Rubia’s unveils modified outdoor patio as it fights for long-term survival

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Still waiting for state dining restrictions to ease up more, Rubia's, seen here on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, in Aztec, added propane heaters and wood-burning fireplaces to its outdoor dining area so that customers can withstand what's left of the winter season.

AZTEC — Rubia's Fine Mexican Dining is trying to make the best of things in its fight for long-term survival amid state dining restrictions, unveiling a modified look for its outdoor patio.

The Aztec restaurant added propane heaters and wood-burning fireplaces to help customers withstand what’s left of the winter season, all while anxiously waiting for dining restrictions to ease up more.

"We've got a great clientele, a great following. As long as we're open, they're going to support us," Rubia's co-owner Randy Hodge said.

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Hodge said his restaurant originally planned to open the altered patio on Wednesday, but continuous customer support enabled him to get it rolling a day early on Tuesday.

Rubia's had to temporarily close on Dec. 23 because of the economic toll brought on by the dining restrictions, paired with the cold temperatures hindering outdoor dining services. However, carryout and outdoor dining services started picking back up.

Rubia's had to temporarily close on Dec. 23, 2020, due to the impact of dining restrictions, but later reopened for carryout and outdoor service.

San Juan County's latest 14-day test positivity rate dropped to 5.01%, a measly 0.01 percentage points away from being able to enter the "yellow" restriction level. Fifteen New Mexico Counties are in the "yellow" level, while four others are in the "green" level.

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For the time being, Hodge said all Rubia's can do is make do with what's allowed and wait for San Juan County to reach the "green" level so it can restore adequate indoor dining services.

"Under the present circumstances, it's hard to manage because you've only got a limited number of seats, and a large crowd that wants to come visit with you and dine with you," Hodge said. "We had people that waited over an hour (on Tuesday) just for a table."

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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