Departing Atomic Owners: Santa Fe Becoming a Retirement Community

Downtown late-night options diminish, as new owner says restaurant will close earlier

The departing owners of

Atomic Grill—

the only downtown joint open after bar close where you could wash down spirits with reasonably priced food—tell the Santa Fe New Mexican that the

City Different is becoming a "retirement community."

Phaedra Haywood has the

: Brisa Barnes, who is originally from Houston and has lived in Santa Fe for 21 years, said Santa Fe seems to have become "more and more of a retirement community" over the years.

"The average age of people seemed to be getting older," she said, people who are more interested in fine dinning. We catered to a younger crowd."
A 2013 Community Health Profile conducted by Santa Fe County and Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center says the the county's senior population—19,700 residents are 65 and up—is expected to triple by 2040. The county's population is roughly 142,000, according to the report.

The report also places the county's median age at 42. That's older than the median age statewide, at 37.

"People over 65," says the report, "now 14 percent of the County's population, will constitute almost one-third of residents in 2040."

Almost 24 percent of county residents are ages 19 and under, says the report—lower than 28 percent statewide.

There's still hope for late-night eats, however. Lane Sanders, 29, tells the New Mexican that

he will reopen with the name "El-Evation," and plans to stay open until 2 a.m. on weekends and "10 to 11 p.m. or midnight during the week." Atomic stayed open until 3 a.m. on weekends.

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