For twenty-five years, this bustling hub known as The Cowgirl BBQ has served up dependably delicious food, drink and live entertainment and established itself as one of Santa Fe’s fun and much-loved characters. On June 2nd, 2018, from noon till close, The Cowgirl will be serving up food, fun, music, and more for their “25th Anniversary Block Party Celebration!”
The restaurant first started out as The Cowgirl Hall of Fame Santa Fe. Back in the late 1980s, two ladies, Texan Sherry Delamarter and Colorado native Pam McCleary, with the help of a few important investors, opened a restaurant called The Cowgirl Hall of Fame, in the West Village of New York City. The name paid homage to the original Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Hereford, Texas, and the food and decor honored the cultural heritage of the American Cowgirl lifestyle. One of its principal founding members was Barry Secular, a native New Yorker and semi-pro baseball player. In the early 1990s, Barry started a family and moved to Santa Fe. Ready to open a restaurant but being new to the area, he wasn’t sure what type of cuisine the locals would want. He placed an ad in the local Santa Fe Reporter and asked the question. The resounding response was “BARBECUE!” And so it was that on June 1, 1993, The Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Santa Fe opened its doors to a town hungry for barbecue at 319 South Guadalupe Street.
Although the initial idea was based on the New York restaurant’s theme, there were necessary distinctions, which, over time, worked to make the two Cowgirls more distant relatives than sisters. Managing owner Nicholas Ballas describes the New York restaurant as being more of a novelty to the area, and its decor tends to exaggerate the cowgirl theme. “An obvious difference between New York and Santa Fe is you don’t have to go far in Santa Fe to find real ranchers and cowgirls,” he says. “For that reason, one of my jobs was to ‘keep it real’ in honor of our unique, indigenous culture.”
Keeping it real includes consistently serving up scrumptious, honest and affordable food, craft-brewed beers, and creative margaritas that make the Cowgirl a must if you’re taking the City’s well-known Margarita Trail. You have to try Diego’s Obsession and Frida’s Revenge Margaritas, to name just two.
This year, to commemorate their 25th Anniversary, they have created a unique selection of tequilas and margaritas. Barry is paying tribute to his love of baseball with their Tequila Tasting Flight in the shape of a baseball diamond!
Adding to the cultural atmosphere are the glittering walls, hung with photographic tributes to great cowgirls and rodeo queens throughout America’s history.
For many years, the name has been simply The Cowgirl BBQ, and the restaurant has definitely succeeded in being nourishing, fun and welcoming to everyone for twenty-five years. Cowgirls and boys, workers of all collar colors, musicians, travelers and locals of every age converge here.
With a full kids’ menu, The Cowgirl caters to the littl’uns too. Parents are happy to eat and chat while their youngsters go safely wild in the outdoor play area.
And the big kids can play pool and pinball and more in the game room.
The Cowgirl always “smokes it right” thanks to Chef Patrick Lambert, who keeps pace with an extensive menu covering multiple borders from Texas BBQ, Mexico, and of course New Mexico. New items regularly appear on the menu in honor of regional and international cultural celebrations from Cajun and Creole for Mardi Gras to specialty bratwursts for Oktoberfest. And don’t forget the All-American winter comfort foods like braised lamb shank and meatloaf to get us through the colder months. The meats are organic and hormone-free, and there are plenty of yummy fresh salads and meatless dishes to choose from for those of the veggie ilk.
In 2013, to celebrate their 20th anniversary, Chef created their monumental green chile cheeseburger called “The Mother of all Green Chile Cheeseburgers!” or “The Mother Burger” for short. It remains one of their customers’ top picks today. Chef’s proprietary blend of 100% hormone-free, organic beef, buffalo and bacon topped with green chile, brie cheese, and tomato is cocooned within a pretzel bun. Yes, it is the mother of all burgers and yes, it is delicious!
The Cowgirl is well known for dishing out decadent desserts, including their famous Ice Cream Baked Potato – a monolith of vanilla ice cream dusted with chocolate and topped with whipped cream and pistachios, all dressed up to resemble an Idaho baked potato!
If you’re having a party or event they’ll bring The Cowgirl to you, or dedicate one of their ample-sized dining rooms to your group. Voted Best Full Service Caterer for decades by locals voting in The Santa Fe Reporter, The Cowgirl team runs a tight ship taking care of your event, both on site and on location.
Staying true to its desire to always keep the customer satisfied, The Cowgirl is one of the few places in Santa Fe that brings live musical entertainment to its customers daily. The afternoon and evening atmosphere is always vibrant.
This year, for its twenty-fifth anniversary on June 2nd, 2018, The Cowgirl is preparing to ring in the next decade in style by planning an all-day-long block party celebration. Festivities will include live music from great local bands, food and drink specials! The live music starts at 12:30 pm, with the Santa Fe Chiles Dixieland Jazz Band, and continues through the day and into the night with other local favorite bands, including Half Broke Horses, Jim Almand, and more.
This promises to be a terrific celebration and tribute to a well-loved restaurant and true local character.
The Block Party on June 2nd is a great way to kick off summer, and let’s all say “Thank YOU!” to Barry, Patrick, Nicolas, and all the patrons who have made The Cowgirl BBQ the great joint that it is!
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