By Emily Crowe
Not even the cold and snow could keep New Mexico Secretary of Tourism Monique Jacobson away from Clovis this week as she stopped in at three of the area’s most beloved restaurants.
Cars were wrapped around Taco Box at lunchtime Friday as the restaurant offered 25 cent beef tacos in celebration of the secretary’s visit and its official addition to New Mexico’s list of Culinary Treasures.
The state’s tourism department placed Taco Box, Foxy Drive-In and Twin Cronnie Drive-In on a list of New Mexico Culinary Treasures earlier this year. Nearly 75 restaurants statewide made the list, and each is family owned and at least 40 years old.
“What it’s about is celebrating that which makes New Mexico unique and different,” Jacobson said. “We think at the center of that is, in many cases, our food and our small businesses.”
Tom Martin, owner of Taco Box in Clovis and Portales, said looking back at 40 years in business often feels like it all happened just yesterday.
“It’s gone by, it’s been great,” he said. “I tell everybody I live a dull and boring life because I make tacos, but it’s been fun.”
Twin Cronnie Drive-In pulled out all the stops Thursday night for its visit from Secretary Jacobson by inviting a classic car club to fill its parking lot with vintage vehicles.
“We’re very pleased to be honored,” said Foxy Drive-In owner Chris Bryant. “After being in business for over 40 years, and being a third-generation business, we appreciate every thanks.”
Bryant said Foxy’s taquitos are especially popular and have been served since the restaurant opened in 1956, but the restaurant is proud of every item on the menu.
“All three of the businesses that are being honored have been a part of my life,” said Clovis Mayor Pro Tem Len Vohs. “We do have a lot of good things and long-term businesses around the state, and these three are as good as any of them.”
Jacobson said she has been in Clovis twice since taking her post two years ago, and that the area has a lot to offer for tourists visiting the state.
“The whole area is really special,” she said. “You want to make sure you’re pulling people off the road and they’re not just driving through New Mexico, but they’re falling in love with it.”