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After 35 and a half years of serving up trademark burgers, free chips and salsa, a variety Mexican fare and live entertainment, De Colores is closing its doors. The restaurant, located at 2470 East Road, just past the airport, will be no more after Aug. 28
According to general manager Sue Dummer, the restaurant’s owner, Joan Duran, is ready to retire.
“It’s time,” she said. “The owner wants to retire and so it’s time.”
Dummer has been with the Duran from the beginning, back when they started the business in White Rock. Then it was a Tastee Freeze before they changed the name to “Mel’s Diner” after a TV show restaurant that was popular at the time. They then moved to the center of town on Trinity, where they came up with the name to fit in with the many colored buildings on their block. But, as landlords began to rent more and more to the Los Alamos National Laboratory and its contractors in 2003, De Colores eventually moved out by the airport, where it’s been located ever since.
According to its website, the restaurant was the longest running one in the area, having started in 1978. Dummer credits a loyal following for the restaurant’s longevity.
“Our main business has been serving townsfolk,” she said. “We’ve had customers who have been with us the whole time.”
Times have been changing however. She said many of their customers have moved away or passed on, and even though the restaurant boasts some of the best views in town, another reason the eatery’s owners are packing it in is because everyone tends to be staying in town, not wanting to venture so much past DP Road anymore.
To Dummer, it’s been a “great ride,” she said, having met many different and interesting people who have walked through their doors over the years. “The weddings we did, and now that they’re older now, we would see their kids and then their kids stop in and see us… we’ve had many memories here,” she said, adding that many who had moved away but eventually came back wouldn’t feel like they were officially back to stay until they came in to have a meal and get reacquainted.
De Colores has been one of the few spots in town you could catch some live entertainment, which usually happens on a Thursday or Friday. This week and next, Dummer said the next sessions will be extra special, so she urged patrons, old and new alike, to come on down and get one more De Colores experience.
Feedback was generally good on the restaurant on TripAdvisor.com, which features 23 reviews of De Colores on its site.
“Not our favorite place but not bad - closed from 2-5 as are most restaurants in Los Alamos so don’t miss the lunch hour. Great quesadilla but how can you mess that up? Chicken tortilla soup was very tasty but taco platter was just very average. Place has been there a long time but could use some updating. Service was about average,” Cliff J. said of his experience.