Iconic NM Restaurants: Charlie's Bakery & Cafe

Posted at: 02/10/2014 6:44 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

When most Americans talk about Las Vegas, bright lights and multi-million dollar casino resorts usually come to mind. Not the case here in New Mexico, where we grabbed a bite. Actually, several bites, at one of its most famous restaurants!

To outsiders, it's known as Charlie's, but to the locals, it's still referred to as the "Spic And Span."

Charlie Sandoval took the helm back in 1998, but the restaurant has been a landmark in Las Vegas since the early '50s. The previous owner, Carmen Fernandez, had it for 3 decades before she decided to hang up her apron.

Then Charlie stepped in and decided to buy the restaurant at the request of Carmen.

More: New Mexico Culinary Treasures

Sandoval employs up to 40 people. Half of them come from local high schools and even students from Highlands University. Charlie sees everyone that works with him as "one big family."

You need a big family when you run a huge place like this, which includes a fully staffed kitchen and a tortilla factory.

It does really well. People just love the tortillas and we sell about 100 dozen a day. I think I got the best tortillas in the state," Charlie exclaimed.

When you come to Charlie's, you must try his favorite dish, which consists of two deep fried corn tortillas with a generous scoop of ground beef rolled up along with two sides, then topped off with green and red chile. Then add cheese with a couple of eggs over easy.

"The ground beef enchiladas! I just love that with an egg on top. Red chile and green chile. I just gotta have that all the time," he said.

Be sure to leave room for dessert. After all, this is a bakery!

Charlie's has a plethora of treats, including biscochitos, Mexican wedding cookies, creampuffs, long johns, and what he claims to be the best donuts in all of New Mexico!

Sandoval jokingly tells everyone they're fat free.

More: New Mexico Culinary Treasures