About this Business
- Mexican, Southwestern, Latin American, American, Spanish
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
From Our Editors
You don't earn the title "The Salsa Twins" for nothing. Brothers Jim and John Thomas take their salsas very seriously, as they are essentially a family heirloom, made using recipes handed down by their grandmother. The twins' parents first opened El Pinto as a seven-seat restaurant in 1962. The name's translation ("the spot") has become more and more appropriate over the course of the now world-renowned eatery's history. Jim and John took over the business in the early 1990s, expanding it into a 12-acre destination restaurant that seats more than 1,200 locals and visiting celebrities, presidents, and wedding guests in five patios, three indoor dining rooms, and a cantina.
But they wouldn't have experienced such profound success—and earned their nickname—were it not for their signature salsas. When customers began requesting that they bottle the mouthwatering condiments more than 10 years ago, Jim and John started a cook-and-bottle night shift at the restaurant. The popularity of their products has grown faster than a cactus in Martha Stewart’s sandbox; you can find them at leading retailers across the country, and you may have seen Lester Holt enjoying them on Today. The twins use flame-roasted and hand-peeled green chilies from New Mexico in all their products, which they manufacture onsite. Their 8,000-square-foot production facility was featured on an episode of History's Food Tech show.
And green chilies aren't the only ingredients the twins are picky about. Somewhere in a supply warehouse between California and New Mexico, thousands of avocados are slowly ripening in three temperature-controlled zones, destined for the restaurant's famous guacamole. El Pinto—voted Best New Mexican Restaurant by Albuquerque The Magazine—mixes fresh onion, housemade salsa, and the kind of creamy hass avocados you can only find in California. You'll also taste the verdant mixture atop El Pinto’s nachos, which the Wall Street Journal has called some of the best in America. The restaurant's combination of Old-World hospitality and authentic ingredients has also earned it numerous awards from the Weekly Alibi, with some of the area's best sopapillas and margaritas.