Alamosa is known for its gorgeous location. Nestled in the San Luis Valley along the Rio Grande, its proximity to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve makes it an ideal tourist destination. For the hungry tourist, there is another gem right in town - Locavores, a farm fresh experience hoping to enhance Alamosa’s culinary reputation.
Walking around Alamosa reveals a city caught in the fast food industry’s vice grip. While great for those on a budget, chain restaurants are not known for their health benefits or exciting menu options. The burgers are flat, the chicken is frozen and the salads are laughable. Locavores owner Wendi Seger, frustrated with eating at Subway for six years, wanted to change that.
“I just wanted a good salad,” Seger said.
Wanting to live a healthier lifestyle in spite of the local dining options, Seger and her husband Matt decided to start their own restaurant. The Segers did not want to blend in. They focus on utilizing fresh and local ingredients. Seger hired the 'young and hip' chef Reagen Briggs to develop a menu with quality over quantity in mind.
As a disclosure, my bias is evident. After Locavores served me a fresh tray of Baja fish tacos at a photography workshop, cooked just right and well-proportioned, I knew Locavores was a different breed than the surrounding joints.
The smell emanating from the kitchen backs up that claim. When dining at Locavores, the brightly lit room and light atmosphere makes an ideal place for enjoying the local cuisine.
“A locavore is someone with a passion for local food,” Seger said.
A fitting name for a restaurant that marks all of its local options with a little green L on the menu. Seger goes out of her way to maintain Locovares’ farm fresh standard, highlighting the local farming community’s contributions. Quinoa comes from Rocky Farms, close by in Center. Gosar Natural Foods out of Monte Vista supplies them with high quality sausage. And the potatoes?
“We actually supply a lot of our own potatoes,” Seger said.
It’s true, the Seger West Farm operating in Del Norte, run by Matt Seger and their two sons, provides some of the best potatoes the Alamosa area is known for. For specialty dishes requiring a different variety of potatoes, Rocky Farms delivers.
Seger knows she can’t solely rely on local partners to keep customers coming back. The local aspect only goes so far.
“We roast our pork six hours before serving. We think it’s worth it… we don’t even have microwave,” Seger said.
Treating every day like Thanksgiving is a serious commitment. Never one to shy away from adversity or commitment, Seger holds an Ed.D. in organizational leadership, as well as a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in counseling, and even she had doubts.
“I was scrubbing the bathroom floors. It hit me then, ‘Will this work?’,” Seger said.
Since the grand opening on September 5, 2016, Locavores continues to thrive. Their motto ‘Fresh Inspired Food’ ardently proclaims their mission, and the freezer-less kitchen fulfills that goal.
Now, freshly prepared food and local partners mean nothing if the customers’ experience is bad. One notoriously difficult situation for restaurants is working with people with dietary restrictions. Locavores does not shy away from these scenarios, and patrons appreciate it.
“Since my boyfriend and I are visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park I prepped food for myself, but he wanted to get dinner… The staff was so accommodating of my diet! They told me all of the ingredients in their food, got apple cider vinegar from the back, and made sure I liked everything. It was such a treat!” said traveling customer Steffie F.
Hiking the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is not an easy effort. The sinking sand is a nightmare for keeping a foothold. Mix that with hefty camera gear and you have quite the task ahead of you. So if you’re a tourist on the way to the sand, a traveler or just a hungry local, stop by Locavores to fuel up first - and, as a humble recommendation, try the Baja fish tacos.
Locavores is located at 2209 Main Street, Alamosa, Colo. Their hours of operation are 10:30 am-8 pm every day. You can visit their website at eatlocavores.com, give them a call at (719) 589-2157, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @EatLocavore.