARWASH.COM

Clarissa Gannon

BEST OF THE REST: MARCUS WILLIAMS, LUIS MARTINEZ (NM RUNNERS)

Mister Car Wash

Options abound for maintaining a clean vehicle, whether you want to remain in your car during a swift exterior wash (four different versions are available) or munch on some popcorn during a full-service experience, which includes interior vacuuming, dusting and window cleaning. The Unlimited Wash Club is a great option for keeping your ride shiny through New Mexico’s unpredictable weather, as members can get washes as often as they like for a monthly fee. The best part: No longterm contract is required for this club. BEST OF THE REST: BRENDA’S CAR WASH (2002 UNSER BLVD SE, 270-4913, BRENDASPOWERCARWASH.BUSINESS.SITE), WONDER WASH CAR WASH (1197 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 994-1036)

BEST UNDISCOVERED RESTAURANT

Jerusalem—Taste of the Holy Land 1690 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE STE B 896-1964 Tucked into the strip mall across from the Intel building, Jerusalem—Taste of the Holy Land is Rio Rancho’s latest hidden gem. Though it opened almost a year ago, in August of 2019, this restaurant offers all of the best of the Middle East—baba ganoush, shawarma, gyros—along with some dishes you might not have heard of before, like the Palestinian Freeken soup. They also serve a mean lamb shank. BEST OF THE REST: EL AGAVE MEXICAN RESTAURANT (1520 DEBORAH RD SE STE E, 994-8809, ELAGAVEFAMILYMEXICANRESTAURANT.COM), PALETA BAR (5 LOCATIONS +2 MORE IN RR/BERNALILLO, 1 IN LOS LUNAS AND 1 IN SAN DIEGO, THEPALETABAR.COM)

BEST AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM

Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico 4600 SUNDT RD NE 892-3191, BGCCNM.ORG Long regarded as one of the most important national charities by the general public, the Boys and Girls Club does the essential work of providing after-school and summer programs for kids ages 5-18. The Central New Mexico branch of the organization goes above and beyond in this respect, working with five different schools in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque to make sure kids have a safe, fun place to learn and grow, and be taken care of. BEST OF THE REST: CALVARY (138 FRONTAGE RD NE, 896-2990, CALVARYRR.COM), RIO RANCHO HIGH SCHOOL E-SPORTS

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BEST BARTENDER

Angel at Slate Street Billiards 2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 994-0363 SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM With a wide variety of beers on tap and a full bar (plus $3 well drink and free pool on Wednesdays) it takes a deft and professional hand to tend the bar at Slate Street Billiards. And that’s where Angel comes in. A favorite of the regulars, Angel’s bright smile and welcoming attitude makes the jobs look easy (which it definitely is not.) She is able to mix nearly any drink in the book and get it to the customers quickly. BEST OF THE REST: SAMANTHA AT THE LOCAL BREWHOUSE (300 UNSER BLVD. SE, 994-2007), TOSH WHITEMAN

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST LUNCH SPOT

BEST DRY CLEANER

1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE 340-3309, LILYANDLIAMBISTRO.COM

3301 SOUTHERN BLVD SE 896-9320

Lily and Liam’s Bistro

Positioned right across from the Intel building, housed in the same space that the old Subway inhabited, the cozy, lightfilled Lily and Liam’s Bistro has quickly become a popular lunch spot in Rio Rancho. And for good reason: the only thing more pleasant than the atmosphere at Lily and Liam’s is the food itself—clean, simple, well-prepared. Try the Croque Monsieur or the Short Rib Split-Top. BEST OF THE REST: DION’S (4 LOCATIONS, DIONS.COM), PHO BAR (3301 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 994-9150, PHO-BAR.COM)

BEST HAPPY HOUR

The Local Brewhouse 300 UNSER BLVD SE 994-2007 A relatively new addition to Rio Rancho, The Local Brewhouse has settled right in thanks to their happy hour specials. Their massive selection of both cocktails and beer make for endless combinations of happy hour deals and invite customers to return regularly to see what’s new. BEST OF THE REST: SANTA ANA STAR CASINO (54 JEMEZ CANYON DAM ROAD, 867-0000, SANTAANASTAR.COM), SLATE STREET BILLIARDS (2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 994-0363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM)

