David Reyes came to the United States from Mexico in 2005 with an inspiration and a dream. The dream was to finish college. His family suggested California as a destination, as they had family in San Diego. But Reyes had other plans. “I was very independent my whole life since I was fourteen, and I was like, I’m just going to go my own way.” Lucky for us, Reyes felt another calling—New Mexico.
The inspiration was to make food. “I’ve been cooking since I was eight,” recalls Reyes, who is now the chef at Bike In Coffee at Old Town Farm in Albuquerque. Reyes grew up very poor in Tijuana, cooking for his brothers while his mother worked. He began to experiment with flavors to make his family dinners more interesting. During this period, a thought came to Reyes: “I need to start making my own beans, but not just beans—I have to fry some chorizo and throw the beans in it.” Thus began a cooking journey that Chef Reyes remains on to this day. “I didn’t know it was going to help me this much,” he tells me.
Chef Reyes has been cooking at Bike In Coffee since 2018, incorporating his Mexican heritage into the menu with great success. Anyone who’s had his tacos, breakfast burritos, or posole can attest to their outstanding quality and flavor. They weren’t always going to be part of the menu; the original idea was to serve soups, salads, and sandwiches. “I was like, too late, I already got some stuff for tacos,” says Reyes, who once again had other plans. The idea was to use up the ingredients for tacos and move back to soups and salads, but the tacos proved to be too popular. “Lanny [one of the co-owners] was getting two shrimp tacos [a day] for a whole year,” says Reyes.
“This is a place that I can say I fall in love,” Reyes declares. “I love cooking, I love bartending, I love the restaurant business, but this is the place that I fall in love.” When I ask what he loves specifically, he says, “The ambience, the people, people biking. I mean, that’s a very unique thing in Albuquerque.” Reyes’s positivity and incredible culinary creations are two of the elements that draw me to Bike In Coffee. You can absolutely feel the good vibes come through the food.
Another thing that keeps me coming back to Bike In Coffee is his chorizo crepe. The dish itself is simple enough, a tasty and savory selection of made-from-scratch chorizo enveloped in crepe goodness, with an egg on top. It’s only available during the winter months, so now is the time to sample this incredible dish. I bring new friends to try it each time. Rare is the person whose life isn’t changed by the chorizo crepe.
Add to this Reyes’s posole, one of the most popular dishes at Bike In Coffee. Served in a generously sized bowl and brimming with Chimayó red chile and nice chunks of pork and hominy, it, too, is life changing, especially on a cold winter morning. Reyes has been experimenting with a new vegan posole that features spinach, kale, avocado, and cilantro. He gave me a sample. It’s very good and very refreshing, a surprising feeling coming from posole.
While most people think of Bike In Coffee as a warm-weather destination, it’s an excellent option for winter as well. The porch is covered and heated, and there are fire pits in the back for those who want to luxuriate in the afternoon sun; I’ve noticed it gets surprisingly comfortable back there. “In the back of the kitchen, that’s where the sun hits; it’s always warm,” says Reyes. Also of note, you can always drive and park in the colder months as opposed to cycling—and when I did drive, they didn’t charge the usual five-dollar parking fee, perhaps because of the colder weather. Honestly, I’d gladly pay it, a small price for the peace and tranquility that Bike In Coffee brings to my soul.
Speaking of which, Bike In Coffee will change your mood, for the better. “Everyone is safe here,” Reyes says of the community, “If you’re having a bad day, the farm will change it. For some reason, [if] we have people who are sad for whatever reason, Bike In Coffee will change it.” I can testify to the power of Bike In Coffee; I have ridden to the farm melancholic and left feeling that a burden had been lifted.
Bike In Coffee is a magical place for both food and ambience, and Chef Reyes plays a large role in that. He brings the same love he had cooking for his brothers to the farm now as the head chef. His mantra: “If I’m going to put something on a plate, it’s going to be good for your body.”
Note: Effective January 10, Bike In Coffee’s winter hours are Wednesday–Sunday, 9am–2pm.
Jason Asenap is a Comanche and Muscogee writer and filmmaker based in Albuquerque. You can find his writing in Variety, Esquire, Alta Journal, Grist, High Country News, Salon, and New Mexico Magazine.