After being closed for seven months due to COVID-19, one of Downtown Albuquerque’s most popular restaurants has reopened with a revamped menu that literally has something for everyone – even those with dietary restrictions. Chef & Owner of Brixens Tanya Sanchez discussed all the juicy details.
With so many unknowns surrounding COVID-19, Brixens owner Tanya Sanchez proactively closed the restaurant in March a couple of days before the Governor’s order to close was issued. After a “family meeting” with staff, who told her they supported that decision, she laid them off so that they could file for unemployment, and wondered what the future would bring for Brixens. As the pandemic progressed, Sanchez decided to use that downtime to accomplish a goal she’d always had – creating a menu that fully accommodates those with dietary restrictions.
“My family members have a lot of dietary restrictions, and I’ve seen what they go through when ordering at restaurants,” she says. “Many restaurants don’t seem to understand how important it is to take every step possible to not only accommodate dietary needs and allergies, but also to ensure that cross-contamination does not occur. My goal has always been for Brixens to be a place where anyone can come and order something delicious that is tailored for their specific needs.”
Sanchez spent months reworking the Brixens menu. She created every single recipe and then figured out how to make it vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free. She focused on the restaurant’s award-winning dishes and best sellers before expanding to other dishes. The end result is a streamlined, from-scratch menu that any person can savor, regardless of their dietary needs. Now, she’s ready to share this new menu with the Duke City. Sanchez was able to bring back some of her staff for takeout and delivery orders. She thought about offering indoor dining again in accordance with the current restrictions, but decided she’d rather make sure it was sustainable to stay open in the event of a Fall virus surge and accommodate customers as safely as possible. Her only concern with that – losing the personal connection with guests that comes from an intimate indoor dining experience.
“That’s why we implemented some exciting new technology,” she says. “People can go to our website and it connects us to them via text. We get to have a real, ongoing conversation throughout their ordering process, and even follow up to make sure they loved their food.”
For that personal connection, guests can call in their order, or order on the Brixens website. The website menu is fully customizable and asks guests about all preferences and dietary restrictions. There are separate menus for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free guests. Customers can pick up their order curbside, or have it delivered.
Sanchez is doing all of this so that she can continue to fulfill her culinary calling, support her family of staff, and show her love to Brixens guests who continue to support her, and the new ones who will come.