Hospitality and Entertainment Index - November
Welcome to our monthly review of the businesses behind things to do, places to eat, and lodging in greater Downtown. Let's get right to it...
Edible photos of the month: Tiny Grocer ABQ
The smallest grocery outlets generally come in two flavors: The chain convenience store that is often attached to a gas station or the indie neighborhood joint that generally carries the same products but may throw in a few curveballs, as with the surprisingly generous selection of dried beans and legal pads for sale at the Country Club Market (10th and Coal).

But at Tiny Grocer ABQ, owner Liz Gaylor is pioneering a possible third category: A small emporium of local produce, pantry staples made on site, and prepared food that is far more reminiscent of a farmers' market in miniature than a 7-11. And there's a coffee shop to boot.

Gaylor's goal for the store, which opened in September, is to appeal both to neighbors and tourists who might be passing by the Old Town location (San Felipe near Mountain).

"I have farmers who drop stuff off consistently throughout the week," said Gaylor, herself a West Park resident.

The selection isn't exactly broad, but unlike other small outlets, it's no trick to walk in and walk out with the makings of a healthy, well-balanced dinner. When we dropped by, they had local bread, tortillas, flour, chiles, pumpkins, tomatoes, duck eggs, beans, and all kinds of meat. Behind the counter in a prep area were what Gaylor estimated to be 60-70 pounds of prickly pears, guerilla-harvested from area cacti and slated to be turned into jams, jellies, and syrups. House-made apple butter and vegetables pressure-canned in mason jars were on the shelves already.

Gaylor is quick to acknowledge that the whole venture is a bit of an experiment. There aren't many places like Tiny Grocery out there (Berkeley's Three Stone Hearth is one exception), and she is launching in the middle of an economy that ranges from brutal to weird, particularly for tourist-dependent areas like Old Town. But on the other hand, the pandemic has actually been kind to small farms selling shares of their harvest directly, and home cooking is riding a wave of popularity as well.

So far, at least, the numbers are encouraging, and Gaylor has even picked up a few regulars.

"It's growing every week," she says. "It's the kind of place I would want to support and get food from."


Here's a tour of what was on offer on our recent visit:
Tortillas and duck eggs. The chicken variety was also available.
The meat selection includes bison, quail, and beef.
Tomatoes from Gipsy Farms, which is located in West Old Town.
Seasonal squash
Canned goods included apple butter and local vegetables canned on site.
Pizza restaurant with arcade set to open in old Monk's Corner Taproom
Holmes Pizza and Arcade will open soon at Silver and 3rd, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram page. The restaurant could not be reached for further comment, but another post suggested that in addition to pizza, the on-site entertainment would include pinball. Monk's Corner Taproom closed in the summer of 2018.
After months of closure, visits to the zoo have reached something of a new pandemic-era normal, with the figures for the last two months hovering around 35,000. At the botanic garden (the aquarium is still closed), visits have also been steady after what looks like a small surge of reopening interest in June. Since July, the monthly numbers have ranged from 7,700 to 10,600.
At the museums, it's a very mixed picture. Explora is closed and has been since the lockdown. The New Mexico Museum of Natural History reopened on September 24 but closed again on October 22, along with other state museums like the National Hispanic Cultural Center. During that period, it attracted about 6,000 visitors, about half of September 2019's numbers. (The gift shop is still open for your holiday shopping needs, the museum's Rachel Veracka told us.)

Meanwhile, Albuquerque Museum reopened September 15 at 25 percent capacity and has stayed open, though lately only to in-state visitors. That translated into a modest 2,433 visits in October. Its new exhibition, 30 Americans, runs through January 3.
Hotel occupancy: More of the same
Local hotel occupancy was still hovering at around the 50 percent mark in August, the most recent month for which we have numbers. But the more recent national figures it typically tracks haven't changed much since then, according to STR, the analytics firm that produced the diagram above. They have the current rate at 48 percent. What remains to be seen is whether the third wave of virus cases will affect these numbers and the local industry. The first wave pushed occupancy rates down to the mid-20s, but the second wave didn't really have a huge effect.
Short-term rentals: A few more list, but demand slacks
After several months of declines, 87102 and 87104 added 16 new short-term rental listings over the previous month, with all but four coming in 87104, according to AirDNA, an analytics firm. We're at about 77 percent of where we were in November of 2019.
On the occupancy front, it's looking like October's rise to 60 percent of room nights being spoken for (over the following eight weeks) was a blip. We're back to 53 percent, which is more reminiscent of the summer months. Either way, this is another metric that will be interesting to watch during the third wave.

And that's the Hospitality and Entertainment Index for November! Click here for sources and methods.
Downtown Albuquerque News covers greater Downtown, which we generally define as the area created by I-40, the Rio Grande, and the railroad tracks. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. If someone forwarded DAN to you, please consider subscribing. To subscribe, contact us, submit a letter to the editor, or learn more about what we do, click here. If you ever run into technical trouble receiving DAN, click here.
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