7 places to get your tortilla fix in Albuquerque

Mary Wilson enjoys freshly made tortillas at the Duran Central Pharmacy on historic Route 66 on Tuesday. (Chancey Bush/Journal)

When you’re in the mood for homemade tortillas, you can mix up a batter, let it rest, divide the batter, roll the pieces into slices, turn on the griddle and bake them to brown speckled perfection.

Or, if you’re in Albuquerque, you can just stop by one of the many restaurants that sell their homemade tortillas in bulk.

Earlier this week, the Journal called on readers online to share their favorite places for homemade tortillas. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of local spots, sourced from our readers and editorial staff:

With a prominent side: Barelas Coffee House

For decades, Barelas Coffee House has wowed local New Mexicans and tourists alike — including celebrity customer Barack Obama, who stopped by the restaurant in 2010. The café was opened in the 1970s by Mike Gonzalez, a Barelas resident, and has grown along with the neighborhood. While coffee is in the name, the menu is filled with New Mexico classics, including corn tortillas or flour tortillas with butter.

Former President Barack Obama visited the Barelas Coffee House in 2010. (Courtesy of the Barack Obama Presidential Library)

Location and opening times:

  • 1502 Fourth SW
  • Monday-Friday: 7:30am-3:00pm
  • Saturday: 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m
  • Sunday: closed

For late nights on Central: Frontier

It’s as New Mexican as green chili. In 2021, Frontier celebrated its 50th anniversary at its Central location across from the University of New Mexico campus. Since Larry and Dorothy Rainosek opened the restaurant in 1971, Frontier has grown in both size and fame, becoming an Albuquerque tradition — it was the first restaurant I ate at when I moved to New Mexico. In addition to its tortillas, which are sold by the dozen, Frontier sells its chilies, pozole, sweet buns, and more in bulk.

Frontier Restaurant’s standard huevos rancheros with green chili stew. (Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/Journal)

Location and opening times:

  • 2400 Central SE
  • Monday – Sunday: 5:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m

For on the go: Golden Pride

Golden Pride is Frontier’s slightly younger sister restaurant; Opened in 1972 by Larry and Dorothy Rainosek, it’s been serving Albuquerque for 51 years, alongside Frontier’s 52. Though Golden Pride rose to fame as a BBQ restaurant, it’s also known for its burritos — burritos wrapped in Golden Pride’s tortillas. You can pick up a dozen at any of Golden Pride’s four locations, and even snag a stack at their drive-thru.

The Golden Pride location on Lomas. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)
  • Locations and opening times:
  • 10101 Central NE
  • 5231 Central NW
  • 1830 Lomas NE
  • 3720 Juan Tabo NE
  • Monday-Friday: 6am-10pm
  • Saturday: 6:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m
  • Sunday: 7am-10pm

With a dash of exclusivity: Duran Central Pharmacy

The Duran Central Pharmacy opened as a pharmacy in 1942 and has been a West Downtown landmark for decades. The pharmacy, which is still family-owned, opened a restaurant in the late 1960s that has become well known for its red and green chiles and tortillas. Due to the restaurant’s popularity and the time it takes to make tortillas, customers probably won’t leave with a dozen tortillas, but the tortillas are offered in the meals. Depending on how busy it is, the general manager says customers can leave with a few takeaway tortillas if they’re lucky — but don’t count on it.

Rosario Monge spreads melted butter on freshly made tortillas at the Duran Central Pharmacy on historic Route 66. (Chancey Bush/Journal)
  • Location and opening times:
  • 1815 Central NW
  • Sunday-Tuesday: 9am-4pm
  • Wednesday-Saturday: 9am-7pm

For tortillas for 94 years: El Modelo

Founded in 1929 in a three-room family home, El Modelo had decades to perfect its flour and white corn tortilla recipes. Carmen Garcia, the restaurant’s founder, turned one of her rooms into a “factory,” waking up at 2 a.m. to make tortillas for the breakfast crowd. To this day, El Modelo serves breakfast throughout the day.

Gloria Lopez making tamales in El Modelo’s kitchen in 2009. (Dean Hanson/Journal)
  • Location and opening times:
  • 1715 Second SW
  • Monday-Sunday: 7am-7pm

A well-known favorite: Garcia’s

Garcia’s is an Albuquerque force, with six locations and nearly five decades of culinary excellence for Duke City. Although the original location, opened by Andrew “Andy” Garcia, closed in 2020, the restaurant has continued to grow since opening in 1975, and potential customers still have many locations to choose from. Tortilla enthusiasts can purchase their wares by the dozen as part of their family-style menu.

Diners at Garcia’s on Fourth Street, with one of the restaurant’s tortillas in 2004. (Nicholas Roberts/Journal)
  • Locations and opening times:
  • 6390 Coors NW
  • Sunday-Thursday: 8am-3pm
  • Friday-Saturday: 8am-8pm
  • 1736 Central SW
  • Sunday-Thursday: 8am-3pm
  • Friday-Saturday: 8am-8pm
  • 4917 4th NW
  • Sunday-Thursday: 8am-3pm
  • Friday-Saturday: 8am-8pm
  • 3601 Juan Tabo NE
  • Sunday-Thursday: 8am-3pm
  • Friday-Saturday: 8am-8pm
  • 2924 San Mateo NO
  • Closed on Mondays
  • Sunday: 7am-3pm
  • Tuesday-Saturday: 7am-9pm
  • 8518 Indian School NE
  • Sunday-Monday: 7am-3pm
  • Tuesday-Saturday: 7am-9pm

To try something new: Tortilla Kitchen

Tortillas: It’s the name of one of Albuquerque’s newest New Mexico restaurants, and in an interview with the Journal, co-owner Mike Montoya said tortillas are the “anchor” of the menu. Tortillas are hand rolled and fried to order, and served hot in tortilla warmers. A dozen tortillas are sold at the Northeast Albuquerque restaurant for $5.

Fresh tortillas being prepared at Tortilla Kitchen on January 3, 2023. (Chancey Bush/Journal)
  • Location and opening times:
  • 6550 Holly Ave NE
  • Monday-Sunday: 7am-2pm

Source