BEST CHEF

Thomas J. Montoya Uncle T’s Sangwiches 1520 DEBORAH RD. SE SUITE O 404-9345, ALLTHESANGWICHES.COM The difference between your typical sandwich and a “sangwich,” head chef Thomas J. Montoya says, is a lot of love. “We grew up with my grandma calling them sangwiches,” Montoya says. “I don’t really know where it came from, but when she made us a sangwich, we felt loved and that’s what we want for our customers to feel.” And guests definitely feel that love when they dine at Uncle T’s Sangwiches, regardless of which sangwhich they pick. BEST OF THE REST: M’TUCCI’S MODERNO (1908 WELLSPRING AVE. SE, 891-2432, MTUCCIS.COM), LILY AND LIAM’S BISTRO (1751 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 340-3309, LILYANDLIAMBISTRO.COM)

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E.A. Cleaners

A dry-cleaning business handles all of the articles of clothing we are most proud of—our business suits, our favorite dresses—all the things which are fine and special in our closets. Rio Rancho has trusted E.A. Cleaners with the delicate work of cleaning and pressing these garments for over a decade, and the extreme care they take is evident in every job they accept. Quick turnarounds, safe products, and excellent customer service make this Rio Rancho’s go-to dry cleaner. BEST OF THE REST: HOUSE OF DRY CLEANING (1520 DEBORAH RD SE # F, 8910277, HOUSEOFDRYCLEANING.COM),RIO RANCHO ALTERATIONS (2345 SOUTHERN BLVD SE C5, 892-2109)

BEST RIO RANCHOAN WHO MADE IT BIG Ryan Cook

You can probably find plenty of people who will quibble over what it means to “make it big.” But if eight seasons as a center in the national football league doesn’t count, we’re not even speaking the same language. After playing for UNM, Ryan Cook found himself a 2nd round pick for the Minnesota Vikings during the 2006 NFL draft. Over the next eight years, he played for the Vikings, Miami Dolphins, and the Dallas Cowboys, before retiring in 2013. BEST OF THE REST: BLAKE SWIHART, ALAN BRANCH

WWW.ABQTHEMAG.COM | JULY 2020


BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST FLORIST

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

1000 GOLF COURSE RD. SE 896-2662 RIORANCHOFLOWERSHOP.COM

3201 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 892-3333, JOESPASTAHOUSE.COM

This Rio Rancho-based florist boasts a variety of gift ideas to fit any budget and style. Flowers & Things offers same-day delivery locally — including to funeral homes and hospitals — but can also assist with sending arrangements out of the country. Can’t make it into the store? Twenty-four hour online ordering is also available. Shoppers have more than just flowers from which to choose: any combination of plants, gift baskets, balloons, candles and stuffed animals are sure to brighten that special someone’s day.

The food is authentic Sicilian, and no patron is ever a stranger for long at this longtime eatery on Southern Boulevard. Owner’s Joe and Kassie Guzzardi are a constant dining room presence, helping to make sure guests and staff are both fully immersed in the experience.

BEST PLACE TO SPEND A RAINY DAY

BEST CHIPS AND SALSA

BEST BREAKFAST BURRITO

4051 SARA RD SE 994-9364, CAZUELASMEXICANGRILL.COM

2435 SOUTHERN BLVD 892-4121, MYTWISTERS.COM

Cazuela’s makes their own tortilla chips from scratch, and the triangles of deepfried corn tortilla are the perfect match for their tomato-based salsa, which is smoky and fresh. Like any good chips and salsa, the refills keep coming at Cazuela’s (until you politely refuse), which is for the best, since you’ll want as much of the stuff as you can get your hands on.

The ABQ-based chain has one location in Rio Rancho and another in Bernalillo, both serving up morning burritos that come in a dozen varieties. Some even include hard-to-find ingredients like bell peppers and sour cream.

Flowers & Things

Deep Blue Scuba 5001 CENTRAL AVE NW 888-0808 DBSNM.COM

New Mexico may be land-locked, but the high desert isn’t without its love of the open ocean. Where better to spend a rainy day than immersed in a pool, decked out in scuba gear, preparing for an 80foot deep dip into Blue Hole out in Santa Rosa? At Deep Blue Scuba, expert staff guide you through the basics of scuba diving or lead you in advanced levels of certification like Rescue Diving, depending on your skill level. BEST OF THE REST: PREMIERE CINEMA (1000 PREMIERE PKWY SE, 994-3300, PCCMOVIES.COM), TEN PINS AND MORE (1416 DEBORAH RD SE, 477-2061, TENPINS-MORE.COM)

