Serving the High Plains

Kandel's Street Sips opens sit-down restaurant

Two years ago, Kandel's Street Sips debuted its beverage business in a trailer parked off Route 66 on the city's east side.

In recent weeks, Kandel's has graduated to a brick-and-mortar business on Tucumcari's Main Street corridor and has begun offering panini sandwiches, wraps and other food.

The trailer still exists, parked across the street so it can be used for festivals and other events.

But co-owner Rhonda Kandel said she's committed to the new space at 112 W. Main St., in a building that once contained the Pajarito Interiors furniture store and the late Donald Schutte's law office.

Kandel's new location has retained its name, and it employs four people, she said.

Kandel said she and her husband Mike opening a restaurant in a permanent location always was on their radar.

"I gave myself a year as a goal," she said. "And I did it in two years. The truck was just the beginning. We still run the truck, and we run the building, as well."

Kandel's Street Sips transitioned from a food trailer to sit-down site much like a restaurant down the block, Las Chaparritas, which opened there a year ago.

Kandel said it now offers "MK" panini sandwiches and wraps ("MK" stands for the initials of her husband). Customers can choose from options of meats, cheeses, vegetables and condiments.

She said the big seller is the ham and turkey panini. It's offering a lunch special of half a panini sandwich with a trip to its salad bar.

Sometime this month, Kandel said it will begin grilling meats and add them to the menu.

The restaurant also serves breakfast wraps with a number of options, plus pastries from an upcoming business.

It continues to make lemonades, teas, dirty sodas, lattes, cold brews and frappuccinos.

Asked how business was going, Kandel replied: "It's been great. The community has absolutely blessed us."

Kandel said they originally purchased a former bait shop building across the street, then found out from Tucumcari MainStreet executive director Connie Loveland the Pajarito Interior space was available. So they bought that one, too.

She said they still have plans for a business in the building across the street, but they haven't determined what at this time.

The new Kandel's Street Sips contains a lot of space, allowing local artisans such as Made with Love, Life and a jewelry to set up shop there.

"We offer an event center, which is a the MK Zone," Kandel said. "They're able to rent this if they wish. We provide for business meetings, personal gatherings. We have an arcade system over here on the wall. We offer a Wii with our screen right there for children. We offer board games."

Kandel's is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.