Best Places To Eat & Drink In Ruidoso | Local Favorites |
The Ranchers

One of the world’s favorite pastimes may be to Google restaurant menus and check out what an establishment has to offer (before the visit, after the visit, sometimes even while there!). Lucky for you, professional Googlers, the village of Ruidoso restaurants present an excellent spread of food and drink options to explore!  

Ruidoso Grub

The Ranchers Steak and SeafoodThe Ranchers sign

Heading to The Ranchers Steak and Seafood of Ruidoso is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience. New Mexico State University alumna Jessica Gibbs was a patron of this restaurant one evening about five years ago and still vividly recalls how impressed she was by the person who that night was waitress, manager, and bartender all in one. Jessica went back to The Ranchers this season and was just as impressed, solidifying her affinity for the establishment. 

She declared, “The Ranchers in Ruidoso is one of our favorite restaurants, hands-down. The food and drinks are top-tier, and the service is just as good. I highly recommend trying the crab cakes for a starter and a French onion soup before your meal comes. 

If you’re feeling thirsty, an oldfashioned is a go-to here or any of the martinis. Be sure to finish your meal with a Death by Chocolate Martini!”

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Café Rio PizzaCafe Rio

In the Heart of Ruidoso’s Midtown, you will find Café Rio Pizza which has been serving up East-Coast-style pies since 1993. Be sure to consider their best-seller called The Kitchen Sink. This hand-tossed pie comes complete with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami, mushrooms, bell peppers, red onions, black olives, green olives, jalapeños, green chile, Italian sausage, chopped beef brisket, sausage, pineapple, and anchovies. 

For gluten-free diners, they carry a 12-inch cauliflower pizza crust and are mindful of cross-contamination. Make sure to view their website to find weekday discounts! 

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La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant 

Stuck deciding between food genres? Almost immediately as you enter the main strip in Ruidoso, say bienvenidos to La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, which offers Mexican and American cuisine. They have a massive menu with more combination plate possibilities than you ever thought possible. 

On top of that, they have burritos, burgers, shrimp cocktail, soup, and salad. You’ll want to take some La Hacienda home, and fortunately, they have green, red, and ranchero (onion-and-tomato-based sauce seasoned with herbs, spices, and peppers) salsas in 16- and 32-ounce sizes so you can do just that. 

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Anaheim Jacks

For a place that specializes in mouth-watering burgers and house-made appetizers, look no further than Anaheim Jacks on Mechem Drive. They are a family-owned-and-operated establishment in business since 2014, known for an outstanding lunch and dinner menu. 

The burger lineup is known as “The Outlaws” and features 14 options, including the Billy the Kid and the Butch Cassidy. You can also design your burger if you don’t find exactly what you want on the menu. 

Not only do they have 17 ever-changing draft beers on tap, but they claim to be “proudly pouring the best cheap wine available!” With good humor coupled with good food and beverages, this must-stop is a no-brainer. 

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Ruidoso Sushi

You may not expect to find life-changing sushi in the mountains of New Mexico, but Ruidoso Sushi is sure to surprise you. Located in Midtown, they feature Asian cuisine such as sushi rolls, poke salads, and Japanese curry, not to mention an excellent selection of gluten-free and vegan options! 

Distinctive vegan sushi dishes include the Tempura Sweet Potato Roll, made of tempura sweet potato, avocado, cucumber, and sesame. The Veggie Futomaki Roll is made of inari, asparagus, oshinko, gourd strips, avocado, lettuce, and cucumber, wrapped up in nori seaweed. 

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Island NoodlesIsland Noodles

As you explore Midtown Ruidoso and discover you’re hungry . . . right now! . . . hop over to Island Noodles for a meal in moments. Here you have two choices: pan-friend yakisoba noodles with tons of veggies or pan-fried soba noodles with tons of veggies and added teriyaki chicken. 

They are always cooking up new batches, so step right up to their outdoor ordering station (indoors when the weather requires), place your order, and walk away with environmentally friendly to-go containers with your meal of choice. 

There are picnic tables nearby where you sit and enjoy your meal. The veggie-only option is a quick and delicious vegan option.

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Pop’s Funnel Cakes and Pop’s Taters and Legs

In Ruidoso Downs, check out side-by-side food stands Pop’s Funnel Cakes and Pop’s Taters and Legs. Pop’s won’t let you down, fulfilling all your favorite festival-food cravings as well as brats on a bun and pork and brisket sandwiches.


Ruidoso Bar Life

The Hidden Tap

Crafted and brewed in the Ruidoso mountains, a superb selection of beers awaits you at The Hidden Tap on Sudderth Drive, home of Downshift Brewing Company. They have three taprooms in New Mexico, with another, the BrewSki Beer Garden, just a little way north at the Alto Ski Shop. 

Their adult beverage menu is super-informative, letting customers know the name of the drink, who the makers are, where in New Mexico it originated, the alcohol percentage by volume, and fan ratings, with five bright suns equating to a perfect score. Check out their website to see the calendar of events, as they frequently have live music!  

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The Quarters Nightclub and Grill 

If you are looking for a local hangout where you can quench your thirst, you can bounce between Quarters and Win Place & Show (WPS), both located right on Ruidoso’s main strip. Do it as the locals do! Often they order food from the famous Quarters menu and then bring it across the street to WPS to participate in some ax throwing or listen to live music on the patio. 

A top choice is the Quarter’s Black Angus Cheeseburger, a cooked-to-order Angus hamburger patty with cheddar cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, mayonnaise, and mustard, and a heaping side of crisp French fries.

It is tasty, filling, and — best of all — easy enough to carry across the street. Pairing the burger with an appetizer is always a good idea, such as the breaded okra bites served with a side of ranch.

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Win Place & ShowWin, Place & Show

Over at WPS, owners Mike and Denni Cheney are native New Mexicans who pride themselves on WPS’ incredible bourbon selection. Their outdoor ax-throwing arena encourages participants of all levels of experience. You are given one hour to throw axes with a trained ax guide who will provide you with tips and tricks and also suggest some fun and competitive games for you and your crew. 

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Lost Hiker Brewing Company

Lost Hiker Brewing Company brings the fun and funky vibe of Austin, Texas, to Ruidoso. Jennifer and Dan Carey, both teachers, moved from Austin to Ruidoso after falling in love with the mountains and deciding to follow their dream of opening a brewery.

“We ended up basically just putting all the cards on the table,” Jennifer said.

Lost Hiker opened in February 2018 and currently has two taproom locations — one in Midtown and one in Ruidoso Downs near the racetrack.

The brewery serves a range of both standard and unique beers. According to Jennifer, the Rye Knot? was the result of a home-brew accident that turned out to be a bestseller. It’s a Belgian pale ale with fruity esters backed by a malty backbone and mild hop finish.

“You either love it or you hate it, but it’s developed this cult following,” Jennifer noted.

Like many other businesses in Ruidoso, Lost Hiker supports local artists through shows and exhibits. Lost Hiker also supports local charities, and recently opened a pizza kitchen called New Mexico Pizza for Good. Each time the brewery hosts an event, they open the kitchen and proceeds from the food sales go to a good cause.

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Sincerest gratitude to you, Ruidoso, for having tempting menus for people of the world to Google. Once there, the grub, pubs, and hospitality do not disappoint. Foodies unite! 

Story and photography by Desiree Bustamantes

Lost Hiker section was originally published in “Six Breweries to Help Beat the Heat” in Neighbors magazine. Story by Alexia Severson.


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