Frontier Restaurant

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Coordinates: 35°04′48″N 106°37′08″W / 35.080°N 106.619°W / 35.080; -106.619

Frontier Restaurant
Central Avenue at the Frontier Restaurant, Albuquerque NM.jpg
Central Avenue at the Frontier Restaurant, Albuquerque New Mexico, May 2010 - looking east, University of New Mexico on the left
Restaurant information
Dress codeCasual
Street address2400 Central Ave SE
StateNew Mexico
Postal/ZIP Code87106
CountryUnited States
Seating capacity326[1]

Frontier Restaurant is a landmark New Mexican cuisine restaurant, located near the main campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[2][3][4] It is one of the city's most popular restaurants, serving about 4,000 customers per day in 2000,[5] and is open daily from 5 am to 1 am. The restaurant has five dining rooms covering a total of 8,000 square feet (740 m2)[1] and is decorated with over 100 Western-themed artworks including several portraits of John Wayne, referencing the nickname that both he and the city of Albuquerque share, “The Duke” and “The Duke City”.[6][7]


Frontier Restaurant at night (September 2009).

Frontier Restaurant was established in 1971 by Dorothy and Larry Rainosek, who had recently moved to Albuquerque from Austin, Texas. Hoping to attract college students, they leased a barn-shaped building on Central Avenue across from the University of New Mexico which had previously housed a short-lived restaurant called the Country Barn. Earlier, the corner had also been the site of a popular soda fountain called Chisholm's.[4][8] The Frontier opened on February 10 with just 15 menu items and five employees.[1][9]

Initially, the restaurant served breakfast, hamburgers, sandwiches, and some Tex-Mex foods like enchiladas. After requests from customers, they began to incorporate New Mexican cuisine into the menu by the end of 1971.[10][11] By 1989, the Frontier had expanded into the adjoining buildings on the block for a total of five dining rooms and 8,000 square feet (740 m2) of space.[1] The restaurant was open 24 hours a day beginning in the early 1990s, but was forced to cut back its hours in 2006 after repeated problems with unruly patrons.[12]


The Frontier serves primarily New Mexican cuisine along with American diner fare like sandwiches, hamburgers, and breakfast plates. Some of the best-known menu items include the sweet rolls, green chile cheeseburgers, green chile stew, carne adovada, and breakfast burritos.[13][14][15][16][17] The restaurant also sells some bulk items including tortillas, chile, carne adovada, posole, green chile stew, and sweet rolls.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Logan, Paul (January 16, 1989). "Frontier Restaurant: A Special Place". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 17, 2019 – via
  2. ^ Blond, Becca; Krist, Josh; Denniston, Jennifer; Yanagihara, Wendy (2010). Lonely Planet Arizona, New Mexico & the Grand Canyon Trips. Lonely Planet. pp. 247ff. ISBN 978-1-74220-393-5.
  3. ^ Fodor's (2014). Fodor's In Focus Santa Fe: with Taos and Albuquerque. Fodor's Travel Publications. pp. 302ff. ISBN 978-0-8041-4237-3.
  4. ^ a b Lazell, Carleen; Payne, Melissa (2007). Historic Albuquerque: An Illustrated History. HPN Books. pp. 62ff. ISBN 978-1-893619-75-3.
  5. ^ Pentz, Michelle (October 9, 2000). "Villegas tames the Frontier". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Steinberg, David (December 23, 2007). "Enjoy Frontier's artworks with that late-night burrito". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 14, 2019 – via
  7. ^ "By the numbers: Frontier Restaurant". Albuquerque Journal. June 9, 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2019 – via
  8. ^ "Chisholm's". Albuquerque Journal. Advertisement. December 24, 1949. Retrieved May 18, 2019 – via
  9. ^ Westman, Steven J. (February–March 2013). "A Frontier All Its Own". Local iQ. 8 (5): 12–15. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Gray, Autumn (October 26, 2009). "One-on-One with Dorothy Rainosek". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 18, 2019 – via
  11. ^ Feucht, Andrea (2012). Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings. Globe Pequot. pp. 138ff. ISBN 978-0-7627-9053-1.
  12. ^ Stiger, Susan (October 26, 2006). "Frontier's Days Are Getting Shorter". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  13. ^ Nye, Valerie; Barco, Kathy (2009). Breakfast New Mexico Style. Sunstone Press. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-0-86534-716-8.
  14. ^ "Neil Patrick Harris Talks about Hosting the Oscars, Where His Zia Tattoo is, and Frontier Burritos". NewsCastic. October 16, 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  15. ^ Host: Adam Richman (2011). Travis on a Silver Platter. Man v. Food Nation (Television).
  16. ^ Garduño, Gil (June 22, 2012). "The Frontier Restaurant — Albuquerque, New Mexico". Gil's Thrilling (And Filling) Blog. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  17. ^ O’Neill, Zora (October 20, 2011). "36 Hours in Albuquerque". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  18. ^ "Frontier Restaurant Menu" (PDF). Frontier Restaurant. Retrieved 2015-04-24.

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