Beloved Canyon Road restau­rant for sale

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - AUTHENTICALLY DESIGNED - By Paul Wei­de­man

EL FAROL RESTAU­RANT & CANTINA IS ON THE MAR­KET. One of Santa Fe’s best-known restau­rants and nightspots, El Farol dates back to 1968. But the his­tory of a neigh­bor­hood eatery at this lo­ca­tion goes back long be­fore that.

Tra­di­tion has it that the build­ing at 808 Canyon Road be­gan life as a 19th-cen­tury Vigil-fam­ily es­tab­lish­ment called the Cantina del Cañon. El Farol (which means “warmth” and “light”) was started by Vint Black­burn and Bob Young in 1968. David Salazar bought it from them in the mid1980s.

Salazar de­scribes El Farol as “a per­fect place for both lo­cals and tourists to gather with friends and fam­ily.” The menu spe­cialty is ta­pas, small por­tions of Span­ish foods that are served in sharable group­ings. Mu­sic and art have al­ways been part of the eatery’s busi­ness formula.

Salazar grew up in the vil­lage of Her­nan­dez, north of Es­pañola. “I was bap­tized in the church that Ansel Adams pho­tographed,” he said in a re­cent in­ter­view at El Farol. That’s prob­a­bly Adams’ most fa­mous pic­ture, Moon­rise, Her­nan­dez, New Mex­ico, made in 1941.

Salazar went to Gar­den City Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Kansas to play foot­ball, then earned his busi­ness de­gree at Fort Lewis Col­lege in Du­rango, Colorado. He grew up in the busi­ness realm. “My fa­ther had a gen­eral store in Her­nan­dez and we de­liv­ered gro­ceries all the way up to Colorado and we de­liv­ered gaso­line to the sta­tions. We used to buy from Gross Kelly and Charles Ilfeld.”

In the late 1970s, Salazar helped write speeches for farm la­bor leader and civil-rights ac­tivist Ce­sar Chavez for a time. Then he met U.S. Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Bob Ber­g­land and ended up in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., where he worked on the Carter Ad­min­is­tra­tion team that was de­vel­op­ing ru­ral pol­icy.

In 1985, he pur­chased El Farol, which seats about 250 in good weather and about half of that when closed-up warm in the win­ter. His pa­trons over the years have in­cluded for­mer Sec­re­tary of the In­te­rior Stew­art Udall; ac­tors Robert Red­ford, Liam Nee­son, and Robert Englund; and singers Wil­lie Nel­son, John Den­ver, Bon­nie Raitt, and Robert Plant. “Joan Baez sang here more than once. She was a pa­tron. She came to ap­pear at the Len­sic and she played for us,” Salazar said.

“We’ve had mu­sic seven days a week for 29 or 30 years. That’s a lot of mu­sic. Bon Jovi played here. He came for the wrap party they had here for Young Guns II. And David Byrne played.

“One of our fa­vorites here was Butch Crouch, just about the best per­former I’ve ever seen. David Byrne was here one night and he loved what Butch and the group were do­ing. He talked to them and he started singing. I didn’t know who he was and he had kind of a weird voice, but it took only 20 sec­onds to re­al­ize there was some­thing to him that was deep. They played all night.”

El Farol’s re­la­tion­ship with art dates back at least to the mid-1940s, when Al­fred Mo­rang hung his art in the bar. The restau­rant’s liv­ing artists to­day in­clude Roland Van Loon, Stan Natchez, and Ser­gio Moy­ano. Salazar has “Ga­le­ria El Farol” in an ad­ja­cent space. “We’re show­ing art that com­ple­ments the restau­rant, in­clud­ing paint­ings of fla­menco dancers.”

He said the prop­erty and the busi­ness are for sale to­gether. He didn’t seem very sad about the prospect of sell­ing. “Af­ter 31 years? No, I’m not sad,” he said.

What’s next for David Salazar? “I’m work­ing on a startup busi­ness with some peo­ple. It will start in Santa Fe but it will be na­tional.”

El Farol is listed for $2.6 mil­lion by Paul Du­ran, Keller Wil­liams Realty Santa Fe.



David Salazar on the front porch


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