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High Noon: Steaks and Margaritas in Old Town

By Elisha Neubauer

Smack in the center of Albuquerque, New Mexico is a gorgeous little historic district called Old Town. This historic district dates back to the founding of New Mexico by the Spaniards in 1706 and has become a popular tourist destination for those looking to experience a taste of the old times. It is here that you'll find High Noon: a charming restaurant and saloon capturing the feel of the original New Mexican lifestyle.

High Noon first opened its doors in July of 1974. Founded by Charley and Shirley Villa, the restaurant has remained in the Villa family since its beginning days, giving it a true family-owned-and-operated feel. Located in one of the original buildings of Old Town, High Noon has an authentic charm, with the foyer and lounge portions of High Noon dating all the way back to 1785.

Over the years, High Noon has passed on from the founding husband and wife team to their daughter, Carla Villa. Villa has worked very hard at keeping the high standards upheld by her father. "My parents opened the restaurant when I was 11, so High Noon and I grew up together," Villa explains to us. "Although I worked in other parts of my family business, went away to college and even was a travelling manager for a large corporation when I was in my 20s, the family business always had my heart."

Spending her formative years alongside her parents inside the walls of High Noon has led Villa to look at High Noon as a way of life, not just a business. "Restaurants are challenging, with long hours and hard work," Villa states, "but for me, the excitement, the adrenaline and the chance to connect with people around a table and at very special moments in their lives is exhilarating. I can't imagine spending my days (and nights) any other way."

One thing Villa learned while shadowing her father over the years- how to make a great steak. "When we opened our doors, my dad had one thing in mind: to serve great steaks and drinks to his friends and family," she says. "For 41 years we have stayed true to his vision. We have added some things along the way: wild game, homemade New Mexican food and a great selection of tequila, however one thing hasn't changed- the steaks are still fantastic!" When asked what went into making such an excellent steak, Villa explains that it all begins with the standard of the meat. "That is our first priority at High Noon," she says. "A great cure or well-seasoned rub can add depth of flavor and interest. And of course, you need a skilled hand on the grill. My grill guys are masters at their craft."

While High Noon likes to focus on their steaks, there are plenty of options available for every guest. Chilies, stews, fresh and interesting salads, wild game, and more add plenty of depth to the menu. Villa says, "I enjoy our entire menu, and am lucky enough to choose from it every day."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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