THE NAME LUCKY GOOSE could refer to a bird spared from ending up on a dinner plate. It could also refer to either Rafael Guillen or Melissa Timmons, who met each other during a chance night out in Albuquerque several years ago. Guillen, on a road trip from his Los Angeles hometown, instantly connected with Timmons, who grew up in Bosque Farms. The two went back to LA together and found a shared interest in vegan cuisine.
“I was in 4-H growing up, so I saw firsthand what that experience was like,” says Timmons. “I always had something in me that didn’t allow me to eat the animal I raised. I didn’t actually become vegan until I met Rafael.”
Guillen, who is of Mexican heritage, became a vegan at 17 for a New Year’s resolution. “I overthink what it is,” he says. “In Mexican food, they’re always sneaking in some lard or something. So I would cook for myself, and I learned how to make a lot of food for survival.”
While splitting time between LA and Albuquerque, they found it difficult to get vegan options in New Mexico. “We were always cooking at home and creating our own things,” says Timmons.
In 2021, Timmons, Guillen, and their now three-year-old daughter, Evelyn, relocated to Bosque Farms. When the Yucca Little League needed someone to run the local concession stand, Guillen and Timmons saw an opportunity. They created a broad menu that offered vegetarian and vegan options beyond popcorn and nachos. To add something unique to the traditional burgers they were also selling, Guillen experimented with different sauces, which became a hit.
“We had people coming to eat when they didn’t even have baseball,” says Timmons. “That’s when we realized there’s a need here.” The couple debuted the Lucky Goose food truck in July 2021 with entirely vegan options, including a plant-based burger that took a year to develop. The overwhelming response led to a brick-and-mortar spot in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill in November 2022.
The light-filled space with bright yellow accents, simple wooden tables, and lush green plants feels more like a gallery than a quick stop for comfort food. Pigs and chickens created most of the colorful abstract and footprint paintings on the walls, which can be purchased to support local farm-animal sanctuaries. Any of Lucky Goose’s eight house-made sauces—including Lucky, Boss, and Agave Mustard—can be ordered with their plant-based green chile cheeseburger, chicken sandwiches, and hot dogs.
The shakes, created with oat milk and pea protein, come in a variety of traditional flavors. But Guillen’s special recipes, such as the Thai tea and the Citrus Crunch (with vanilla, orange, cardamom, and graham cracker pie crust topping), are the standouts.
In November, Guillen and Timmons expect to open The Goose Nest, a plant-based coffee shop next door to Lucky Goose that will specialize in breakfast burritos and sandwiches.
“We’re really trying to work hard and push ourselves so that people can see that veganism is a real option here in Albuquerque,” says Guillen.