1115 Hickox St, Santa Fe NM 87505
Monday - Friday | 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday | 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
The Tune Up Café is an unpretentious and welcoming Santa Fe gem with food that is delicious and imaginative. The menu reads with a Santa Fe-meets-New Orleans-meets-El Salvador influence that feels strangely familiar. Jesus and Charlotte Rivera have created a bohemian-style neighborhood hangout with semi-communal seating indoors and out that is funky, fun, comfortable and affordable and makes you want to sit a spell.
Replete with deliciousness, there is always a seafood or veggie special on the menu that is prepared to an inspired level of taste. Hallmarks to the restaurant are the El Salvadoran national snack, pupusa, stuffed with queso fresco and zucchini or flank steak, and the illuminating Mole Colorado enchiladas served with grilled banana. If you’ve never had pupusas or mole, Tune Up Café is the place to indoctrinate yourself. A variety of hamburgers adorn the menu, including the Santa Fe-vorite lamb and buffalo burgers, along with a fully-satisfying house-made vegan burger. Organic chicken picata is a dinner favorite. At breakfast, try the fruit compote stuffed French toast with cream cheese and maple syrup – who wouldn’t want to wake up to this? Naturally, the deserts are made from scratch and as good as any pâtissier could make. The peanut butter cookie sandwiches are delightfully dense with Nutella spread. Tune Up often offers old-fashioned banana-spiced cupcakes filled with custard and topped with cream cheese icing. The German chocolate cake is a kind of opiate. Take an entire gluten-free pumpkin pie to go!
Tune Up Café has a fun tap room that offers friends eight beers on tap, sangria and creative concoctions like a green tea lemon grass combo and a “Japanese Cobbler” made of fresh pineapple, orange juice, cherry juice, sake and a hint of champagne. Among other special non-alcohol beverage treats is always a delicious, tropical agua fresca to quench your thirst and invigorate.
Guy Fieri of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” loved the Tune Up Café, calling it “a perfect example of what we’re looking for…they scratch cook everything, the place is full of character, and the neighborhood totally digs it.” The friendly house-next-door feel is certainly part of Tune Up Café’s notability, but the adventurous, hearty food and the resulting pleasure is what distinguishes it most. One meal here and you know you’ll be back for repeat visits.