Joe’s Pasta House

BEST OF THE REST: M’TUCCI’S MODERNO (1908 WELLSPRING AVE. SE, 891-2432, MTUCCIS.COM), ALDO’S NEW YORK PIZZERIA (1690 RIO RANCHO DR SE, 8922026, RIORANCHO.ALDOSNYPIZZA.COM)

Cazuela’s Mexican Grill

BEST OF THE REST: BURRITO EXPRESS (1592 SARA RD., 896-1592, BURRITOEXPRESSINC.COM), HOT TAMALES (1520 RIO RANCHO BLVD., 962-0123, HOTTAMALESNMRESTAURANT.COM)

JULY 2020 | ALBUQUERQUE THE MAGAZINE

Twisters

BEST OF THE REST: BURRITO EXPRESS (1592 SARA RD., 896-1592, BURRITOEXPRESSINC.COM), BLAKE’S LOTABURGER (29 LOCATIONS, LOTABURGER.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST PET GROOMING

Tail Waggers Mobile Pet Grooming 342-5766, TAILWAGGERS06@Q.COM For 15 years, Linda Simon has provided full-service grooming, sanitary trimming, nail clipping, ear cleaning, bathing and more for small-to-medium dogs. “I’m mobile and I provide one-on-one care with no cages or kennels. I go to people’s houses,” she says. “Usually what happens is when you take a dog to a groomer, they put them in kennels or a cage. And I don’t. I do one-on-one.” BEST OF THE REST: ALL ANGELS PET SALON (1703 GOLF COURSE RD SE, 8963030, ALLANGELSPETSALON.COM), PAWSH (10200 CORRALES RD SUITE E6A, 508-0155)

BEST DISPENSARY Ultra Health

2 LOCATIONS ULTRAHEALTH.COM Ultra Health on the Westside takes its patients’ health seriously, offering resources for patients and caregivers, and even for physicians who might be curious about the healing benefits of cannabis. They even have a partnership with Peace Medical Cannabis Cards, so that registration is as easy as possible for those they serve. Their store, which is clean, well-organized, and filled with helpful experts, stocks several strains at any given time, as well as edibles, topical remedies, and even CBD products. BEST OF THE REST: VERDES FOUNDATION (2 LOCATIONS, VERDESFOUNDATION.ORG), URBAN WELLNESS (3 LOCATIONS, URBANWELLNESSNM.COM)

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BEST TAKE-OUT

Sal-E-Boy’s Pizzeria Permanently closed

New York style thin crust pizza that’s ready to come home with you. But this legendary Southern Boulevard spot (which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year) also serves up a Sicilian-style, thick pan pizza. Plus, the calzones. Plus, the wings. Call in your order. Fughedaboutit! BEST OF THE REST: BEST LEE’S (2003 SOUTHERN BLVD SE #127, 892-7887), VIET RICE (1340 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 8927423, VIETRICE.CAFE)

BEST BURGER

Ironwood Kitchen 5740 NIGHT WHISPER RD. NW 890-4488, IRONWOODKITCHEN.COM What’s the key to a great burger? At Ironwood Kitchen, it’s starting with the right ingredients. Their “The Sixth Guy Burger” starts with 100-percent chuck ground by a local butcher, charbroiled, then griddle-cooked to perfection. The work results in a tender, juicy burger, which comes topped with your choice of fine ingredients like avocado, mushrooms, or, of course, green chile. BEST OF THE REST: SLATE STREET BILLIARDS (2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 9940363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM), THE LOCAL BREWHOUSE (300 UNSER BLVD. SE, 994-2007)

BEST BREAKFAST SPOT Uncle T’s Sangwiches

1520 DEBORAH RD. SE SUITE O 404-9345, ALLTHESANGWICHES.COM Uncle T’s Sangwiches may be new on the block in Rio Rancho, having only opened their doors in the neighborhood last June, but when it comes to breakfast, they’re not messing around. Chef Thomas J. Montoya serves up two perfectly scrambled eggs along with applewood smoked bacon, hand-peeled New Mexico green chile, topped with cheddar cheese and a schmear of cream cheese served on a flattened everything bagel with a side of homemade hashbrowns. BEST OF THE REST: WECK’S (11 LOCATIONS, WECKSINC.COM), CORRALES BISTRO BREWERY (4908 CORRALES RD, CORRALES, 897-1036, CBBISTRO.COM)

WWW.ABQTHEMAG.COM | JULY 2020


BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST BUSINESS OWNER Mark Morgenstern UFC Gym Rio Rancho 1650 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE 994-4269, UFCGYM.COM Thanks to fitness, Mark Morgenstern’s life took a turn for the better. Before opening UFC Gym Rio Rancho, Mark struggled with serious drug addiction and was often in trouble with the law. He’s taken the lessons recovery has taught him and applied them to his business. He says fitness is “very much the same as drug rehabilitation, if you are ready to change, you need a good support system.” It’s obvious from the loyalty of his members that they feel that support from him every time they come in to train.

