Someone’s In the Kitchen at the Cowden Café

Museum-goers who wouldn’t mind a little nosh with their exhibits have reason to celebrate the re-opening of the History  Museum’s Cowden Café. Someone’s In the Kitchen, a longtime Santa Fe catering company, has begun serving light breakfasts and lunches in the second-floor space with a fabulous outdoor patio overlooking downtown Santa Fe.

Richard Derwostyp (“Just call me Richard,” he says, for obvious reasons) has owned and operated Someone’s in the Kitchen for 20 years.

“It’s going to be simple salads, sandwiches,” he said of the Cowden Café fare. “Some of them won’t be that simple, and some will have a Southwestern edge.

Typical lunch offerings might include gazpacho, smoked-turkey-and-pepper-jack cheese sandwiches, and salads like a Southwest Caesar; spinach with apples, Maytag blue cheese and pecans; and a chef salad. Service will be casual, with orders taken at the counter. With a minimum of two days’ advance notice, the café can prepare sack lunches for groups of visitors. The number to call for group orders is 505-424-8209.

The café is open from 10 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday through Sunday, with lunches from 11:30 am to 3 pm, and drinks, cookies and pastries until 4:30 pm. Lunches will cost $7-$13, and Richard will also have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages and breakfast pastries. Diners don’t need to pay museum admission, unless they’d also like to wander the exhibits. Besides good food and a great view of downtown Santa Fe from its balcony patio, the café has free wireless.

Set on the museum’s second floor, the cafe closed April 1 when its previous operators, the owners of the Plaza Restaurant, decided to focus on repairing their fire-damaged restaurant. A request for proposals was issued for another operator and resulted in a contract for Someone’s In the Kitchen through October, giving Derwostyp an opportunity to see how well his current operation adjusts to the space.

“Richard was the most responsive in trying to work with us and our needs,” said Dr. Frances Levine, director of the museum.

The café is named for New Mexico’s Cowden family who, from 1883 to 1915, ran the JAL Ranch (for which the southeastern town of Jal is named). The JAL was the open-range home to 40,000 head of cattle and a part of New Mexico history that included the likes of Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight, skirmishes with Comanches, and tales of gutting out the pioneer life in dugouts and covered wagons. At its peak, the JAL occupied much of what is now Lea County, east and south into Texas.

So come on up to the Cowden and enjoy some tasty food from Someone’s in the Kitchen. (Just for the sake of it, and given the name of the new cafe operator, we just couldn’t resist adding this image from the Photo Archives of former First Lady Susie Miles doing her very best — and very prescient — June Cleaver imitation.)

Susie Miles, wife of John E. Miles, in the kitchen at the Governor’s Mansion. Miles served as New Mexico governor from 1939 to 1943. Photo by T. Harmon Parkhurst. Courtesy Photo Archives at the Palace of the Governors, No. 54376.

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