Cuisine in Ruidoso

An authentic Philly Cheese Steak sandwich with a side dish of edamame bean salad and a dessert sampling of Cristini Panini, a delectable blend of cream cheese, sliced strawberries and dark chocolate.

An Extensive Offering of Cuisine in Ruidoso

You might think vast choices of quality cuisine would not be readily available in a tourist mountain town with a fixed population of under 10,000 people. Whether your favorite fare is purchased in the well-stocked local grocery stores or the abundant quantity of menu-varying independent and nationally recognized restaurants, there will almost certainly be some nourishment to your liking. The fact that Ruidoso is a haven for vacationists, visitors and excursionists from other states and countries who have a wide variety of refined cultural and culinary pleasures, has necessitated an essential standard of native excellence.

Your tastes may run the gamut from Mexican (e.g. tamales, tacos, burritos), NewMex (presenting the dominance of the New Mexico chile, either red or green), Asian (General Tso’s Chicken), Italian (lasagna) and Irish (Shepherd’s Pie). Whatever your required taste buds lust for at any given time, rest assured, you will most likely find the cuisine in the cool pines of Ruidoso. By no means should state-raised beef be forgotten. You might assume the local chefs and cooks are not aware how a Pittsburgh rare or Pittsburgh black steak (charred on the outside, raw on the inside) should be prepared. Don’t bet the farm on it – you would be wrong.

Maybe some Native American examples of cooking stimulate your appetite. In that case, Apache Fry Bread could be to your liking. America is a land of diverse cultures and a broad spectrum of enlightening dishes are available to travelers and residents alike.

Mike Wiley, a recent Colorado transplant said, “I was surprised they have good seafood dishes in Ruidoso. I particularly enjoy Mescalero grass fed elk meat. There are also some superior and reasonably priced wines available, too.”

Fine dining and a plethora of superior wines are available in the
Ruidoso area.

Lubbock natives, Blane Wood and his son, Trey – both premier Quarter Horse trainers, each in his own right – like the local Mexican fare offerings here in the Village during the Ruidoso Downs Race Track meet (from Memorial Day to Labor Day). “I don’t eat that much of it in Lubbock but I get my fill here during the horseracing season,” Trey Wood said. “We tend to cook steaks out a lot, too.”

Trey’s dad, Blane, also likes NewMex and Mexican foods. “A lot of people I know come here to cook a good steak outside,” he said. “There’s just something about the environment and the pine trees. It smells fresh and good. Fifty-percent of the time we eat in restaurants and the rest of the time we grill outdoors.”

Jessie Hanson, relocated here a few years ago from the state of Washington and believes the cuisine in Ruidoso is unique. “That’s largely due to the influence of the New Mexico chile pepper,” she explained. “NewMex dishes are uncommon in other parts of the country because of the sporadic availability of the NM green chile pepper. The big thing about NewMex foods, is that they utilize fresh seasonally usable ingredients – foods, herbs and spices. Additionally, besides authentic Mexican cooking, there is fine dining in the Ruidoso area, as well as a large selection of wines and scores of craft beers.”

If you can’t find Charro Beans (cowboy beans) readily convenient in restaurants, get some Pinto Beans at a grocery store along with the necessary ingredients, pull up a recipe online and prepare that dish in a slow cooker. That might be your go-to side dish in the future.

For a listing of Lincoln County restaurants please go to

—Michael Curran