BEST OF THE REST: SALINA PALMERTON – MASSAGE ENVY (4229 CRESTVIEW DR SE, 892-3689, MASSAGEENVY.COM), TRANG AND FONG NGUYEN — PHO BAR (3301 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE, 994-9150, PHO-BAR.COM)

BEST FITNESS CLASSES Crossfit Thunderhawks 6080 ZENITH CT NE #102 385-7179, CROSSFITTHUNDERHAWK.COM Known for its family-focused fitness programming, Crossfit Thunderhawks is a gym that makes working out fun for kids and adults alike. “Our mission has always been to get whole families in here,” says co-owner Javier Hernandez. He and his wife, both doctors, also teach kids who attend the gym about nutrition and overall health. Crossfit Thunderhawks offers Rio Ranchoans a fun way to keep the kiddos (and the adults) healthy. BEST OF THE REST: UFC GYM (1650 RIO RANCHO BLVD SE, 994-4269, UFCGYM. COM/LOCATIONS/RIO-RANCHO/), VIVIFY HOT YOGA (1137 COMMERCIAL DR SE #101, 994-9451, VIVIFYNM.COM)

BEST PIZZA

BEST LOCAL WINERY

BEST LATE NIGHT EATS

4 LOCATIONS 994-9364, DIONS.COM

6275 CORRALES ROAD 898-9165, CORRALESWINERY.COM

2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 994-0363, SLATESTREETBILLIARDS.COM

This New Mexico-bred chain has a solid foothold in Rio Rancho, with four locations. The menu is straight-forward (pizza, subs, salads), but the consistency and flavor are never off-base. Plus, who else has a Ranch dressing with a cult following?

The only thing that beats the wine at this vineyard is the stunning view of the Sandias. Do yourself a favor and spend an evening tasting their crowd favorite, the Rojo Blendito, or sampling the Petit Verdot, which some have said rivals similar vintages found in the Napa Valley. Plus, their accommodating staff make Corrales Winery an ideal place to unwind with a few friends (and a few glasses).

With more than a dozen pool tables and a lively digital jukebox, this spot stays jumping well into the night. Thankfully, the kitchen keeps late hours, too. Full menu service on weekends goes until midnight, with tasty dishes like corn elotes, tortilla burgers and Philly cheesesteaks.

Dion’s

BEST OF THE REST: TURTLE MOUNTAIN BREWING CO (905 36TH PL. SE, 994-9497, TURTLEMOUNTAINBREWING.COM), VILLAGE PIZZA (2 LOCATIONS, VILLAGEPIZZANM.COM)

Corrales Winery

BEST OF THE REST: PASANDO TIEMPO WINERY (277 DANDELION RD, 228-0154, PASANDOTIEMPOWINERY.COM), ACEQUIA WINERY (240 RECLINING ACRES RD, 8980933, ACEQUIAWINERY.COM)

JULY 2020 | ALBUQUERQUE THE MAGAZINE

Slate Street Billiards

BEST OF THE REST: TACO CABANA (6 LOCATIONS, TACOCABANAABQ.COM), CHILI’S (6 LOCATIONS, CHILIS.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST PLACE TO OVERINDULGE

BEST NUTRITION STORE

Paleta Bar

Unleashed Sports Nutrition

5 LOCATIONS THEPALETABAR.COM

2003 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 892-4800 UNLEASHEDSPORTSNUTRITION.COM

The Paleta Bar has taken a tried-andtrue, frozen Mexican dessert to new heights. Since 2017, this paleta wonderland has been slinging refreshing Mexican popsicles in endless combinations of flavors. Their menu is fun and tasty, full of fresh ideas that are outside of the (ice) box, like their signature Paleta Shake, an enticing blended drink made from agua fresca, fresh fruit, chamoy, and a whole paleta, which brought the shop viral video fame when their first location opened. BEST OF THE REST: M’TUCCI’S MODERNO (1908 WELLSPRING AVE. SE, 891-2432, MTUCCIS.COM), BOSQUE BREWING (834 US-550, BERNALILLO, 361-1876, BOSQUEBREWING.COM)

