ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A popular local restaurant that has actually been profitable during the pandemic is shutting its doors by Thanksgiving. Loyal customers are not happy with what is taking its place.

It’s a homegrown favorite. “This is one of the few Italian restaurants that is locally owned and a lot of local flavor,” Scarpas regular Robert Taylor said.

Robert and his son, Monty Taylor, have been going to Scarpas at Montgomery and Eubank for years. “I have been taking my children here since they were born,” Robert said. “We moved here in 1999.”

Soon, it will be torn down. “I think it will be a loss,” Scarpas regular Linda Avery said. “This means you have to go farther to get something to eat.”

It is not due to the pandemic. The building owner is replacing it with a Murphy USA gas station. “Why do we need another gas station?” Avery asked.

There are already two gas stations within walking distance of the restaurant. “If there are plenty of gas stations and lack of restaurants, why take away one of the restaurants that is doing well and actually contributing?” Robert asked.

Building owner Josh Skarsgard said the new gas station will benefit people in the area, and they will be building a new Scarpas in the Coors Pavilion Shopping Center near Saint Pius. The original location is still on Academy.

“The Eubank location and Academy location are very close, so we think we can get our food to a broader array of our customers by having a westside location,” Skarsgard said. “This restaurant has a flavor profile that is loved by New Mexicans, and we want to grow it.”

Skarsgard said they hope to increase Scarpas locations from two to five or more statewide in the next year. They’re looking at places like Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Roswell, Carlsbad, and Farmington. Regulars said they hate to see the one on Eubank go. “I would hate to think we have to lose one more mom and pop type restaurant,” Robert said.

The restaurant said 40 people will be laid off, but Skarsgard said the goal is to rehire them at the Coors location. It is expected to open early next year.

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