Belen

Remember the taste of a frosted mug of A&W Root Beer? By next summer, Belen residents are going to be able to enjoy that taste, and more, again.

Belen businessman Paul Baca announced on Thursday that plans are underway to bring a Kicks 66 gas station/convenience store and restaurant to Belen’s South Main Street.

“It will be like the Texico/Wendy’s in Los Lunas,” Baca said. “We will have a Phillips 66 gas station/convenience store and automated carwash with an A&W Root Beer/Long John Silvers restaurant.”

This will be the first such combination of a convenience store and these specific restaurants in New Mexico. The closest Long John Silvers/A&W restaurant like this is in Lubbock, Texas.

“We saw the need for this type of business in Belen, and we had the opportunity to do it,” Baca said of the $2.3 million investment. “I think this will really be an asset for Belen.”

Baca plans to demolish the Casitas at Mountain View motel at 1304 S. Main Street to clear the 2.8 acres for the 55,000 square foot building. Since Baca purchased the motel and invested $100,000 to refurbish the facility, he said it just hasn’t had the steady business that he desires for the property.

“We tried the concept of the motel, and it just hasn’t been great. So we decided to do something else,” he said. “Loretta (Baca’s wife) will be the general manager of the convenience store/restaurant. We will hire managers for the convenience store and restaurant.”

Baca does plan to leave the White Way Café adjacent to the new $2.3 million business.

“I’m going to preserve the integrity of the White Way Café, since it is a favorite place for people to go eat breakfast and lunch,” he said.

The ground-breaking for the facility will be sometime in December, according to Baca. “Once we begin building, it will be 90 to 120 days before we are open.”

The gas station’s ‘pay-at-the-pumps’ will be open 24 hours, with the convenience store and restaurant having business hours.

The automatic carwash will be the first one in Belen as well.

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Jane Moorman