If there’s one thing Unleashed Sports Nutrition knows about, well, it’s nutrition. “All the product that we offer, we’ve tested ourselves,” says sales associate Leo Herrera. “We make sure that everything we have on the shelf is effective. We don’t just offer something because it’s trendy. We only offer stuff we know is gonna work for our customers.” BEST OF THE REST: G&M MEDICAL (1316 JACKIE RD SE #500, 415-0719, GMMEDICALCENTER.COM), FUSION WELLNESS CENTER (1709 GOLF COURSE RD SE #104, 362-0496)

BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST BEST MANLY STORE

Jessica Chavez Lotus Tree Massage

BEST DOGGY DAYCARE

2108 SOUTHERN BLVD SE 891-2300, STORES.TRUEVALUE.COM

1728 ABRAZO RD. NE, SUITE D 859-5152, LOTUSTREEMASSAGENM.COM

365 UNSER BLVD. SE 998-1494, MVPETLODGE.COM

Rio Rancho True Value

What’s more manly than a hardware store? Not much. And when it comes to hardware stores in Rio Rancho, True Value leads the way, with a large selection of tools, equipment, and things like welding and plumbing supplies. Plus, the guys can always come to True Value to talk shop with the experts on hand there—which is definitely not the same as asking for help, thank you very much. BEST OF THE REST: BULLDOG FIREARMS (2502 SOUTHERN BLVD., 994-9243, BULLDOGFIREARMSNM.COM), CABELA’S (5151 LANG AVE NE, 336-2700, CABELAS.COM)

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Jessica’s clients at Lotus Tree Massage cannot stop singing her praises—she’s professional, and she’s very good at her job. Offering everything from hot towel massages to deep tissue massage to Mommy and Me maternity massages, Jessica finds your most tense areas and works them out for you—exactly what you’d want out of a good massage therapist. BEST OF THE REST: GAIL PHILLIPS (ON THE MEND MEDICAL MASSAGE), SHANNON CLARK (SOUTHWEST MEDICAL MASSAGE HEALING, 4351 JAGER WAY NE)

Monte Vista Pet Lodge

If you need to leave your furry family member for the day—fear not, the friendly, experienced staff here treats all of its guests like family. The 6,500-squarefoot facility with outdoor play yards offers doggie day care, dog boarding, dog grooming and cat boarding. There are even accommodations for animals with special or medical needs, including a licensed veterinary technician on staff. BEST OF THE REST: PET PARADISE (580 QUANTUM RD. NE, 891-4100, PETPARADISE.COM), DOG DAYS DOGGIE DAY CARE (2612 SOUTHERN BLVD SE STE F, 8923644, DOGDAYSDOGGIEDAYCARE.COM)

WWW.ABQTHEMAG.COM | JULY 2020


BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST LOCAL INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT

BEST SECOND-HAND STORE Furniture Cottage

2345 SOUTHERN BLVD. SE 892-2800,

Sweet and Savory Pantry @SWEET.SAVORY_PANTRY

Beware: this Instagram account will make your mouth water! The Instagram account @sweet.savory_pantry has over three thousand followers, and for good reason—the feed is full of delicious-looking pastries and cakes, lunches and dinners, with a few quotes about cooking peppered in for good measure. They also host giveaways and post recipes for their followers to try out themselves! BEST OF THE REST: @NMRUNNERS, @VIVIFY_HOT_YOGA

The furniture and home decor pieces for sale here aren’t referred to as “used.” Furniture Cottage prefers the term “preloved” instead. It’s an apt description, as the items for sale, which have been found at a variety of estate sales, auctions and internet and classified ads, are carefully examined to make sure they’re worthy of re-sale. And while plenty of recognizable names — think Thomasville, La-z-Boy, Ethan Allen, etc. — are available at a price that belies the brand, shoppers will also find unique and vintage pieces on hand, as well. BEST OF THE REST: UNDER CHARLIE’S COVERS (160 S CAMINO DEL PUEBLO STE B, BERNALILLO, 404-2097, UNDERCHARLIESCOVERS.COM), ASSISTANCE LEAGUE (5211 LOMAS BLVD NE, 265-0443, ASSISTANCELEAGUEABQ.ORG)

BEST GIFT SHOP

BEST BREWERY

BEST SWEETS SHOP Les Blonde Bakery

Believers Christian Gifts

3 LOCATIONS MARBLEBREWERY.COM

903-8868

2003 SOUTHERN BLVD SE 545-6883, BELIEVERSCHRISTIANGIFTS.COM

Marble Brewery Maybe it’s their award-winning beers, their cheerful service, or their community involvement, but there’s definitely something Rio Ranchoans love about Marble Brewery, and specifically Marble’s Westside taproom. The taproom has all of Marble’s award-winning beers on tap, a merchandise store, live music, and food trucks (often Ohana Hut or Cheesy Street.)

