Monica Baca says it’s been a good run, but it’s time to close her iconic Albuquerque restaurant.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Monica’s El Portal Restaurant has been serving new Mexican food since 1978, but now the owners say it’s time to say goodbye.

El Portal is a family business through and through. The owner, Monica Baca, has been running the iconic Old Town restaurant since she was just 17 years old.

“A lot of hardship, a lot of crying, a lot of cheering, but we were still there,” Monica said.

Her parents passed it on to her 47 years ago. Now she and her husband say it’s time to move on and retire.

“I stand here in that kitchen fifteen hours a day. I make all the food, I make all the orders. My husband helps me with the sopapillas and stuff. By the end of the day I go home and I’m like, ‘Oh my God,'” Monica said, stopping her. “I’ve even resorted to wearing Crocs.”

Monica’s passion for cooking at El Portal is hard to ignore. She will always cherish the memories. It’s just time to make some new ones.

“We earned it, we deserve it, it’s time,” she said. “I’m just very grateful for the people who came to eat here.”

After the end of June, they plan to rent out the location.