Magdalena business reopens

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The Bear Mountain Coffee House and Gallery opened its doors again last Friday, with newly hired manager Tita Dixon at the helm. Dixon, a long-time resident of the region, brings over 31 years of experience in the hospitality industry with her – including everything from bartending to management at a five-star hotel.

Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain: The Bear Mountain Coffee House and Gallery in Magdalena re-opened on Jan. 17, with hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the end of January, after which its hours will expand. The coffee house serves breakfast and light fare for lunch. Gallery hours are the same.

“I’ve been in Catron, Socorro and Sierra counties most of my adult life,” Dixon said, “I think I have a good idea of the community here. We want to make this a gathering place for everyone.”

Plans for the coffee house include offering all or part of the cafe for private gatherings such as business meetings, private parties and other functions; hosting dances, musical and other performances and other entertainment, and generally being a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

The cafe features a book nook that has a variety of antique and old books for reading and for sale. There is a small stage in the back, and a coffee bar as well as a breakfast and lunch menu with light fare.

“I like our menu because it is different,” Dixon said. “It’s not Mexican food and it’s not burgers.”

Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain: The Bear Mountain Coffee House and Gallery re-opened on Jan. 17, after being closed for a couple of quiet months. The Gallery features work by local artists and has a variety of offerings, from paintings and jewelry to hand-made clothing and housewares. Hours of operattion will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the end of January, and will expand thereafter.

Danielle Fitzpatrick, owner of the coffee house and gallery, purchased the ‘old’ West Bar on Hwy 60 in Magdalena several years ago, remodeled it and opened it as a coffee house/cafe and gallery. Traffic is slow in the winter months, and with the lack of traffic last summer and fall resulting from the municipal water shortage, the business was closed for the last couple of months. Fitzpatrick is engaged in other projects, and needed someone to take over the daily operations of the coffee house and gallery. Dixon was hired in early January and they began planning for the re-opening.

The goal is to expand hours of operation as in the next couple of months, as they see how their plans unfold. They want to be engaged with plans in the community to draw more “local tourists” to the area for sight-seeing and other activities, as well as cater to local residents’ needs.

“I remember when folks would come out here from Albuquerque and other places to see the sights,” Dixon said. “We want to be a place for people to come. We want to a stop for people on their way to and from work, and a destination for visitors looking for a place to get out of town.”

The goal for the gallery is to continue to offer gifts and wares produced by local artists.

Bear Mountain Coffee House and Gallery is located at 902 W. 1st Street, at the corner of west 1st and Hwy 60, in Magdalena.