ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A locally-based film production company is highlighting the hidden gems of Albuquerque businesses. Through “Enchanted Foods of ABQ”, Sopapilla Productions also hopes to showcase the resiliency of these small business owners. When acting roles were hard to come by, Keith Allen and Felicia Masias decided to come up with their own production company, rooted here in New Mexico.
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“Everybody who starts a business has to start somewhere,” said Masias, when discussing their company compared to many that come in from out-of-state. “Come in, film, and then leave, and we want to make sure we come in, we film, and we stay.”
A big goal of theirs was to employ all New Mexican crews. However, they’re also using it to highlight business in the state. “It evolved into this thing where the whole point of the company is to use our platform to try to uplift small businesses, local businesses,” said Allen. “That’s what we wanted to do with the show and what the mission of our company has become.”
They’re now launching their second season of ‘Enchanted Foods of ABQ.’ The series shows the hidden gems of small businesses in the city, while also profiling the resiliency of the owners throughout the pandemic.
“We feature six restaurants. We’ve got everything from an 8-pound burrito to Korean fusion to an up-and-coming Michelin-inspired chef, we have a tearoom, a speakeasy and we even have lowriders,” said Allen. “We went through a long list but our goal is to find small businesses that were super unique and super delicious.”
One of the shops in the new season is The Ivy Tearoom near the North Valley. The tearoom was hit hard by pandemic closures just as they were settling into their new home.
“The first time we had to shut our doors, that was devastating,” said Amanda Ng, owner of The Ivy Tearoom. “We started selling tea online, we started doing things to go. We did everything that we could to survive at that point. It was, honestly, the second shutdown, that was the one that really impacted us.”
The tearoom’s appearance on the show will feature everything from specialty tea and cocktails to the outdoor igloos for winter. Ng says it’s nice to see a production company focus on homegrown businesses. “We also want local tv,” said Ng. “I think this is such a special way to showcase businesses in a really fun way.”
The production is working with the One Albuquerque Virtual Visionaries program to make the series possible. They hope others will take away one key lesson. “Just remember to shop and eat local,” said Masias. “It’s what keeps Albuquerque going.”
You can see the first episode of the new season and all past episodes on YouTube. The remaining episodes of the new season will be released once a week.