There have been so many heartbreaking stories of small businesses failing or barely making it during the pandemic. Driving through Santa Fe, you really can’t miss the darkened windows or curbside only signs accenting downtown stores and Southside markets. Even harder to see are the ones that have completely closed, some with tables and chairs or office equipment still scattered around in the rush to leave and forgo rent or a mortgage that could no longer be paid.

But there’s a small silver hot dog cart called Roque’s in the parking lot of Big Jo True Value Hardware on Siler Road. Armando Pacheco, hot dog chef extraordinaire, has made this small business sing in the face of all the closings with a unique slate of offerings, a couple of which he described at the top of this episode.

Armando took over running the cart from Roque Garcia this winter. Roque has sold hot dogs on the Plaza for nearly three decades and will hopefully be able to return in 2021.

But Armando is planning on opening his own cart in Albuquerque this year, called Chicano Dogs.

For now, keeping Roque’s going means a lot to Armando—it’s his retirement plan and what he normally does during the summer when he’s not working in the solemn halls of the Capitol during the legislative sessions, copying bills and getting them on the right legislators’ desks. The pandemic pushed him to work the cart even this winter, and it’s turned out to be a boon for him—and for anyone lucky enough to try one of his delicious hotdogs.

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Theme Music: Lone Piñon