The voicemail message at a longtime Spanish tapas haunt proclaimed the news: “As of Nov. 17, El Mesón is permanently closed.”

El Mesón owners David and Kelly Huertas did not respond to requests for comment on the closure, but a post appeared Thursday morning on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“After 25 years, El Mesón, la Cocina de España, will be closing its doors indefinitely,” the post said.

“We would like to thank all of our Patrons over the years for their unyielding support, the hundred (or so) past and present Employees for their hard work and dedication and, of course, to the talented Musicians that have graced the El Mesón stage,” the post continued.

“Though bittersweet, we look towards a bright future and hold dear all the wonderful memories that El Mesón has created for each of us.”

The downtown restaurant, on Washington Avenue near the intersection with Marcy Street, closed for “fall break” at the beginning of November, reopened Nov. 9 and then permanently shut down eight days later.

It is one of at least 53 Santa Fe businesses and at least 17 restaurants to close since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

Chef David Huertas, who opened El Mesón in 1997, specialized in an extensive selection of hot and cold tapas, paella and entrees.

In an interview with The New Mexican after the restaurant’s opening, Huertas said he was born and raised in Spain by a Spanish father and American mother from Santa Fe.

“I used to come to Santa Fe as a child,” he said. “I’ve been coming to Santa Fe for years.”

Before opening El Mesón, he said he worked as a “mercenary chef” at Santacafé and ran La Traviata, helped open Double A restaurant and worked at Bishop’s Lodge.

The El Mesón website says it initially appeared his career would be based in South America as he had been contracted by a Venezuelan company to open a series of restaurants in South American capital cities.

Before he got started, however, Huertas joined his family in Santa Fe because his grandfather had died.

Soon after, the Venezuelan economy collapsed, and Huertas chose to remain in Santa Fe.

(14) comments

Marc Galante

"El Mesón" Chef - Owner, David Huertas, and I shared three things: our love of Spain, our love of Spanish food, and our love of Real Madrid "fútbol". In 1989 my company celebrated its 5th anniversary in business in Santa Fe, and I asked David to participate along with a Basque chef we had brought from San Sebastian in preparing food for our 200+ guests. As always, David was incredibly professional and a pleasure to work with. To anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in Spain, the "tapas" at El Mesón were the best in town for their flavor and authenticity. My wife, Elayne, and I will sorely miss it, and we wish David and Kelly all the best in the future. Marc Galante, owner of "Mediterránia".

David Morris

The statewide shutdown cost me my livelihood but MLG is still drawing her big fat paycheck.

Jim Klukkert

David Morris-It seems obvious that if you can mobilize the majority of voters to support you for elected office, you too can be guaranteed a paycheck for a limited time.

So what was your point, except to vent your anger?

Hardly a point worthy of publication.

Stefanie Beninato

I appreciate the stat on business that closed (53) during the pandemic. It is not as much as I had thought although devastating for the owner and employees.

David Martinez

Why does mike Johnson post negative nonsense….. it would be just as easy for me to say this restaurant is closing because of Mike Johnson…yes you are the main this! You caused this!!! So don’t try and deny it!

Nicole Panter Dailey

I'm very sorry to hear this. El Meson was a great place with a wonderful atmosphere. It was always good for a wonderful time and a fantastic meal.

Diane Gonzales

Going to miss this restaurant. Eating tapas and listening to jazz in their tapas bar was such a treat.

Mike Johnson

Another restaurant casualty of MLG, Gabriel's is also closed now.

Mark Rochester

Gabriels is temporarily closed until the 23rd for updates and repairs only.

David Gunter

Another troll commentary based on a true Johnson.

Lynn Hansz

I see everyone must agree on these comment threads or they will be attacked.

Mike Johnson

Yes, conformity and obedience to the political group think line and talking points are the life blood of left wing thought and activism. Opposing views are never welcomed and will be attacked whenever the mob sees them. And BTW, I never said Gabriel's was closed permanently, but it is closed now.

Jim Klukkert

Actually, Lynn Hansz, folks who post things that are not true, as Mike did regarding Gabriels, will find those posts criticized.

It part of that very messy thing, Democracy.

Does that disturb you? Perhaps you should stick with Tucker.

Jim Klukkert

Mike, in an article addressing the permanent closing of a restaurant, surely you understand that your comment " Gabriel's is also closed now" will be widely read as meaning the Gabriel's is also permanently closed now.

Even your use of the word 'only,' indicates that Gabriel's is meeting the same fate as Le Meson.

So I find your later comment, " BTW, I never said Gabriel's was closed permanently, but it is closed now," to be completely disingenuous.

If you will still your partisan rage, we might once again expect excellent commentary from you. Until then, the bar has been lowered.

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