Red or Green?
Restaurant Del Sol at La Tienda in the Mimbres
taps the sun to put food on your table.
By Peggy Platonos
Almost exactly a year and a half ago, the little Mimbres Valley corner market known as La Tienda reopened under new ownership and made gasoline available for purchase again in the Mimbres Valley. The store also offered (and continues to offer) cigarettes, sodas, motor oil, snack items, fishing gear (including worms), and fresh brewed coffee, as well as a modest array of dairy products, cold cuts, baked goods, basic cooking supplies, paper products and canned items — the kind of things that give "convenience" stores their name.
Hans Jaeggi and his wife, Karin Lorenz, pose by the cash register in the lower level restaurant section of their Mimbres Valley store, La Tienda Del Sol. The pen and ink drawing of John Wayne fits in perfectly with the rustic, barn board-accented decor of the dining area. Solar power supplies the energy needs of both restaurant and store, and explains the name Restaurant Del Sol.
(Photo by Peggy Platonos)
The new owner, Hans Jaeggi, had bigger plans in mind, however, and has been steadily working toward implementing them.
The plans included creating a huge solar collection system that would supply all the store's power needs. And after many delays and much red tape, that system went into operation in February of this year and is currently producing more than enough electricity to meet the store's needs. The solar energy component of Hans' plan is the reason why he expanded the name of the store to La Tienda Del Sol, which translates as "Little Store of the Sun," and why he now calls the dining section "Restaurant Del Sol."
From the beginning, the creation of a restaurant was an integral part of his plans for the store — a restaurant that would offer popular and unpretentious food. He put in a well-equipped commercial kitchen and created an attractively rustic dining area in the lower level of the store, with old barn boards arranged artistically on ceiling and walls, and a light suspended over each table to provide plenty of illumination without sacrificing an intimate atmosphere. He then gathered an experienced kitchen team together, and opened the restaurant doors, without fanfare, at the end of last year.
The kitchen team is headed up by manager A.J. Mosher and head cook Betty Bull (A.J.'s mother, who owned and operated the recently closed Casa Blanca bar).
The Restaurant Del Sol menu is firmly rooted in familiar favorites, with all items available throughout the day.
Breakfast choices range from a simple $4.50 one-egg or $6.25 two-egg breakfast (both with sausage or bacon and hash browns) to a Country Fried Steak & Eggs Breakfast for $8. The menu also includes a Two-Egg & Hamburger Steak Breakfast for $7.25, huevos rancheros for $6.25, chorizo eggs (scrambled, with beans) for $5.50, pancakes (short stack $3.50, with sausage or bacon $5.50), waffles (plain $5, with sausage or bacon $7) and biscuits and gravy for $3.50. Oatmeal is available for $2.25.
Burger options (all served with French fries) start with a basic hamburger ($7.50) and progress through a cheeseburger ($8), to a green chile cheeseburger ($8.25), a bacon cheeseburger ($8.75) and a double cheeseburger ($10.50). You'll also find a mushroom Swiss burger on the menu (with sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese) for $8.50.
Sandwiches range in price from $5.50 for a BLT or tuna salad, to $6.50 for turkey or ham. All are served with a choice of French fries, potato salad or cole slaw.
Three Mexican plates are featured at Restaurant Del Sol, all served with rice and beans and smothered in either red or green chile sauce: an Enchilada Plate (basic cheese for $6.50, or add meat for $1 extra), a Burrito Plate for $7.25, and a Taco Plate for $6.75.
Pizza is also on the menu — $12 for a 14-inch pizza with one topping. A variety of other toppings are available for an additional charge of 75¢ each.
Appetizers include chicken wings with either barbeque or Buffalo sauce ($7.50), cheese sticks with marinara sauce ($5.50), and nachos with beans, meat and cheese ($6.50).
Take-out is available for all items.
Green chile stew, stuffed sopapillas and gorditas appear from time to time on the Daily Specials board. And customers are likely to be pleasantly surprised in the not-too-distant future to occasionally find German dishes as specials provided by Hans' German-born wife, Karin Lorenz — dishes like ruladen, spatzle, polenta and a two-meat goulash known as Szegediner Gulasch.
Also in the not-too-distant future, wine and beer will be available at Restaurant Del Sol. A license has been applied for and is being processed.
Restaurant Del Sol is open seven days a week. The hours are 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call (575) 536-3140.
Send Mimbres freelance writer Peggy Platonos tips for restaurant reviews
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (575) 536-2997.