Hola, beautiful people of New Mexico. I have taken over the beer, wine and liqour coverage for the Albuquerque Journal. I’m replacing my colleague Rozanna Martinez, who has moved on with a new opportunity. I have two decades of experience in covering just about everything. I’m a huge fan of our local craft beer scene. I’ve been known to partake of a spirit or two, and many of you may have seen me out at a local brewery. If you are an owner or manager, and would like to see coverage of an event, collaboration or new release, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also welcome story tips from the public.
Kimberly Lujan and her brother, Timothy McMahon, cycled through a few hundred names for their new pizza, taco and beer joint before finding the perfect tag.
Voodoo Girl Pizza & Pints was the winning combination.
“We went through so many names,” Lujan said. “We picked the top five and voted. We really think it fits our vibe and who we are.”
The restaurant will hold its grand opening Friday, Aug. 13, hoping to become a favorite, laid-back spot for locals. The new taproom is on Second Street in what was once the home of the Blue Grasshopper. They repainted the red exterior of the building black in the spirit of its name. The interior also has some black walls highlighted with strips of blue neon lights.
There are no voodoo dolls lying about, but there is plenty of brick oven pizza to enjoy, along with street tacos and local craft beer. Lujan’s friend recently purchased several properties on that block including the building where they are located.
“It was too good of an opportunity to pass up,” she said. “I walked in and I knew it had to be. I also knew the only person I wanted running it was my brother.”
McMahon has 20 years in general manager experience. Lujan also worked in the service industry when she was younger.
“Actually, I love to cook,” she said. “I’ve worked in bars and fast-food places, and I was a manager at several places.”
The building came equipped with a brick oven pizza the previous owners purchased from Italy. They cycled through about 50 recipes before deciding on the final product. The restaurant had a soft opening last week, and Lujan said people love the pizza.
Lujan said they plan to open at full capacity although, like many other local restaurants, finding employees was a challenge. She said they managed to find experienced servers and two cooks who worked at Dion’s, bringing pizza experience with them.
A friend showed the duo how to make street tacos, and they decided to add that to their menu.
“Honestly, our tacos have been a big hit,” she said.
Lujan said they hope to eventually start brewing their own beer but for now will be offering a number of beers from local breweries. They put a call out of Facebook asking the public to list their favorite beers to give them an idea of what they should carry.
They will have live performances on the weekend, and local musician Kyle Martin, who describes himself as the original rock ‘n’ roll cowboy, will play their grand opening Friday night. During the week, they will have competitive karaoke, allowing participants to battle it out for the title of best singer.