Above: A margarita paris with every meal at La Posta. Courtesy of La Posta de Mesilla.
In September 1939, San Francisco was hosting the Golden Gate International Exposition. On the opposite coast, the New York World’s Fair was unveiling a theme of technology and the future. On the other side of the ocean, World War II had just broken out, and on movie screens everywhere, The Wizard of Oz captured the escapism of the moment.
Back in Old Mesilla, Katy Griggs Camuñez was opening an unnamed establishment. For the time being, it was known simply as Mesilla Restaurant, and located in an old adobe building that two legendary brothers, Sam and Roy Bean, had built in the Territorial era. Griggs Camuñez started her enterprise on the northeast corner of the building, where there were dirt floors, no running water, and only her mom and sister to fill in as cooks. A couple of classics from the original menu included “tostados,” “huacamole and chips,” tacos, and 40-cent plates of enchiladas. Later, Griggs Camuñez put an ad in the local newspaper asking the public to give her place a name. It was a contest, and whoever won got a free meal.La Posta de Mesilla has endured since.
On September 16, Mexican Independence Day, La Posta celebrates its 80th anniversary. “We were farm-to-table before it was cool,” says current owner Jerean Camuñez Hutchinson, Griggs Camuñez’s niece, who was born and raised in Las Cruces. The restaurant’s green and red chile comes from the Mesilla Valley. The onions, too. The hives where La Posta still sources its honey are right up the street.
La Posta hosts a weekend-long celebration as part of Old Mesilla’s Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta, where Camuñez Hutchinson and her husband, Tom Hutchinson, serve as grand marshals of the annual parade.
To commemorate La Posta’s anniversary, the Fountain Theater, next door, will show movies released in 1939 every Thursday and Saturday of the month throughout 2019. Check the restaurant’s daily and weekend specials to score a great meal at a 1939 price.
La Posta de Mesilla
2410 Calle De San Albino, Mesilla;