No, Palacio Café has not gone away.

Owners Damian and Maria Muñoz close every year during the first two weeks of January. But questions arose when the popular downtown restaurant shuttered for three weeks in November with no announcement.

During the coronavirus pandemic, that’s generally not good news.

“We closed because we were scared of the virus,” Damian Muñoz said. “We closed because it was a very slow time.”

Palacio has since reopened and is expanding its space and hours of operation. The Muñoz family recently bought neighboring retail space on Palace Avenue that formerly housed Tribal Reflections and Cutting Edge Men’s Hairstyling. Michael Muñoz said his parents had an eye on expanding into those spaces since they acquired Palacio Café in 2012.

“We don’t have enough seating,” Michael Muñoz said. “Everything is so cramped.”

Michael Muñoz said the expansion will allow Palacio to double its capacity and add an outdoor patio across two parking spaces behind the restaurant. The patio could be open in about a month, the owners said.

Palacio Café, which has been a breakfast and lunch establishment, will add dinner service and be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., once Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham allows indoor dining.

“Mostly it will be the same menu,” Michael Muñoz said. “Dad has been talking about steak fajitas.”

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