New Mexico History Museum

History Museum’s Cowden Cafe to (Temporarily) Close

March 28, 2011


The Cowden Café at the New Mexico History Museum will serve its final patrons on Friday, April 1. The closure by operators Andy and Daniel Razatos comes as the two focus all of their attention on renovations at the Plaza Restaurant, which suffered serious damage in a fire last September.

“We make plans, and life sometimes makes us change them,” said Dr. Frances Levine, director of the museum. “Having been through our own four-year construction process, we’re well aware of the need to be on-site and fully focused.

“We wish the Razatos nothing but the best. While I’ll miss having their chocolate-chip cookies close at hand, I’m more eager to see a steaming plate of turkey mole return to a reopened Plaza Restaurant.”

The museum plans to issue a request for proposals as soon as next week for a new operator, with a goal of getting the café up and running by the end of May for visitors to enjoy a rooftop view of Santa Fe from its terrace this summer.

The Razatos family has owned the Plaza Restaurant since 1947. In that time, it’s grown to be a beloved staple of the Santa Fe Plaza and has earned a spot on the New Mexico Department of Tourism’s Culinary Treasures Trail. The brothers began operating the Cowden Café on the museum’s second floor last May, serving sandwiches, salads, desserts and beverages from mid-morning through mid-afternoon.

“The Plaza Café partnership with the NMHM has been a great experience for the Razatos family, with its proximity to the great installations, the spectacular views from the terrace, and the elegant parties we were fortunate to be a part of,” Andy Razatos said. “We will miss our time at the Cowden and are thankful for the many friendships we have gained. Our original idea was to have the Cowden Café be a satellite location, exclusively serving the fine food we make at the downtown Plaza Café. However, with the Plaza Café’s unexpected closure in September of 2010 our vision was unable to be fulfilled.  Reopening the Plaza Café has become paramount to our survival.” 

The Cowden Café is named for a historic ranching family, whose holdings at one time straddled the New Mexico-Texas border from Jal to Santa Rosa. Their legacy was detailed in the book Riding for the Brand: 150 Years of Cowden Ranching (University of Oklahoma Press, 2006), by Michael Pettit.


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