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Table Talk

Ghost Town, Real Food

Big Doin’s at the Chloride Bank Café

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Located in the historic ghost town of Chloride, New Mexico, the building that houses the Chloride Bank Café was built to be a bank in 1884. Although the bank had its checks and deposit slips printed, it failed to open as the old mining towns tended to be cash poor; the wealth was in the ore they mined.

It did open as a saloon and was prosperous. Through many different uses and finally having the large beams which supported the roof removed, the building became a stone derelict.

Today the old bank building has been resurrected and is filled with period pieces, items reminiscent of Chloride’s history and a thoroughly modern stainless-steel kitchen, and now serves as the Chloride Bank Café, affectionately known as the CBC.

The Chloride Bank Café celebrates its grand opening from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1. There will be great food, drawings for gift certificates and the opportunity to meet and welcome Chef Don and his wife Belinda, the new operators of the CBC.

Donald Reis has culinary arts degrees from both Bradford College in Columbus, Ohio and Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas and has also studied Puerto Rican, Mexican and Cuban cuisine. Don has worked as head chef in many kitchens in Ohio, Wyoming and South Dakota, where he served as banquet chef for the governor’s retirement party. He is very proud to bring New Mexican-American cuisine to the Chloride Bank Café, where he blends all his own spices. Reis defines New Mexican-American cuisine as a flavorful blend of many different chiles and spices meant to enhance flavors and not bring the heat.

Reis’s wife and partner Belinda, originally from Alabama, enjoys contributing to the CBC with homemade desserts and dinner rolls. Yell “Roll Tide” when you meet her! A major Alabama football fan, Belinda said she is really enjoying life in Chloride.

The Chloride Bank Café is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday through Monday, closed Tuesday and Wednesday. The CBC is located at 136 Wall Street in Chloride, northwest of Truth or Consequences, just 35 miles off I-25 via Highway 52 to Winston, turn left, then 2 ½ miles on paved road to Chloride. For more information, call 575-743-0414 or email chloridecafe@windstream.net.

While in Chloride (population 14) plan to visit the Pioneer Store Museum and the Monte Cristo Gift Shop & Gallery, both just across the street from the café and open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Pioneer Store was built in 1880 and operated until 1923. It sat sealed with all its contents, merchandise and furnishings for more than 70 years before being restored as a museum. The museum also includes the Grafton Cabin and various large pieces of equipment used back in the day.

The Monte Cristo, once a dance hall and saloon, features the work of local artists including paintings, quilts, ceramics, woodwork, jewelry, photography and books by local authors about the area’s history. Chloride sits on the east edge of the Gila National Forest and has an RV park and vacation rental cabins also built in the 1800s but now fully restored and modern on the insides.

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