La Risa Cafe - A Tasty Gem in Ribera, NM

Just 40 miles North  of Santa Fe, Ribera, New Mexico is a blip on the map and not on the top of most-folks must-visit list. BUT, if you're up for a scenic drive north along I-25 from Santa Fe and the best BLUE CORN CHEESE ENCHILADAS you'll ever experience, then this tiny village and its amazing LA RISA CAFE is indeed a

To say that I swooned over this enchilada is putting it mildly - as my traveling companion can attest to. It was bursting with the most luscious flavors - blue corn tortillas stuffed with generous and delicious amounts of guacamole - studded with tender chunks of chicken - and all smothered in bubbly cheese and a sublime red Chile sauce. Yes, it was that good!

But this gem of a cafe - owned and operated by Jake and Laura Boyd-Martinez - is not limited to just enchiladas, the menu boasts a bevy of Northern  New Mexico delights. Jake and Laura - who previously cooked for PASQUALS and GUADALUPE CAFE - bought the 100-year old building in 2005 and modernized the kitchen - the previous owner only cooked with microwaves - and created a menu that offers robust, authentic New Mexican cuisine. 

The previous owner called their restaurant THE SAD CAFE, but in a delightful twist, Jake and Laura re-named it LA RISA, meaning laughter. And when you walk into this delightful space you feel happy and welcomed...



L A   R I S A   C A F E

March - November
Thursday - Sunday
11-8pm (Sun. 10 - 4)

I-25 N. exit 323 - turn rt.1.5 miles
2nd bldg on rt. past the RR tracks


Originally built in 1804

After or before you visit La Risa Cafe, stop by this lovely catholic church that was built in 1804 and recently refurbished. Luckily Father Stone was inside the church and invited us in to take some photographs and to tell us some  church history and secrets. 

Early on the fort-like church was a refuge for villagers during Indian raids. There was even an underground tunnel leading to the Pecos River where those hiding in the church could get water. And when the church was being restored, graves were discovered under the church floor. They were carefully re-buried in a proper graveyard.

The  Santa Fe Trail - a 19th-century transportation route through central North America that connected Missouri with Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico - passed through Ribera. Early on it was the international trade route between the U.S and Mexico.  The  border between the two countries - where tariffs were paid - was just in front of the church. You can still see the remains of the guard house and jail across the street.

And beside the church is the old parish hall, it's facade painted with charming murals. The newer hall is just across the street.


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