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Slim Chickens?

Former Denny’s owner says Las Cruces may soon be home to restaurant


“We will be there for sure,” Dennis Ekstrom about the possibility of opening a Slim Chickens’ restaurant in Las Cruces in the not-too-distant future.

“There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Ekstrom, the former owner of Denny’s restaurants in Las Cruces, who owns franchising rights in New Mexico and El Paso for Slim Chickens.

He also owns 12 Del Taco restaurants and opened a new one about a month ago in Truth or Consequences.

“Las Cruces is a prime choice for me,” Ekstrom said. “I love that town and I want to be there.”

“I just love the focus on fresh,” Ekstrom said about the Slim Chickens’ menu. “The food is fantastic.”

The franchise, he said, is “very focused on a handful of things they do exceedingly well.”

The restaurant’s atmosphere has “the laid-back look, with that Southern twist to it.”

Ekstrom said he had planned to begin the Slim Chickens New Mexico base in Albuquerque, but “stumbled into a conversion opportunity in Farmington.” He expects to open the state’s first Slim Chickens in Farmington in the next three to four months.

If the same kind of opportunity presents itself in Las Cruces, he said a Slim Chickens could open its doors here sooner rather than later.

“I’m really anxious to get there and become part of the community,” said Ekstrom, who sold the local Denny’s restaurants in September 2019.

“When we open a restaurant, we hire 60 to 80 people,” he said. And, even after scaling done after the opening, a local restaurant could employ about 50 people, he said, and “be able to help a lot of families succeed.”

“I’m excited to get to Las Cruces,” said Ekstrom, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Slim Chickens opened in 2003 in Fayetteville, Arkansas “with a focus on fresh, delicious food with a Southern flair in a fast-casual setting,” according to slimchickens.com. There are now 120 locations in 19 states and in London and Kuwait.