Serving the High Plains

Loretta's repairs on way to completion

The owner of the fire-damaged Loretta's Burrito Hut in Tucumcari anticipates repairs will be completed on the Route 66 restaurant next month.

In the meantime, Loretta Muller purchased a new trailer that allows her to serve her Mexican dishes in the west parking lot of her restaurant at 321 E. Route 66 Blvd. Loretta's began taking to-go and delivery orders Wednesday from her temporary new digs.

"We needed to go back to work," Muller said during a telephone interview Thursday. "I have employees where some can't get unemployment. If they have it, they're not making what they should be making."

Muller said business was "a little slow" on her first day from the trailer. She attributed part of that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she also acknowledged the temporary setup is difficult to see from the street and that "people might not realize we're open." The trailer is sandwiched between the rear of the restaurant and the long-closed motel of the property.

The Loretta's trailer serves everything from its restaurant menu except Navajo tacos, she said. It is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

As for the restaurant, Muller said workers were scheduled to begin repairs this week.

"We've got all our bids in; it's just a matter of the insurance company cutting us a check," she said. "We probably won't open until January. I'm hoping for the first part of January."

An electrical fire damaged Loretta's Burrito Hut in the early morning hours of Oct. 31 after it had closed for the night. The structure sustained fire damage on part of its roof and extensive smoke damage on the interior.

Loretta's Burrito Hut moved from a west-side location to the former Joe's Back in the Day Diner this spring and opened indoor dining there in late August.

Muller previously leased the former Rubee's Diner building in late 2018 after occupying a food trailer for five years at a corner of Third Street. Before that, she sold burritos out of her car.

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