BEST OF THE REST: TURTLE MOUNTAIN BREWING CO. (905 36TH PL. SE, 9949497, TURTLEMOUNTAINBREWING.COM), BLUE GRASSHOPPER (2 LOCATIONS, BGHBREWERY.COM)

If you’re looking for a killer cheesecake in Rio Rancho, Kerian Myerson is the lady to talk to—they were so popular that she opened up a whole bakery devoted to them—Les Blonde. But the cheesecake isn’t the only thing worth trying here—far from it. Their menu includes everything delicious from breads—like Challah, Italian, and Rosemary Olive Loaf—to baked goods—like cinnamon rolls and Macarons. BEST OF THE REST: CHOCGLITZ & CREAM (10660 UNSER BLVD. NW, 898-4589, CHOCGLITZANDCREAM.COM), DAGMAR’S DELECTABLES (2704 SOUTHERN BLVD. S.E., 891-7995)

JULY 2020 | ALBUQUERQUE THE MAGAZINE

Since August 2015, this locally owned and operated business has specialized in a wide variety of gifts with a primary goal of spreading the message of the Christian faith. The store has something to offer for any age group, including Bibles, inspirational readings, DaySpring Cards, apparel, jewelry, pictures, crosses and numerous other keepsakes. Inevitably, you’re bound to find something that will brighten your day — or someone else’s. BEST OF THE REST: FLOWERS & THINGS (1000 GOLF COURSE RD. SE, 896-2662, RIORANCHOFLOWERSHOP.COM), HARRIS JEWELERS (909 36TH PL SUITE A, 8923841, HARRISJEWELERSNM.COM)

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BEST OF RIO RANCHO

BEST GROCERY STORE Albertsons

2 LOCATIONS ALBERTSONSMARKET.COM With two Rio Rancho locations, Albertsons provides a friendly and convenient shopping experience on each visit. Sign up for a rewards membership to earn free groceries and discounts on gas, and make sure your kitchen is well stocked with fresh produce, meats from the deli and bakery-fresh goodies. BEST OF THE REST: SMITH’S (1000 RIO RANCHO DR NE SE, 892-1791, SMITHSFOODANDDRUG.COM), SPROUTS (10701 CORRALES RD, 890-7900, SPROUTS.COM)

BEST POLITICIAN

Mayor Gregg Hull

Though not born in Rio Rancho, Gregg Hull and his wife Carrie have made it their home for the last 25 years. Now in his second term, Mayor Hull has made quality of life improvements, actively encouraging citizen participation in city government, and city infrastructure the backbones of his tenure. BEST OF THE REST: SCOTT FORRESTER, JAY BLOCK

BEST VISUAL ARTIST

Kate Buckles Kate Buckles Photography KATEBUCKLESPHOTOGRAPHY.COM Through the lens of her camera, Rio Ranchoan Kate Buckles captures the many precious moments of her customers’ lives. As a family portrait photographer, her work goes on display in family homes for decades. Her kind demeanor and her seasoned professionalism make sessions with her pleasant and fun. She helps show our families as we see them— beautiful and well-loved. BEST OF THE REST: JEREMIAH GARDNER, ROY SIEZAK

BEST TACO

Cazuela’s Mexican Grill 4051 SARA RD SE 994-9364, CAZUELASMEXICANGRILL.COM At Cazuela’s, the tacos start with yellow corn tortillas, hard or soft—your choice. Then they’re stuffed with tender carne asada, flavorful carne adovada, melt-inyour-mouth carnitas, chicharrones fried to just the right crispiness, or slow-roasted barbacoa. Finished with a side of beans and rice, these tacos will have you back again and again just to get another taste. BEST OF THE REST: HOT TAMALES (1520 RIO RANCHO BLVD., 962-0123, HOTTAMALESNMRESTAURANT.COM), SANCHEZ TACOS (TRUCK—CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA FOR LOCATIONS, SANCHEZTACOSNM.COM)

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WWW.ABQTHEMAG.COM | JULY 2020

Profile for Gena Goodson

Best Of Rio Rancho - Albuquerque The Magazine, July 2020  

Best Of Rio Rancho - Albuquerque The Magazine, July 2020  

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