Genaro's Cafe

Located off the main drag in Gallup, New Mexico, Genaro's Cafe is home to the "best" salsa in the city and some of the state's best chili recipes.
Cultural Narrative: 

A tradition that boasts the original family recipes from over 43 years ago and has given to jobs to four generations of original ownership. Genaro's opened in 1975 by two close friends Eddie Padilla and Genaro Villanueva. After Genaro decided to continue his career as a salesman for Tom's Snack Distributors, Eddie bought Genaro out, and his family still runs the business. Gigi Romero married into the family ownership and runs the business today. To this day, over four generations of Padilla's and Villanueva's have worked at Genaro's Cafe. The hope for the future is for the younger generation to continue this incredible legacy.

Genaro's tabletops feature advertisements from local businesses, in order to promote the city of Gallup and help fellow family-owned businesses succeed in times of hardship. Early on, Eddie Padilla developed relationships in the Gallup community that equated to a barter system. In these relationships, Genaro's would allow families that helped them store their massive amounts of chili in freezers to eat for free. The relationships have deteriorated as larger corporations have become the main suppliers of products. However, Gigi has expressed Genaro's desire to keep the relationships in order to better local businesses as long as they possibly can. Genaro's also has provided as much money as possible and support in the form of sponsorships to local schools, local sports programs, and various other local community organizations. Genaro's is grateful for everything the community of Gallup has afforded them and has done their part to help those in times of distress. In times of death, Genaro's offers all catering services at half-price, and in the cases of those in most need, they will provide meals at no cost. Gigi said that the Genaro's family knows how fortunate they are, and they want to help those struggling or in need of support help whenever they can.

In addition to being a family-operated business, Genaro's has maintained its role as a place for family gatherings. Gigi stated that Genaro's wants to be a place for the whole family, grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren to come to enjoy a quality meal, and a peaceful environment. Genaro's is one of the few restaurants that refuse to install WiFi or televisions. When asked about this, Gigi responded that their goal was to create an environment where families interact with one another, where a meal is secondary to the memories created with loved ones. While Genaro's receives a steady stream of business, it still refrains from most forms of advertisements. Genaro's motto is to let the uniqueness and the quality speak for itself. Up until around 10 years ago, according to Gigi, Genaro's had never run an advertisement, it relied only on word of mouth to get its message across. Even today, Facebook is the only place where Genaro's has any influence on its customers. All of their reviews, countless accolades, and support have come from outside ventures such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other services. Gigi said that as long as she owns the business, and they continue to provide the best service and quality New Mexican food, this will be their philosophy.

Genaro's Cafe has not changed much in their 43-year history. The recipes remain the originals from the Padilla and Villanueva family recipe vault. The only aspects that have changed over the years are the preparation and some aspects of the red chili. New Mexican food is unique in that it strays from 'sauce' and embodies the full flavor and heat of the chilies. The state of New Mexico has an official question, which is "red, or green?" This is, of course, in reference to the choice between red and green chili.