Grandma Jessie originally opened her store on Riverside Drive in the center of town. The original building was located just south of where Valley National Bank currently sits. Though the building has been gone for over 20 years, the entire family and community still remember that place fondly.
In 1981, Eddie and Jessie's lease expired and forced them out. From a strong will to continue the tradition, they decided to go for broke and build their own location in Guachupangue. Certainly no one would believe they could make it. Their dream alone gave them to courage to mortgage their house and take the risk. After months of construction, the restaurant opened to much success.
In 1990, it was time for Grandma Jessie to retire. Her daughter Emily, who had been Jessie's right hand for years, and Emily's son Steven who had worked at the restaurant since the age of 13, took over the reigns. The 90's saw some great and tough times for everyone. The opening of local casinos initially took customers away from their traditional roots and local cooking. But time-honored traditions of fresh recipes and good service brought them back.
Another one of Emily's sons, Phil, entered the family legacy after graduating from UNM in 1996. As customer demand began exceeding the building's capabilities, Phil decided to expand La Cocina's operation by opening a second location once the owner of an old feed store approached him. He wanted to change the building and lease out the space to a willing restauranteur. This move would again, bring La Cocina to the center of town. After ten months of construction, Phil opened up his new restaurant under the name Los Arcos in 2001.
Back at La Cocina business was expanding beyond the walls of its older location. So, with the help of a local builder, La Cocina moved its operations into a new building in 2002. With its increased seating capacity of almost 200 people, an outdoor patio, and plenty of parking, La Cocina kept on serving its growing community.
What's important to know about La Cocina is that it is singularly a "Northern New Mexican" restaurant. That means it differs slightly from its cousins "Mexican" food or even "Tex-Mex". Northern New Mexican cuisine uses a combination of Mexican and Native American ingredients and spices. We locals from up North take pride in our rich traditions and family recipes that have been handed down for generations. Many find our recipes "different" from what is known at typical "Mexican" food. But that's ok. We love our food and traditions, and know you will too.
Emily and Phil would like to thank you for visiting La Cocina and invite you to join us. This is our home and our kitchen. Without you, there's no reason to keep on cookin'. Welcome