Charlie Bracken, left, with artist Danne DeBacker whose paintings will decorate the new CAT’s Café in the American Legion Building on Trinity Drive. Photo by Leland Lehman/ladailypost.com
One of the paintings by artist Danne DeBacker that will hang on a wall in the new CAT’s Café in the American Legion Building on Trinity Drive. Photo by Leland Lehman/ladailypost.com
Exit the Fabulous 50’s Diner and enter CAT’s Café! New owner, Charlie Bracken is hoping to open next week if permits can be secured by then. Bracken was the manager of the Fabulous 50’s Diner, located in the American Legion Hall on Trinity Drive (behind the former Hill Diner) until it closed this fall after the death of owner Peter Olivas.
“I felt lost when Mr. Olivas passed away and the restaurant closed,” Bracken said. “The Legion asked me if I was interested in taking over the space and I decided I could do it. It’s scary. But exciting!”
CAT’s stands for Charlie and Tracy’s. Tracy is Charlie’s wife. Bracken has changed the décor to reflect a homey café atmosphere. The interior will be decorated with paintings by local artist Danne DeBacker. DeBacker’s mural at the Legion Hall is an ongoing project and those visiting the Post have enjoyed watching his progress.
Bracken is tinkering with the menu, but promises he will continue to serve 50’s Diner favorites like brisket and fish and chips as well as breakfast items all day.
Bracken has been in the restaurant business since he got his first job at a fish fry joint at age 15. He moved to Los Alamos in 2000 to be near his mother and other family members, but his Los Alamos roots go much further back. His mom attended high school in Los Alamos and his grandfather helped build the Omega Bridge.
In addition to running the restaurant, Bracken is attending Northern New Mexico College. He’ll receive an AA degree in May and then pursue a bachelor’s degree, with plans to eventually become a drug and alcohol counselor.
CAT’s Café will be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bracken plans to open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays soon.
A grand opening is scheduled for Jan. 31. The date was chosen because it is the birthday of Peter Olivas. “He was instrumental in getting me back into this business,” Bracken said. “I want to honor him.”
Paintings by artist Danne DeBacker decorate the walls at the new CAT’s Café in the American Legion Building on Trinity Drive. Photo by Leland Lehman/ladailypost.com