Last week I paid a visit to the Gorge Bar & Grill on Taos Plaza.
The restaurant inhabits the location that once housed Ogilvies, long a Taos Institution. When Ogilvies closed, many locals mourned the passing of “good old days” aqui en Taos, but little did they know that the new occupants were closely related to the old ones, in more ways than one!
Keith and Kevin Roessler, the twin brothers (who together with their wives), are the force behind Parcht and the Gorge, spent many summers working for their uncle, (who at one time, owned a chain of restaurants throughout the region, called Olgilvies), here in Taos.
When their uncle (Roger Roessler), decided to get out of the Food business to join his brother (their father), in California’s wine country, the twins decided to buy the building that now houses Parcht and Olgilvie’s new incarnation, the Gorge Bar & Grill.
After completely gutting and remodelling the space, which after decades of wear and tear had begun to descend into dive territory, the brothers convinced Roger’s long time consultant, chef and right hand man, to leave his highly paid corporate position at a large food perveyour, to come and oversee the menu at the Gorge and to consult on food costs and purchasing for their other enterprises as well.
Executive Chef Jaime Nieves-Flores grew up in Mexico City but has lived and worked in the states for over three decades. For many of those years he worked for Roger Roessler, opening his Ogilvies chain and opening Seasons in Albuquerque before taking the aforementioned corporate position.
I sat down for a coffee with both Jaimie and Lucas Motsinger, the restaurant’s General Manager, who grew up here in Taos, to chat about the restaurant and what they do that makes them unique in a town known for its great food.
“Well I think firstly, our concept is all about fresh, high quality ingredients.” Jaime said. “We offer a casual dining experience without sacrificing the quality of both the food and the service.”
Lucas agreed. “We are all about made from scratch in both the kitchen and the bar,” he said. “Our drink mixes are all freshly made.” Jaime’s son Oscar is the bar manager. This is a family affair.
“Same as in the kitchen,” Jaime reiterated. “Nothing comes out of a box.” Jaime and his family call Taos home these days, and he is very committed to supporting local growers here.
“We try to buy locally as much as possible,” he continued. “We are dedicated to New Mexico grown foods.”
“The bar offers a great selection of craft beers, great wines and premium tequila,” Lucas added. “We serve the very best (both food and beverages), at a very reasonable cost.”
“Because we are not “white tablecloth,” Jaime explained, “we can present great food at a much lower cost than a fine dining establishment, but the quality is the same.”
“And the servings are bigger.” Lucas added.
The menu too, is extensive and well-rounded. One can order everything here, from a burger (the best in town), to a Rib Eye, with everything in between, including local New Mexican fare. There are gluten-free and vegetarian options as well and the kitchen will go out of its way to cater to special requests and dietary needs.
The restaurant also prides itself on being able to handle large parties at a moment’s notice.
“We had forty people show up last week and were able to accommodate their party, no problem!” Lucas told me.
Although the Gorge is in an obvious spot to make it a tourist favourite, Lucas informed me that it has its fair share of locals coming in on a regular basis.
Jaime says he hopes his new brunch menu lures in even more Taosenos during the warmer months when the patio opens.
For more information on the Gorge Bar & Grill please visit their site linked below.
All photos taken on my iphone except for the exterior shot and food shots all c/o the Gorge.