Food & Drink Guide to Ruidoso, New Mexico
Anyone who knows me, or has spent anytime here on WTG, knows that I like to eat and drink. I mean I really like to eat and drink. Discovering new foods, drinks, restaurants, and bars that are unique to a destination is one of my favorite parts of the travel experience. And that couldn’t have been truer than of my trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico.
In my last post, I mentioned that New Mexico is one of my favorite states in America. A lot of that is actually rooted in its food — New Mexico features foods that are unique to the state that you won’t find in most other regions of America. Most notably is New Mexico’s love for chiles. Go into just about any restaurant and you’ll see everything from green chile burgers to green chile stews to green chile pizza and so much more. Other foods that are central to New Mexico cuisine include sopaipillas (a type of fried pastry), biscochitos cookies, blue corn tortillas, and red chiles, just to name a few.
Naturally then, food and drinks had to be front and center on my recent trip to Southern New Mexico. Below, see my food and drink guide to Ruidoso, New Mexico.
While I’m not typically a big breakfast eater, breakfast was among my best meals in Ruidoso, and the headliner was Cornerstone Bakery & Café, which was spilling out with tourists and locals alike. So many of the entrees were inspired by New Mexico cuisine, like the huevos rancheros or breakfast burrito topped with red or green chile sauce. My favorite, however, was the omelet folded around a chile relleno. Mind blown! Naturally, being the bakery that it is, I picked up a couple pastries on my way out, including the Black Forest Strudel stuffed with cherries and dark chocolate and an apricot empanada. You’re welcome.
My coffee shop every morning was Sacred Grounds Coffee and Tea House, which overlooked the Rio Ruidoso. The cabin-like coffee shop doubles as a great café, too, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I recommend the chicken green chile and cheddar quiche or breakfast burrito with green chile grits.
What’s more, I was delighted to discover that like Southern California, Ruidoso’s staples include breakfast burritos. I quickly learned every local has their favorite. For some it was Porky’s, for others it was Tina’s Café. However, the breakfast burrito I was most surprised by was Club Gas, which is an actual gas station that serves a number of different breakfast burritos. Obviously, I had to get the green chile breakfast burrito. It was a great grab-and-go stop on the way to Ski Apache.
Many of the restaurants I mention above also make great lunch spots in Ruidoso, including Cornerstone Bakery & Café, Sacred Grounds, and Porky’s. For a small sandwich shop, look no further than the dive-y Chef Shawn’s Eatery. I recommend the Cubano or green chile cheeseburger, albeit you’ll be hard-pressed to find an item that isn’t great. Elsewhere, there’s The Village Buttery, a longtime darling among locals and considered one of the best restaurants for lunch in the area. Among the favorites: Any number of sandwiches and soups, of which I recommend the tomato basil soup. Save room for pie.
Ruidoso has a handful of places to grab a drink, most of which feature local beer and wine. My first stop was at Hidden Tap, which I could’ve spent all day at. The taproom features a long list of bottles and draft beers, most of which are local or regional. It was here that I had one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had, Elevated IPA from La Cumbre in Alburquerque. Hidden Tap also pours local wine and has a small food menu. Bonus points: Hidden Tap has a number of arcade and bar games. Best tap room ever?
Unbeknownst to many is that New Mexico has a long viticulture history, with wine production dating back more than a century in the state. And one of the newest additions to Ruidoso is Tall Pines Beer and Wine Garden, specializing in local beer and wine, and which I especially recommend for the outdoor patio (hello, winter fire pits). While you can find local wine at places like Tall Pines and Hidden Tap, you’ll also find wineries in and around Ruidoso, such as Noisy Water Winery & Cellars. Noisy Water is open daily for tastings (wine and cheese!), and features a variety of different wines. Don’t leave without trying their chile wines.
Among Ruidoso’s taprooms is Rio Grande Grill & Tap Room, where I had dinner on my last night. For a one-stop spot for both food and drinks, this is the place. I bellied up to the bar, where you can enjoy flights or pints of local beer, or a glass of wine. Favorites on the dinner menu include the green chile chicken lasagna, hatch chicken alfredo in a creamy green chile alfredo sauce, and maplewood salmon. The can’t-miss item, however, is the bacon-wrapped dates.
However, ask locals where to go for dinner, and they’ll likely direct you to Michael J’s, specializing in Italian cuisine. You really can’t go wrong with any of the pasta dishes, but I suggest the chicken piccata or fettuccini carmella with prosciutto, chicken, and shrimp. I highly recommend making reservations beforehand.