By John Larson
The dictionary defines bistro as “a small, modest, European-style restaurant or café.” That was the inspiration for the Old Town Bistro, the restaurant J.P. and Terry Moore decided to open in the historic Baca House, previously occupied by the Stage Door Grill.
“We wanted it to have an old world ambience, with a variety of continental food, as well as New Mexico favorites,” J.P. Moore said. “We also serve espresso drinks for late night coffee drinkers.”
The Moores reside just down the street where they operate the Socorro Old Town Bed and Breakfast at the corner of Bernard and Baca Streets.
“I live just down the block and walk past here everyday,” Moore said. “When the Stage Door Grill closed, I would find myself hoping that a new restaurant would open with good food.
“We decided to do it ourselves to make sure it had good food.”
The restaurant opened without fanfare for lunch Tuesday, Nov. 7.
As for the quality of the food, Moore said he was able to acquire the services of former Albuquerque chef Jim Greer. “We first met when I took a science class at UNM in the early seventies,” Moore said. “Jim was the professor, but he’s also one of the best chefs in the state.”
Greer told the Mountain Mail he has been cooking professionally “on and off” for about 50 years.
“One of my first jobs cooking was when I was hired as a chef at a country club while I was in college,” Greer said. Later, Greer became the head Chef at Casa Vieja in Corrales, “at one time, the finest restaurant in the Albuquerque area serving continental cuisine.”
And after that, he worked at Gallery International Cuisine on San Pedro in Albuquerque.
The restaurant’s cuisine is varied, ranging from New Mexico Parmigianino to Thai Delight.
“We will also be featuring specialty dishes from Fettuccini Cellini to Mandarin Press Duck,” Greer said. “The Fettuccini Cellini and other presentation meals will be personally served by me at the table.”
Old Town Bistro manager Erin Moore said there are plans for returning live music to the main dining room. “As everyone in Socorro knows,” she said, “this location has a reputation for great live music, and we have already installed a sound system.”
Ronna Kalish, of the band Roon, said the local musicians she’s talked to were looking forward to the venue coming back. “I know the music community would be thrilled to be a part of it,” she said. “We all want this to succeed.”
Picture: Chef Jim Greer prepares an espresso at the Old Town Bistro. Manager Erin Moore said after the dinner hours the restaurant would be like a “late night coffee house” in the evening. The Old Town Bistro is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Photo by John Larson