Tune-up Cafe

Jeremy's rating: ★★★★

A homey space dishing up delicious El Salvadoran, American, and New Mexican cuisine with fresh and local ingredients. Just be prepared to have to wait and for larger crowds.

Jen's rating: ★★★★☆

The outdoor area was so cute that I suffered through the slightly chilly weather just to enjoy the brightly colored chairs and floral-covered tables. I wasn't the biggest fan of the heavy mexican flavors, or maybe it was because I'm not the biggest eggs benedict fan but went for the risk anyway, but I didn't rave about my specific dish quite as much as Jeremy. The ingredients were fresh though and the staff (while busy) were incredibly friendly.


Nestled in among terracotta residential streets nearly two miles away from the central plaza, Tune-Up Cafe feels infinitely far from the bustle of the commercial central of Santa Fe. 

Away from the crowds of tourists perusing art and locals weaving their way through farmer's markets to buy the best freshly roasted green and red chilies, Tune-Up is a reprieve from the city's surprisingly large crowds; although, that is not to say that Tune-Up doesn't get awful crowded too.

Of course, reprieve or not, what ultimately matters at a place like Tune-Up is the food. 

And oh my, does that not disappoint. Run by the couple Charlotte and Jesús Rivera, Tune-Up serves up its own unique rehash of classic American, El Salvadoran, and New Mexican cuisine (meaning, at least when we were there, plenty of freshly roasted green and red chili sauce on everything — sweet Jesus, yes). 

This means that the brunch menu runs the gambit from Irish oatmeal to banana leaf wrapped tamales, from local lamb burgers to huevos El Salvadorenos. While ordering, which is done directly at the counter in front of the kitchen, Jen and I had mini-existential crises over exactly what dish suited our hunger pains and captured our feelings for the day. 


Ultimately, I went with a daily special of local duck hash, served with a cheesy potato pancake, red and green chili sauces, and a scramble of local vegetables. The amazing medley of flavors came damn close to killing me. Jen's order, of a New Mexican-twist on Eggs Benedict came equally close. 

Beyond the rave worthy food, Tune-Up is also an adorable little spot. With shared tables indoors and an outdoor eating area shaded by a gazebo roof and a mixture of flowering bushes and tall grasses, the cafe had a funkily elegant feeling. Even as the line of customers waiting to place an order came close to spilling outside towards where Jen and I were sitting, service remained speedy and Tune-Up continued to feel almost homey.