Business is returning to large portions of the Market Station building at the Railyard that have been vacant since Flying Star Cafe closed in 2015.
Bernalillo-based Bosque Brewing will have a soft opening Monday for friends and family at Market Station, the first of some half-dozen new tenants that will move into the 64,000-square-foot structure. The public opening is set for Friday, said Jess Griego, co-owner and chief experience officer at Bosque Brewing.
Luna Capital Advisors and Opuntia Cafe plan to open upstairs in early October. And tenant improvement work soon will start for Wayward Sons Distillery, La Lecheria restaurant, the biotech firm Specifica Inc. and Build by Design, said Tiphini Axtel, communications director at Luna Capital, the developer.
“It has been a labor of love to get this building back up to code and ready for our first tenants to open their doors,” she said. “As first-time developers, it’s been an incredible learning experience.”
The COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the opening for 500 Market Street LLC, where Luna Capital CEO Kris Axtell is the managing director. Axtell and partners acquired the troubled property in July 2019 for an undisclosed price.
Kris Axtell was instrumental on the financing side for Bosque Brewing’s move to its flagship Bernalillo brewery in 2017 and expansion to a second outlet in Las Cruces, Griego said.
Bosque had considered the upstairs space at Market Station a few years ago, but it didn’t work out. Now Bosque is opening on street level in 4,117 square feet.
“Kris really wanted us in there,” Griego said. “We weren’t going to do anything in Santa Fe that wasn’t perfect. Kris made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
Bosque Brewing produces 15,000 barrels of beer a year and is the fifth-largest brewer in New Mexico, Griego said.
Expanding to Santa Fe was encouraged by Bosque master brewer John Bullard, who worked at Blue Corn Brewery in Santa Fe before joining Bosque in 2014.
Bosque Brewing will have a “small” space in Santa Fe with capacity for 150 customers during normal times or 37 under the current 25 percent maximum occupancy limits.
Griego said she believes Bosque Brewing is among the earliest adapters in the nation of a reservation system among brew pubs. Bosque added reservations to its locations when it reopened for outdoor service in June.
“We highly recommend people make reservations on our website,” Griego said.
Bosque also instituted a 1½-hour time limit for guests with a two-beer limit.
“We’ll always keep the reservations,” she said.
Food will not be available early on but is planned, she added.
Opuntia Cafe, which will be above Bosque Brewing, also changed its layout from 120 seats to 60, splitting its 4,616-square-foot space between retail and dining. That was the concept owners Todd Spitzer and Jeanna Gienke said they wanted but never achieved at their much smaller original space on Shoofly Street in the Baca District.
They launched Opuntia on Shoofly in November 2017 and moved to temporary quarters in July 2019 at the El Rey Court motor lodge until October 2019 in anticipation of the move to the Railyard.
Opuntia fans will see familiar and new offerings at the Railyard, and the menu will be expanded.
“At Shoofly, all our dishes were made with a toaster, rice cooker and induction burner,” Spitzer said.
The signature avocado toast and Japanese bowl will return, he said.
The Opuntia space has a large skylight and several smaller skylights to illuminate foliage and a fish pond in the dining room. Gienke noted the second-story room with windows on three sides also “has a view.”
“We’ve always been tucked away,” she noted about their prior locations.
Luna Capital is moving its own office from near the La Montañita Co-op to next to Opuntia Cafe.
“We believe so strongly in the possibilities at the Santa Fe Railyard that our own company, Luna Capital Management, will be opening the doors to our new offices at 500 Market in October,” Tiphini Axtell said.