Slate Street Billiards
2003 Southern Blvd
Bar & Grill
Rio Rancho, NM
It had been a while since I drove around Rio Rancho, NM or spent any real time there. Mostly, these days, it seems to be over-run with corporate type chains...BUT, like a beacon, a breath of fresh local air, nestled in the center of the village, a gem, a great place to hang for a bit, get a bite to eat, lots of entertainment distraction, lots of friendly neighbor patrons to interact with, lots of drink options and down right great food, sits...
Slate Street Billiards Bar & Grill.
It's a lovely story of like minds, good friends
and families coming together.
Steve Ricar (photo above), one of the gracious and extremely likeable owners, fun, met us at the door. He was recovering from a recent hip replacement, though you would never believe it with the energy he radiates. Steve is definitely a conversationalist, sweetie pie, occasional bartender, ex-military, retired aircraft mechanic, extremely generous and welcoming front of the house.
Todd Mack, cook extraordinaire, basically a New Mexican native, Del Norte graduate, charitable, charming other half of the dynamic duo, was a little harder to pin down for a chat. He was busy in the kitchen. While we were there, he was stirring up a big pot of Green Chile Clam Chowder. Mmmm!
Upon arrival to the billards, bar and grill we were forced to endulge in delicious munchies and imbibes. They immediately made (ha) us eat their famous Green Chile Bacon Cheese Burger, soup of the week- Meatball Parmesean, original Buffalo Chunky Wings and Porkey Tots, a pile of crispy tater tots, though you can get them with fries, smothered in Todds's flavorful Green Chile Pulled Pork gravy, poutine (shredded cheddar Jack cheese) & chives. Talk about welcoming! AND delicious!
Todd Mack, by the way, is well known and has won many awards for his soups, sandwiches, nachos and wings. He, Steve and his loyal customers brag about the creative award winning cooking. Well deserved, btw. I couldn't believe he uses zero salt in his dishes, no salt, but is generous with spices. His food is delicious! The meatball parmesean soup we had was very flavorful..Salt, schmalt.
It has been rumored Todd whips up more than 40+ varieties of soups/stews. He's been known to change up a classic, like Chile Con Carne with sweet potatoes. The soup changes weekly, but some are on the menu full time.
Just a couple of his trending soup flavors are: Green Chile Cheeseburger, Menudo, all of the creams you can imagine, Cheddar Broccoli, Sweet Potatoe Chorizo Chili, Texas Chili, 15 Bean... They also flaunt 24 different wing sauces and 7 dry rubs, custom blended by Mr. Mak, which are available for purchase in a case at the front of the bar. Todd does a daily sandwich special too, but the ones on the menu are more than enough to satisfy any palate.
They offer, a build your own burger, which includes just about anything you can think of to top a burger,like: bacon, grilled onions, jalapenos, mushrooms, several cheeses and more.
The Horseradish Roast Beef with cucumber and red onion on sour dough, Rib-Eye Steak with grilled onions and mushrooms, New Mexican turkey with green chile and cheddar on a French Roll, all caught my eye!
They order their custom special blend beef
from local ranchers in Moriarty.
They also offer a Chicken Ceasar Wrap, which I hear is very good and popular. Todd's dishes are all Southwestern inspired, so most items include green chile.
I cannot forget to mention their deliciously
crunchy Fish and Chips. It's on the menu,
so no waiting until Friday.
Slate Street options for appetizers are vast! As a matter of fact, they take up over half of the menu. They include: nachos, quesadillas, dips, fries and tots several ways-of course, wings, soups and salads.
Add a grilled cheese to your soup for just a few bucks.
We were there around lunch time, so the crowd was more like us...seasoned, aged, Og's. They were definitely there to eat and maybe have a couple pops with their food. Friendly and fun! Home by three pm. However, Mr. Ricar made it very clear, Slate Street attracts a wide range of age groups. He says 21-105 years old. Of course they do.
Slate Street Billards, Bar & Grill originally opened in 1997. However, it did not have the stellar reputation it has today. Not until the duo purchased the bar and grill in 2015 did it become a class act joint with mouthwatering food.
Steve and Todd were introduced by their wives many years ago, in the 90's. They've been simpatico ever since. Family cookouts, birthday parties and more. Best buds. Both of the ladies are still hairdressers and still work together daily at a local salon, "Attractions", in Rio Rancho.
Todd was experienced in managing billiards and bars, because he had actually been the manager for Slate Street for years with the prior owners. It was a no brainer when the business was for sale. His best buddy Steve was his first customer and wanted a piece of the action too.They have been having fun ever since.
Let me talk about the bar options for a minute. I can't even begin to list everything they offer. They have 30 beers on tap alone, including 14 local craft beers- one they rotate regularly.
I was privledged enough to sample several brews including: Turtle Mountain Amber Waves and Graham Cracker(special that day, but they carry 2 choices of Turtle Mountain Brewery Beer on a regular basis), Bosque Brewing Pickle Beer (loved it! tasted just like pickles), Four Peaks Scottish ale and he spruced up a Sandia Watermelon Hard Cider with a "bit" of Chambord Raspberry liquor, mmmm. He said they aren't above rubbing the rim with crushed mexican candy. They will offer just about anything a customer can dream of.
They have some unusual and interesting top shelf liquor choices like Rebel Yell Rootbeer Bourban. Yes, Steve gave us a sample of it, WOW! They also offer a few exotic rums and many other delicacies .
They have 6 dart boards, a classic shuffleboard (probably one of a few in the state), tvs everywhere you look and NTN video poker and trivia.
Of course, lastly, but definitely not least, are their beautiful tables. They have sixteen nine ft. tables. One seven ft. coin op table. A ten ft. billiard table and a very gorgeous rare 10 ft. Snooker table.
I asked where the name came from and Steve looked at me a little confused. Apparently, all pool tables are equipped with 700lbs of slate on the bottom.
Many nights they completely fill all the tables and a lot nights they have lines out the door.
Want to enjoy the glorious New Mexico air? Sit out on the large patio that includes clear views of the Sandias.
They do tournaments four or five times a year and charity events as often as they can manage.
Their customers say they are very loved, pilars of the community and have relationships with most of the other businesses in Rio Rancho.
Slate Street Billiards, Bar and Grill can easily do private parties. Steve said that they actually did one for three hundred and fifty people once. They love to cater and do weddings, chamber meetings and all kinds of business and personal affairs.
Slate Street Billards, Bar and Grill has a "Cheers" like atmosphere, neighborhood bar that attracts admirers from all over the City.
Open seven days a week, Mon-Sat.11am-2am. Sundays noon-midnight. Happy hour is 3-7 every day. Children are very welcome before 8pm.
Slate Street Billiards Bar and Grill, Steve Ricar and Todd Mak would love to see you, feed you and watch you kick some butt at the boards and tables.