Santa Fe Bite (the former Bobcat Bite) has always been the same — but never afraid to do things a little differently — with each of its moves, from Old Las Vegas Highway to the downtown Garrett’s Desert Inn and now to midtown.
Owners John and Bonnie Eckre are set to open the third iteration of the Bite on Oct. 15 at 1616 St. Michael’s Drive in the Village West Shopping Center. Tecolote closed in the same space at the end of May, and Santa Fe Bite is using the same bar and booths that were reupholstered.
The Bite’s signature green chile cheeseburger will be back any time of day, but the Eckres and fellow managing partners Angela Mason and Armando Rivas are venturing into new terrain for breakfast.
In addition to breakfast, the Eckres said they will offer lunch and dinner every day (except Monday, when the restaurant is closed). A coffee upgrade is expected as well, with an in-house brand called Santa Fe Bite Roasters.
A new addition to the Bite’s menu is the renowned Liège waffle.
“A good Liège waffle is ridiculously delicious in a way that transcends toppings or adornments,” Belgium resident James Ubaghs wrote for the online TASTE magazine. “They are simply unneeded. … In Belgium, Liège waffles greatly eclipse the Brussels waffle in popularity.”
The Liège (pronounced lee-ej) waffle is almost as new to the Santa Fe Bite team as it will be to most diners. The Bite staff only learned about the waffle a couple months ago and did some research. Bonnie Eckre then put in orders for T45 and T55 flour from France, and pearl sugar from Belgium, key ingredients.
“It’s like a cinnamon roll smashed in a waffle iron,” Mason said. “It’s a rich, chewy and caramelized sugar goodness. It’s brioche-like, but it’s really not.”
Liège waffles are still in the ascendancy in the U.S. Ten years ago, there were only a few shops in a few cities. Now, many bigger cities have Liège waffle restaurants or food trucks, and often trucks that morphed into brick-and-mortar eateries.
Nearly all U.S. Liège waffle establishments have opened since about 2011.
“As far as I know, A Bite of Belgium in Las Cruces is the only place in New Mexico doing the Liège waffle,” New Mexico Restaurant Association CEO Carol Wight said.
The new Santa Fe Bite will have Mason and Rivas running the show more than the Eckres, who as owners will work more in a support role. The Eckres bought Bobcat Bite on Old Las Vegas Highway in 2001 and renamed it Santa Fe Bite when they moved to Garrett’s Desert Inn in 2013.
“I think I’m putting the third generation in high chairs,” Bonnie Eckre said.
With Rivas now in charge of the kitchen, he will embellish the established menu of burgers, salads and Mexican dishes. A new rib special is planned for Saturday nights, Mason said.
The employee count is increasing from 38 downtown to 60 on St. Michael’s because of expanding breakfast to six days.
Mason said the spirit of Santa Fe Bite will remain as it has been from location to location. She points to a sign on the wall: “Family, a little bit of crazy, a little bit of loud and a whole lot of love.”