In the restaurant world, “what’s new and hot” may grab the attention, but it’s the more-established places that create the character and provide the foundation on which these newer dining establishments can thrive. To celebrate these cuisine classics, the New Mexico Tourism Department has just launched its on-line Culinary Treasures Trail at

The Culinary Treasurers Trail - a follow-up to the wildly popular Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail which debuted last year - promotes restaurants that have stood the test of time; independent spots that are beloved in their neighborhoods and beyond. Many are operated by the founding family or by someone handpicked to carry on their legacy, but in all cases are still family-owned and operated (and have not expanded beyond a second restaurant) to help ensure personal hospitality.

“New Mexico is full of venerable independently-owned spots that most New Mexicans and their visitors know quite well,” said Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “With the help of the New Mexico Restaurant Association, each Culinary Treasure chosen must have reached a minimum of 40 years of continuous service. We put out the word statewide and received nominations from loyal patrons, cooks, chefs, wait staff, and owners. We then convened a team of culinary experts to confirm their qualifications. The result? Whether you’re ravenous for huevos rancheros, hungry for hash browns, or craving a plate of stacked red enchiladas, you’re going to find something on the Trail that fits the bill.”

The list of 75 Treasures includes cafes, diners, drive-ins, and one of the state’s most elegant dining venues, like The Compound in Santa Fe, with its imaginative James Beard award-winning chef-owner Mark Kiffin, and the dining room of the Hotel St. Bernard in Taos Ski Valley, presided over by ski legend Jean Mayer for more than four decades. Famed outposts for New Mexican cuisine are featured, like La Posta de Mesilla and Rancho de Chimayó. There’s the delightful Pappas Sweet Shop Restaurant in Raton, and Billy Crews Fine Dining and Cocktails in Santa Teresa. From west to east, great spots remain from the golden age of Route 66, the El Rancho Hotel Restaurant in Gallup and the Dog House in Albuquerque, for instance, and onward to the Silver Moon Café in Santa Rosa and Del’s in Tucumcari. Historic Pie Town on State Road 60 was designated an honorary Culinary Treasure for its long history of cafes serving—you guessed it—pies.

The interactive map (  is the heart of the Culinary Treasures Trail. The map makes it easy to check out what’s along your route, try a tasty detour, or grab some friends and plan a whole itinerary around these personality-filled spots. The Trail also provides a snapshot of each restaurant’s history, style, and food. Many establishments shared vintage photos, menus from early years, and signature recipes, like The Shed’s Chile Verde con Papas or Bobcat Bite’s Coleslaw.

For more information, contact Cheryl Alters Jamison, Culinary Liaison, 505-982-2041 or