If you haven’t been able to make your way over to the Sawmill Market yet, we’re giving you a reason to. One of the hottest places to grab food and drinks during and after the lockdowns, Sawmill Market is a food hall that has generated buzz since the idea came out to the public—and rightfully so. As people were forced to stay indoors, the concept seemed more and more tempting: a food hall with beautiful patios and vendors serving a variety of goods. It seemed like Heritage Hospitality knew exactly how Sawmill was going to be received.

It took me a while to make my way to Old Town and see what all the rave was about. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of mass gathering areas—even before the pandemic hit. The crowds are always too overwhelming, and the service takes too long. But Sawmill is a completely different experience.

Upon arriving, I was impressed with the overall aesthetic of the building. Cool black and wood-themed, with all the vendors generating their own designs were neat to see. However, the sea of patrons developed lines that were too overwhelming to me. Seeking a spot to grab a quick drink, I caught interest in a vibrant-looking taco and tequila bar called Flora Mexican Restaurant. 

A handful of taco-lovers lined up to grab a bite, but around the left-hand corner was a sleek bar offering a list of tequila drink options. There I met Flora’s bartender, Jonathan Montoya, who made me possibly the best margarita I’ve ever had. Bold with the taste of silver tequila, sharp with fresh lime topped with hibiscus, it’s a cocktail sent from the tequila heavens.

Now, with Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, Flora is my number one recommendation to enjoy your Mexican-themed holiday. Not only do they serve margaritas, but they have some of the most appetizing street tacos in town. And of course, Sawmill General Manager Mark Montoya and the team are whipping something up for all of us.

“We’re are going to be running a ton of specials for Cinco this year. Over at Paxton’s we got organic margaritas on draft, of course, a beer and taco special at Flora’s Taco Take-Out, and at Red & Green they are going to have a nacho special. Those three outlets will be the spots to check out for the holiday,” Mark Montoya details. “I’m excited that we’re going to green. It’s going to be a great busy day.”

I know I’m going to be there Wednesday as I celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a cold refreshing paloma cocktail at Flora. However, if you’re still going to keep it safe and celebrate Cinco at home, Jonathan Montoya has the perfect ingredients for a homemade margarita.

“I make a lot of margaritas at work; but if I’m making one at home, it all starts with the type of tequila you use,” the bartender laughs. “You want to get some high-quality tequila. Next is fresh lime juice, maybe some Cointreau and a little touch of agave nectar. That’s all you need.”

Flora Mexican Restaurant

1909 Bellamah Ave. NW

Neighborhood: Old Town

Category: Mexican

Phone: (505) 563-4473

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Cade Guererro

Cade is young journalist who has worked at publication in Austin, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. He focuses on the cultural topics of Albuquerque.

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