Streetview Fun: Death Retail/Restaurant Sites in Nob Hill

I don’t make it to Nob Hill as much as I used to, about once every three months it seems. That infrequency makes each sojourn there now a brand new adventure, as there are invariably new shops/restaurants and newly closed shops/restaurants. Finding my bearings is only made possible by landmark, long-time survivors, such as The Guild Cinema and Lari Nu Hati, the combo hair salon & wine bar.

Much current conventional wisdom for the highly transitory nature of shops along Central is the perceived evil of Albuquerque Rapid Transit and its deleterious impact on EVERYTHING, shops/restaurant survival included. A trip back through Google Streetview illustrates a different reality. Shops/restaurants have been opening and quickly closing along the corridor for years and years, including well before A.R.T. construction began.

One of these long-time “death sites” has been the space between the aforementioned Guild and Lari Nu Hati (north side of the 3400 block of Central). Let’s start a Streetview Retrospective with a photo from April 2019. Notably, “Pho 505,” shown below in vivid green, has closed since April. It won’t be the only store/restaurant…

death location early 2019
April 2019: I think the place to our left of “Pho 505” is closed (see photo immediately below).


death location 2018
Only five months earlier, December 2018, “Pho 505” doesn’t exist yet and some place called “Something Star” exists.
death location 2017
January 2017. What becomes “Pho 505” is a seafood place with such a confusing sign you can’t read the name. “Something Star” is then “Pete’s Frites.” Strangely, Belgian/French fries do not catch on in ABQ.
death location 2016
April 2016. You’ll probably need a baseball scorecard or flowchart application at this point. Unreadable seafood place is “Soul and Vine.” “Pete’s Frites” is “Shade Tree Tavern,” which was a really nice beerhall that I believe closed while not paying its employees (IIRC). Fortunately, “Stranger Factory” is showing legs and has been in all four photos, so far.
death location 2015
April 2015. “Soul and Vine” is preceded by “Loving Vegan.” Shade Tree and perennial “Stranger Factory” are still with us.
death location may 2014
May 2014. “Stranger Factory” does not yet exist, while a sandwich board craze has taken over at “Loving Vegan” and “Shade Tree.”
death location 2011
August 2011. Unfortunately, Streetview skips three years here and we see dramatic change that probably missing even more openings/closings between 2011 and 2014. The beloved “Bike Coop” has not yet moved to Yale just south of Central. “Ecco Gelato” sits where “Loving Vegan,” et. al. opened and closed through the 2010s, and the closed “Optical Shop” sits where “Stranger Factory” will eventually reside.

The hullabaloo surrounding A.R.T. makes any such visual retrospective something of a statement about the bus project. What the photos above mean in this regard is, of course, “eye of the beholder” stuff.  Your humble blogster, big fan of A.R.T. as he is, sees the above and determines that running a successful shop/restaurant is hard, damn hard, anytime, anyplace, especially on the south side of the 3400 block of Central Avenue in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In fact, one almost wonders if shop/restaurant ownership isn’t really more of a boon to companies that design, build, and remodel shops/restaurants. These companies appear far more likely to have success, in the same way that funeral homes/mortuaries never seem to go out of business.

Have a great weekend, everybody. May the shop/restaurant you want to visit not be closed (or reopened as a place called “Loving Vegan”)!

One thought on “Streetview Fun: Death Retail/Restaurant Sites in Nob Hill

  1. Great research! Thank you. Nob Hill keeps us on our toes. It was “Rustic Burger” of Green Jeans that had a location next to The Guild until earlier this year. It’s still listed on their website but I know it has closed. Every time I get around to visiting that ‘new’ restaurant in Nob Hill, I’ve left it too late!


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