Aztec landmark closes its doors

Hannah Grover
The Hiway Grill's signature De Soto and sign is pictured Wednesday in Aztec. The restaurant's owners announced Monday on Facebook that the business has been closed.

FARMINGTON – After decades of serving the Aztec community, the landmark restaurant the Hiway Grill closed its doors this week.

The Paschall family, which has operated the restaurant for about five years, posted an announcement on Facebook on Monday that the Hiway Grill was closed.

Robert Paschall said the family’s decision to shutter the grill came from a lack of income.

“We definitely put it off as long as we could,” he said.

The Paschalls had dipped into their personal finances to keep the grill going, he said. But when the economy didn’t improve, he said they were forced to shut the grill down.

The move came less than a year after the Paschalls applied for a license to open a brewery known as 550 Brewing. The brewery provided the Hiway Grill with beer.

A 'We are closed' sign is posted Wednesday near the entrance of the Hiway Grill in Aztec.

While the Hiway Grill has closed, brewery owner Mike Paschall said his operation will remain open.

“We’ve been looking since we started for a tap room location on Main Street,” Mike Paschall said.

While he as not found a location yet, he said he is still hopeful.

John Faverino previously operated the Hiway Grill, inheriting the business from his father. He still owns the building and the property.

His father bought the Hiway Grill, formerly known as the Hiway Lounge, in 1951, along with a partner, Jack Vescovi, who eventually sold out.

“It’s been in our family ever since,” Faverino said.

He said he is giving the Paschalls time to get everything settled before he looks at the options to get the grill running again.

“I would love for somebody to get back in there,” he said.

The grill was originally a bar, but in the 1990s, Faverino converted the Hiway Lounge into a restaurant and renamed it.

At that time, he also came up with a logo for the grill. That logo involved a car, and Faverino wanted to find a car to display at the restaurant.

He found the car — a 1957 De Soto Fireflite — while looking across his yard. He saw the De Soto parked in a neighbor’s yard. The De Soto looked like the car in his logo, so he bought it from the neighbor, and it has been displayed on the pole in front of the restaurant ever since.

The interior of the recently closed Hiway Grill in Aztec is pictured Wednesday.

Faverino said he feels bad seeing the grill shut down and feels worse for the Paschalls.

“The nature of that business is very challenging,” Faverino said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.