It’s not often young people return to their hometown after college to run a business. But that’s just what Melissa Paternoster has done. She is the new owner of the Blue Window Restaurant in Los Alamos, NM, having taken ownership in June of this summer and quickly acquired her liquor license for the restaurant.
A native of Los Alamos, Ms. Paternoster is a graduate of Los Alamos High School and has attended the University of New Mexico.
“I was born and raised in Los Alamos, and have always loved it here,” she says. “In the past few years, I’ve worked off and on in various restaurants in both Los Alamos and Albuquerque while attending the University of New Mexico. I started waiting tables at the Blue Window two years ago while attending college.”
“I always thought it was just such a neat little place,” she says. “I thought the inside was just as cute as could be and I thought the menu was unique and exciting. In addition, I loved seeing all our regular customers who come in three or four times a week.”
Owning a restaurant was something that Melissa had always dreamed about, but the idea seemed rather unrealistic at such a young age, so she decided to take the traditional route and go to college. She took some business courses at UNM and finally settled on pursuing an Enviromental Science degree. She was getting read for her last semester when the opportunity to purchase the restaurant arose. Then it was two weeks until she went to the bank for a business loan.
“When people find out that I’m the new owner, one of the first things I usually hear is ‘˜what are you planning on changing?’ But I bought the Blue Window because I loved it. Over time, I would like to add my own touches on things, but I have no plans to change things drastically,” she says.
Melissa is planning to incorporate a seasonal speciality menu in addition to the regular menu, with a focus on fresh ingredients and local products. “I would also like to put on some special events, such as wine dinners, wine tasting, and entertainment events,” she says.
“I hope to make the Blue Window Bistro a place that Los Alamos residents enjoy coming to for a variety of special occasions.”
The first special occasion Melissa is planning will be a “Juke Joint Dance Party” on Friday, Sept. 17 featuring Cedric Burnside and LIghtnin’ Malcolm. The event is a production of Gordon’s Concerts.
Dinner will be served from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and after 7 p.m. tables will be cleared away for a dance floor and a $12 cover charge will begin. Appetizers, bar food and beverages will be served until 9 p.m.
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