Duran Central Pharmacy — a prescription for chile cuisine

Counter at Duran Central Pharmacy
Counter at Duran Central Pharmacy

The drugstore lunch counter is a dying breed all over the country, but it’s alive and well in Albuquerque, N.M. Duran Central Pharmacy (1815 Central NW, Albuquerque, N.M., 505-247-4141) has been around for 45 years and in the same location since 1975. It’s close to the tourist-haunted Old Town, yet locals make up most of the clientele. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s definitely special and highly local. Because it’s full of chile peppers, it’s good for you. The red chile sauce avoids beans and it also eschews such adulterants as cumin. The green chile is also a straight-ahead stew of chopped green chile peppers with just a little sautéed onion and garlic.

Rolling tortillas.
Rolling tortillas.

Those sauces alone would keep me coming back. But I’m even more impressed with the freshly rolled and griddled flour tortillas. On Thursdays, the drugstore even serves carne adovada. That chile-laced New Mexican dish crosses spicy pork barbecue with roast pork. Arrive early to get a seat.

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