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“There’s no way RAD’s not coming back. We are reopening,” said RAD Retrograde Bar and Grill owner Alex Macias.
Macias and his wife, Mariana, decided to close RAD at the beginning of the pandemic, even before the state order to close businesses. They opened the business at 201 N. Main St. in downtown Las Cruces June 26, 2019 and had about 50 employees when they closed last March.
“Let’s keep the customers safe,” was the Macias’ great concern, he said. “So, we closed our doors before we had to.”
“This is a horrible thing we’re going through,” Macias said, adding that his wife has lost four family members to COVID-19. The couple and their children live in El Paso.
“Our main concern is, we don’t want to be part of the problem. We want to be part of the solution,” he said. “Let’s put things in perspective. We want to reopen, but people are dying. That’s why RAD has been very quiet about everything. Let’s get to a place where we’re safe.”
Because food sales do not comprise 51 percent of its business, RAD has had to follow state health restrictions imposed on bars rather than restaurants. That’s been frustrating, Macias said, especially when breweries have been allowed to reopen.
“We haven’t made a big fuss about,” he said, but added, “It’s been financially horrible for us.”
Macias said he and his wife have just reopened the bar they own in El Paso, and they hope to be able to reopen RAD in Las Cruces soon. As to a specific re-opening date? “Ask the governor,” Macias said.
The closure has given the Maciases an opportunity to think about ways to improve RAD, he said.
“We have all this time,” he said. “How can we make this place better?”
Renovations are underway on the first floor, he said, and there are also changes being made to the menu. Later, RAD will continue with its pandemic-interrupted plans to renovate its second floor.
About 2,000 square feet upstairs will be converted into a place for “the real gamer games,” Macias said. It will include another bar, a pool table, dart boards and retro arcade games.
And, Macias is planning to open another location at Santa Fe Place Mall on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe – “a true ‘80s, inside-the-mall arcade,” he said.
“I’m so excited, I can’t contain myself about that,” Macias said.
“We’re really looking forward to the day when we can reopen,” said the NMSU graduate. “We want to do something great for the community. Las Cruces has just been so good to us.”