Habanero Grill back in business after 14-month closure due to COVID-19 pandemic

Aztec location remains closed, but Farmington restaurant opened June 4

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Habanero Grill co-owners Lisa Higgins and Nick Higgins, seen here on Friday, June 4, 2021, are glad to be back open in Farmington after being closed for 14 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

FARMINGTON — After 14 months of waiting, the owners of Farmington's Habanero Grill are back in business.

The restaurant, now located at 5600 Mickey Drive on the far northeast side of town, dealt with the economic toll brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The owners had to close their previous Farmington and Aztec locations on April 1, 2020. Although they couldn’t salvage their Aztec location, they were able to reopen the Habanero Grill in Farmington on June 4.

“It’s awesome. It was really tough for us… With COVID, there was just too much… we really didn’t think that we’re going to be able to open again,” co-owner Lisa Higgins said. “We’re past excited to be able to open up.”

Co-owner Nick Higgins said Habanero Grill already had dealt with the drop-off in the oil industry in the few years preceding the pandemic, and the pandemic only made things worse.

“That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, and so we pulled the plug there,” he said, adding that oilfield workers previously made up most of the eatery's early-morning customer sales. “And now we’re going to try it again and see.”

Lisa Higgins said the goal was to at least reopen in Farmington because of the larger customer base. She also said they had to wait for the virus outlook to improve enough so they wouldn’t risk reopening prematurely.

“Definitely, the COVID numbers needed to be down,” she said.

The Habanero Grill, which is open from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day except Sunday, serves burgers, wings and burritos.

And once the Habanero Grill received Restaurant Revitalization Fund assistance earlier this spring, Lisa Higgins said the eatery was able to start the reopening process.

“We have hope. We’re just standing on our hope that it’s going to be OK and we can thrive,” she said.

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

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e