Runaway Jury
Diary of a mad juror.

Kings of the Board
Silver High's chess champs.

Dutch Treats
Dutch Oven cooking comeback.

The Eloquence of Surrender
Remembering Apache words.

Who Was Who
Las Cruces tombstone tour.

Breaking Away
Marathon biker Glenn Theron.

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Desert Diary

Hearing the Echoes
Heaven and Earth
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Dining Guide
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Table Talk

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Table Talk

This now-monthly feature looks at the changes on our local restaurant scene—openings and closings, expansions, new chefs and menus. Do you have a new favorite dining spot in Deming? Did the place you love in Las Cruces lose its liquor license? If it's news on the restaurant scene, you'll find it here in Table Talk, where it's "all food, all the time!"

Looking to build on success and secure a permanent home for his authentic Euro-cuisine, chef Marc Laliberté will open Marc's European Grill at 420 Avenida de Mesilla in Las Cruces, at the corner of Valley Drive, across from (sacré bleu!) Domino's Pizza. Laliberté, who hails from Montréal, Canada, until recently owned a mobile eatery of the same name in Las Cruces, and sold wares through the farmers' market. Laliberté says his cuisine hails from "the beaches of Europe," and will include French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek dishes. The restaurant will use natural and organic produce, meats and ingredients whenever possible, and bake (mais oui!) from scratch. The chef has his fingers crossed for an opening in early May. 647-1112.

Diane Holloway, owner of Diane's Restaurant on Bullard Street in Silver City, will open her take-out baked goods and sandwich cafe at The Hub by mid-May. Holloway already has hired four employees for baking and deli sales at the new facility, including a newcomer to the area from San Francisco. "We're going to have wonderful lines of cheeses," Halloway says, including Boar's Head brand for sandwiches and "an artisan line out of Scottsdale. We'll have at least a dozen different kinds of sandwiches that people can order by number for quick and tasty take-out lunches." Though Halloway will not have donuts at the location, customers can expect to find all the usual Diane's breads and some new sourdough loaves, along with sweet treats like napoleons, éclairs, cakes and more.

The Prime Rib Grill, inside the Holiday Inn in Deming, has reopened to enhanced grilling greatness after extensive renovations. The restaurant got a new roof and the old swamp coolers were replaced with refrigerated air, all the better for diners to enjoy the new menu, prepared by new chef, Steve, who used to work at the country club. 4600 E. Pine St..

The Hanover Outpost, that bigger-than-it-looks-from-the-outside banquet hall at 5490 Hwy. 152, in Hanover of course, plans to expand beyond serving special events and start serving lunch and dinner by this summer. Dondea and Craig Merrell have owned the facility for about two years now. 537-5397.

The Grapevine Cafe in Lordsburg has closed. Locals mourn the loss of one damn good burger.

Seekers of the Early Bird Special will have to flock elsewhere in Silver City, following the recent sudden closing of the Golden Corral on Hwy. 180. A district manager for the company said the decision was financially based: The 11-year-old franchise restaurant, which had sales in the bottom 10 out of hundreds of outlets across the country, could not afford to do a company-mandated remodel, estimated to cost up to $400,000. One wonders how much it could cost to upgrade steam tables and recover the booth seating!

Our March "Business Exposure" column noted that the Orchid Cafe at Ciénega Spa on Cooper Street in Silver City had closed and its chef, Geoff Moore, was negotiating with Ciénega owners Robin and Pam Hogan to re-open the restaurant as his own. Pam Hogan confirms that Moore and his wife, Susan, are leasing the restaurant and professional kitchen on a month-to-month basis, providing catering and special events to order. Additionally, Moore landed a new opportunity cooking at Silver City Brewing Company at the corner of College and Pope Streets. Brewpub owner Bob Brockhausen says he's happy to have Moore on board, and that the joint is gearing up for crowds from the Tour of the Gila bike race and Silver City Blues Festival. "Having him here is allowing me to do things I haven't been able to do," Brockhausen says, adding that patrons should look for new salads, burgers and, pardon me, more on the menu in the near future.

John Fuller, who owns Messiah's Health Shoppe on E. 13th Street in Silver City with his wife, Kasey, has yet to open Baja Grill, as mentioned in the March "Business Exposure." No word on when he might get his hoped-for expansion of "fresh grilled healthy fare."

The Copper Crest Country Club restaurant and bar in Silver City, after closing earlier this year, is looking for a new owner that would operate the facility as an independent food and beverage business. The property is listed for sale at $460,000.

Grandma's Cafe, 900 Hwy. 180 in Silver City, is listed for sale at $360,000. Price of the long-established "greasy spoon," popular with locals and the ranching crowd, includes an 800-square-foot two-bedroom house on Canal Street.

The Black Range Winery in Hillsboro is looking to open a new wine bar on Calle de Guadalupe across from the Fountain Theatre in Mesilla. Winery owner Nicki Wolf says she hopes for a late May opening at the new place, which will also offer cigars for those who like to smoke and sip.

Don Juan's Burritos, which took over the kiosk previously operated by Miko's Tacos, has had to cease serving drive-by customers in front of the Ford dealership on Hwy. 180, due to enforcement of state highway department regulations. Owner Juan Tellez says he will now have two windows open at the kiosk to speed service, and offers free deliveries to all local businesses on request. Regular hours are 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 538-5440.

—Donna Clayton Lawder


We're always looking for news on the food scene! Email donna@desertexposure.com.