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25 Things Everyone Should Know About Frontier

Everyone knows Frontier Restaurant is a source of delicious eats. You might know it as a place where students get cheap eats or families enjoy Sunday breakfast or where you go for a hangover cure. But here are 25 things you ought to know about this Albuquerque icon.

1. Frontier Restaurant first opened in February of 1971. They're located at 2400 Central SE, right across from the University of New Mexico.

2. The restaurant started with just one room but today takes up half a block and can seat over 300 people.

3. The Frontier used to be open 24 hours a day. They had to scale down their hours back in October 2006 due to late-night unruliness. Now they're open from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week, with amended hours for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

4. The restaurant received a mention from the New York Times when they printed their "36 Hours in Albuquerque" article in October 2011, saying no trip to Albuquerque is complete without a meal at the Frontier.

5. Frontier's breakfast burrito won Albuquerque the Magazine's Burrito Brawl in 2011.

6. Frontier is a treasure trove of art. From the murals painted on the outside to the myriad of paintings and other decor inside, you could spend your entire mealtime just staring at the walls.

7. When you're in the room furthest east, look up. You'll see the ceiling and walls have been adorned with various rugs, leading some to dub it "The Rug Room."

8. Much of the art features John Wayne. Why? Because the owners like John Wayne. Simple as that.

9. The Frontier is owned by Larry and Dorothy Rainosek who came to Albuquerque by way of Austin.

10. They also own the chain of Frontier's sister restaurants, Golden Pride.

11. Frontier's menu used to have just 15 items. Now the menu boasts over 50 breakfast, lunch, and dinner items.

12. One of the most popular menu items is the Frontier Sweet Roll. One bite and you'll know why.

13. The famous sweet rolls have a lengthy history. They're based on the "Manske Roll," named after Roland Manske, a WWII German prisoner of war who first sold them in his restaurant in San Marcos, Texas. His restaurant and the recipe were bought by Larry Rainosek's brother, Gil Rainosek. Renamed Gil's Broiler, the Texas restaurant still serves the popular Manske Roll and the recipe is very similar to the sweet roll you'll find at Frontier.

14. Another Frontier favorite? The tortillas. Made fresh on an assembly line in-house, they can also be packed up and bought by the dozen.

15. Other items available in bulk include their chopped green chile, green chili stew, posole, green chile salsa, red chile, and carne adovada.

16. The best thing on the menu is the carne adovada burrito. (Okay, this one's more opinion than fact but the $2.15 burrito is a great value and my absolute favorite.)

17. You can quench your thirst using their super-fancy Coca-Cola machines, allowing you to dial in one of over 100 flavor combinations.

18. Vitamin C is available in the form of fresh-squeezed orange juice. You can see the orange-squeezing contraptions in action just behind the line of registers.

19. Frontier makes winters more bearable with hot cider, hot chocolate, cafe mochas, chai, and, of course, a regular cup of joe.

20. Pro tip: Small cauldrons filled with green chile salsa are available for free right next to the soda machines. By all means, smother away.

21. Frontier has had some famous visitors. The 2000 election brought Al Gore to Albuquerque where he shook hands with Frontier diners.

22. Adam Richman visited in 2011 for an episode of Man v. Food Nation.

23. In honor of Richman's visit, Frontier created the Adam Bonzana Burger: double cheese, double green chili, double bacon, and double beef (that's two quarter-pound patties).

24. When you visit, keep in mind there is parking available in the back. There's a 45-minute time limit but it's hard to judge how well that's enforced.

25. The lines can get pretty lengthy during peak hours but they move fast. When you're next in line, look for a register with a blinking green light. After ordering, you'll get a receipt with a number. That number will flash in red on the electronic signs they have placed throughout every dining room. Pick up your food at the front and enjoy.