Familiar location: Restaurant replaces shuttered Zebra's Sport Bar & Grill at airport
FARMINGTON — A new restaurant and bar that sports a pair of flip-flops in its laid-back logo opened last week at the Four Corners Regional Airport.
Called No Worries, the sports bar and grill opened July 20, nearly four months after the closure of Zebra's Sports Bar & Grill in April.
Owners Steve Kellenaers and Leo Noyes Jr. are longtime friends who wanted to open a family friendly restaurant that gives locals a place to go for meals and drinks with the feel of being on vacation.
Kellenaers said that No Worries is inspired by his favorite exotic vacation destination, Cabo San Lucas, the iconic beach resort in the Baja California peninsula.
"I tried to retire for two years and that didn't work out. It was driving me crazy. Not enough to do," Kellenaers said. "Cabo (San Lucas) is my favorite place in the world. So we brought some of that here. At No Worries, we encourage flip-flops."
Both owners said customer service, good food with a lot of variety and a laid-back atmosphere are valued at No Worries.
The eatery and bar seats 188 inside and can seat 80 more outside at the restaurant's "flip-flops patio," which will be completed in two weeks. The patio will come replete with many elements travelers have come to expect at beach resorts — a "tiki-style" palapa bar with thatched roof made of palm leaves, outdoor misting systems and relaxing views. Diners seated in the patio can take in views of the La Plata mountains and the Rockies and, much closer, of planes arriving and taking off at the airport.
The patio will be as close to a beach environment as possible, except for the wet sand and waves, said Tony Lake, No Worries' general manager.
"It'll be everything from tropical drinks to ice cold beer. It'll be full-service, full menu. You can get whatever you want," Lake said.
The 2,700-square-foot patio allows smoking and, like the restaurant and bar inside, is family-friendly, Kellenaers said.
"This is the best view from any patio in town," Lake said. "We're here for the locals, for the people here."
After 9 p.m., the restaurant and bar, with flat-screen TVs for sporting events hanging on every wall, is open for adults 21 and over, Lake said. Live music and DJs are among the late-night offerings, he said.
However, No Worries caters to all ages, and the menu, which has children's specials, has a wide variety of dishes by chef Anthony Rey.
Rey's specialty is posole — roasted pork butt in a red chile broth with white hominy, cabbage, onion and lime — from a recipe he inherited from his grandmother. But, Noyes said, No Worries also serves up burgers and burritos, steaks and salads, with equal flair.
"You've got to have good atmosphere, good food, good service and we have that," Noyes said. "People always say, to be successful, you've got to surround yourself with good people, and we've done that."
Farmington Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell said Kellenaers and Noyes are selling alcohol at the restaurant and bar using the city's liquor license.
In April, the Farmington City Council approved No Worries to take over the lease at the airport location after the former owner of Zebra's, Lance Johnson, was sued by the city for breach of contract for unpaid rent and lost gross receipts tax revenue. Johnson has since paid the city what he owed.
The new owners will be able to lease and operate the establishment until June 23, 2017, which is when Zebra's originally contract was set to expire. At that point, they will have to compete with any others who wish to bid on the contract for the space, Campbell said.
Allie Young and Mike Abeyta came by the new restaurant on Monday for lunch. The couple said they were pleasantly surprised by the new look.
"I like it. It looks good. They redid everything," Abeyta said. "It's a different, refreshing atmosphere for here in town. I'm very impressed."