AFTER FOOD TRUCKS proved the concept that just about any old tin can with a kitchen can turn out quality food, maybe it made sense that Albuquerque’s hippest new dining destination would be made out of shipping containers. Green Jeans Farmery is a fresh take on a food court, a Legoland of worthy food-and-bev canteens (and a couple of shops) that share seating areas and restrooms. Its appeal comes from being the smart new place that feeds current appetites for quality casual fare, bespoke coffees, and local brew.
Developer Roy Solomon opted for shipping containers because they are recycled—that’s important to him—and for the cool aesthetics. Green, lilac, and turquoise containers are stacked two stories high and outfitted with plumbing and electricity, turning the minimalist metal rectangles normally seen on freight trains into mini-restaurants.
With walkable and bikeable districts in short supply in the Duke City, this nook along Cutler Avenue where Carlisle Boulevard spans I-40 has become a citywide draw since Green Jeans opened a year and a half ago.
In high summer, the patios overflow; a more recently installed indoor seating area makes it a four-season spot.
Solomon hand-selected the ten-ants for the colorful space, each one known for its quality. For example, Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria serves authentic Italian pies made with flour imported from the restaurant’s namesake region. Rockin’ Taco brings streetfood style; Chumlys serves South-western favorites; Zeus’ Juice provides tasty liquefied nutrition. Each is a local creation—often using New Mexico ingredients that further the homegrown vibe. Here’s a sampling of the Green Jeans menu.
BRINGING THE BURGERS
Kelly Adams’ food truck, Rustic 505, successfully cruised the city’s breweries and markets for three years before landing at Green Jeans as Rustic on the Green. “We just knocked the wheels off the truck,” Adams says. Rustic specializes in burgers and fries, including the Food Truck Throwdown–winning Divine Intervention burger, with blue cheese, caramelized onion, and a balsamic reduction. The Sacred Burger—a classic green chile cheeseburger—is also popular. Adams reports that his business has doubled since locating at Green Jeans; there, his customers always know where to find his tasty burgers. (505) 944-5849
Hailing from Grant County, where her family worked in copper mines, Bocadillos chef/owner Marie Yniguez worked primarily in the food industry from 15 to 32, when she suffered a stroke. Laid up for months, she decided that if she was going to work 70 hours a week, it should be for herself. She started selling burritos out of her car, then parlayed that into preparing a thousand made-from-scratch school meals a day and a small restaurant, which she based on her favorite food done right. The New Mexican sandwich joint migrated to Green Jeans to be more convenient for its customers. Bocadillos’ “TnA” (turkey-and-avocado sandwich) earned raves from Guy Fieri on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but Yniguez says the Duke City Reuben is her top seller. The mega-sandwich is piled high with corned beef, red cabbage sauerkraut, and chipotle-infused Thousand Island dressing. Yniguez roasts the meats for 12 hours and makes all her sauces from scratch. (505) 910-8905
Santa Fe Brewing Co. may be the state’s oldest craft brewery, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t innovative. When owner Brian Lock was looking for his company’s first Duke City taproom, he wanted something different from the typical strip mall. After a three-year search, he found it in a double-decker at Green Jeans. Beyond the standard suds—the Happy Camper IPA and State Pen Porter are flagships—the offerings include seasonals avail-able only here and in the Santa Fe brewery taproom. Lock also uses Green Jeans as a proving ground, testing new brews against Albuquerque-ans’ fine-tuned palates. The brewery occasion-ally suggests pairings with menu items from its neighbors. For example, the robust winter seasonal Adobe Igloo stands up to the rich flavor of Bocadillos’ Reuben. (505) 881-0887; santafebrewing.com
Although Broken Trail Distillery brews and serves beer in a taproom a mile from Green Jeans, its tasting room here serves only handcrafted spirits. Owner Matt Simonds was an environmental scientist before he applied his chemistry knowledge to distilling. Simonds harnesses local corn for the Holy Ghost vodka and New Mexico pecans for the rum. Pepe the Mule is the clear cocktail favorite; it’s mixed with Broken Trail’s ginger beer, super-smooth Holy Ghost vodka, and a hearty helping of lime juice. Simonds changed the company’s name (formerly Distillery 365) about a year ago. “Broken Trail is a better representation of our identity,” he says. “When you’re breaking trail, you’re being a forerunner and an innovator. That’s what we’re doing here.” (505) 221-6281; distillery365.com
Co-owners Eric Garcia and Tony Lopez considered starting a coffeehouse in Denver but saw potential in Albuquerque. Their Epiphany Espresso emphasizes quality—from its fair-trade, organic beans to its handcrafted drinks, from the classics to specialties like the coconut cream pie latte. Its pastries come from local, made-from-scratch bakeries like New Mexico Pie Company. (505) 200-9476; epiphanyespresso.com
Not long after juice bar magnate Ryan Fellows expanded his outfit, Squeezed Juice, to three locations in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho,Solomon approached him about a Green Jeans spot. But Fellows and his wife, Vickie, had something else in mind: liquid nitrogen ice cream. Chill’N’s container space is part Ben & Jerry’s and part mad-scientist lab with liquid nitrogen billowing out of mixers as they churn creamy confections. The ice cream is made to order and features mostly local, organic ingredients, some of which come from Green Jeans itself, including coffee from Epiphany Espresso for the java chip ice cream. Hooch from Broken Trail flavors the rum ice cream, and the liquor-infused pecans used in the rum-distilling process are sprinkled on top. (505) 219-3166; chilln-ice-creams.com
Green Jeans Farmery: 3600 Cutler NE, Albuquerque; greenjeansfarmery.com