Biz Buzz: Trail Rider Pizza expanding in new location

After 12 and a half years in its spot next to Molly’s Bar in Tijeras, Trail Rider Pizza is moving up the road and expanding its offerings.

Owner Ashlea Allen said the original plan had been to move to the other side of the Molly’s parking lot with a new building, but that deal fell through just days before the building was to be delivered.

After looking around the area for a new location, she fell in love with the kitchen in the space next door to Greenside Cafe, formerly home to China Best restaurant. Currently wait times during peak weekend hours can mean a wait of up to two hours, as their pizza oven holds only six pies at a time. The kitchen alone is bigger than the whole space currently occupied by Trail Rider.

Allen projects a September opening in the new location, along with an expanded menu. Trail Rider will be applying for a beer and wine license as it will now have a dining room for patrons, and plans to include delivery “down the line,” she said.

Allen and her husband Elton adopted a vegan diet about a year ago, and the restaurant has a large vegan following, accounting for 15 to 20 percent of its business, she said. New vegan offerings are in the works, including a vegan burger.

Trail Rider also has a very popular gluten-free option. Allen said servers ask patrons whether they are gluten-free because of allergies or personal preference. If it is allergies, the kitchen has a dedicated gluten-free area, with dedicated utensils and other special care taken in preparation.

The new location will increase the restaurant’s size from 600 square feet to 2,100 square feet, and that means expanding staff needs as well. Allen is taking applications at the restaurant’s current location, which will remain open until the new space is in operation.

In addition to its specialty offerings in “the expanding market of vegan and gluten-free,” Trail Rider still caters to the “meat lovers” crowd, Allen said.

For a full menu, visit trailriderpizza.com, or contact the restaurant at 505-281-6068. Updates on the new location are on Facebook.

Trail Rider Pizza is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays and until 9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.