The owner of the dressing will open six new concepts

Albuquerque restaurateur Erin Wade at Feel Good. Wade is preparing to open three new restaurants, a curator’s kitchen, a food stand and a private club in Albuquerque within the next two years. (Greg Sorber/Diary)

Erin Wade’s first step into the restaurant industry started with a rejection.

She applied to work at Subway, but was too young to work as a meat slicer.

Many years later, however, the fashion school graduate now owns a slew of restaurants in New Mexico and Texas — with more to come soon. Wade plans to open three new restaurants, a curated kitchen, a food stand at Country Club Plaza and a private club in Albuquerque, all within the next two years.

Wade opened a farm-to-table salad restaurant in Santa Fe in 2008 after opening a ranch in Nambé. By 2012 the brand had expanded to Albuquerque and in 2016 Wade established a new location in Austin.

The Albuquerque Vinaigrette location at 1828 Central SW. Next year Vinaigrette will move across the street and the space will be filled with Schweinhund, a German brewery. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

She also opened two Modern General Feed and Seed general store locations, one in Santa Fe and one in Albuquerque, as well as comfort food restaurant The Feel Good.

The three new restaurants are planned for the area between Old Town and Downtown, which a few years ago rebranded itself as “West Downtown.”

Vinaigrette will move across the street to join two new “microconcepts”: a pizzeria, inspired by the 1988 film “Mystic Pizza” starring Julia Roberts, and a Polish-style deli called Krolicki’s – partly inspired by the Polish American heritage from Wade’s fiancé. The three restaurants will share a curated kitchen, a choice that Wade says adapts to changing eating habits.

“Cities need strong centers to be vibrant and vibrant,” Wade said. “I think it’s more effective to try to activate the whole neighborhood with a multitude of close, but complementary rather than competing concepts, than to disperse them all over the city.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had lingering effects on restaurateurs, Wade said. Takeout has increased and customers want to sit outside, “even when it’s, in my opinion, too cold,” Wade said. Vinaigrette’s move will add more patio space while consolidating restaurant operations in the communal kitchen.

German brewery Schweinhund will take over the former Vinaigrette space.

When it comes to food, “my only rule is no rules,” Wade said. Although each of the restaurants tackles a different cuisine, Wade said they all feature unique ingredient pairings, as well as farm-fresh ingredients — a way of looking at food she learned about when she was studying at Milan at a local pizzeria. His favorite pizza included prosciutto, corn, and four cheeses. At Vinaigrette, a staff favorite meal is pizza made on the restaurant’s homemade foccacia.

“I’m coming full circle,” Wade said.

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