American Legion diner under new management

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By Gina Velasquez

There is a new sign outside the building of the American Legion Post 90 at 1325 Trinity Drive. The Fabulous ’50s Diner has become Cat’s Post 90 Café.
Owner and General Manager Charlie Bracken took over the business a few months ago after The Fabulous ’50s Diner’s then-owner Peter Olivas passed away in November.
The eatery re-opened under its new name Jan. 2.
The 1950s theme was more the Olivas’ style, Bracken said. “I wanted to change the décor to create something that represents me,” he said.
The philosophy is still the same as before, “Good affordable food year round.”
“If you want to bring family, have a good meal and not spend so much money, this is the right place,” Bracken said.
The menu is basically the same, although slightly revised.
The salad bar remains and there is still Blue Bell Ice Cream available. The food is cooked to order.
The restaurant still participates in functions hosted by the American Legion Post 90, such as benefit dinners and fundraisers.
The diner has been able to keep the same regulars that frequented the old haunt. Bracken removed some of the tables to utilize the space and also made the entrance wheelchair accessible. “A lot of the customers are older, so it is good to have them access the building easier than before,” he said.
The décor has seen the most dramatic change.
The ’50s no longer exist. Rather, there is art for sale by local artist Danne De Backer. De Backer is a Jemez Springs resident who has know Bracken for many years.
De Backer also designed the logo, which spells an acronym Bracken and his wife’s name — “Charlie And Tracy’s.”
Bracken has more ideas for the marquee sign on Trinity Drive.
He wants to put up a “Call for Artists” sign so that members of the community can submit their art for viewing and for sale, as De Backer has.
“It’s like a free gallery and all the art is for sale,” De Backer said. The sign will also serve as a way to connect with the community by posting events.
Bracken remains a full-time student at Northern New Mexico College in Española, studying substance abuse counseling and psychology.
New hours have been implemented and he employs a staff of five people, fewer than before, but it works well with the business and Bracken’s full time student status.
Cat’s Café is open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for lunch and 5-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Starting Feb. 9, the restaurant will be open on Sundays.
The official grand reopening was Jan. 31.