Melissa Paternoster was working as a hostess at the Blue Window Bistro when she learned the owner was interested in selling it.
“I loved everything about it from my first day, so when I found out the owner was ready to sell, it didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted to buy it.”
Paternoster has owned the bistro for five years. In that time she has embraced the diners who come to her restaurant.
“Our customers … we are so blessed to have so much support from the community. I remember being closed for a week, a few years back, due to a collapsed sewer line under the building. We were closed but I was here every day trying to keep repairs moving, answering the phones, and I will always remember some of the phone calls we received and the support we received when we finally reopened.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to know that so many people value our presence here in the community, and that we are a part of so many people’s lives. Our customers are so much more than customers, they are our family and our friends.”
The Blue Window Bistro and Paternoster both have strong ties to Los Alamos. Paternoster was born and raised in Los Alamos and the Blue Window Bistro has been in operation for 30 years.
She returned to Los Alamos,“because I love it here. I love the people that live here, I love being close to the mountains, I love seeing deer and elk moving through my yard, I love being able to escape to the cool mountains when it’s hot in the summer.”
Paternoster employs 18 people. Most have worked at the restaurant at least a year.
“I have the best staff in the world, and I can’t imagine doing it without their support,” she said.
“They are all incredibly talented. My chef, Raul, has been with me since day one. We are all very close, and I think that’s part of the reason we are so successful. I want all my employees to feel encouraged, supported, comfortable and most importantly, to enjoy what they do. If my employees are happy here every day, it shows up in everything they do.”
“I think a lot of people are unaware about the quality of our food, and just how much attention goes into our product,” Paternoster said.
“I’m very proud to say that 100 percent of our beef comes from one specific ranch. This ranch is outside of Albuquerque and all of us have been to the ranch and met the owner, so we know what it’s about and what we are selling to our customers.
“It’s 100 percent natural, 100 percent source verified and one of the most environmentally responsible beef producers that I have found,” she said.
“A lot of our products are produced right here in New Mexico, and we grow a lot of our own produce in the summer months,” Paternoster said. “We source from a lot of different companies, many of which are small, locally owned businesses.”
The Blue Window Bistro is at 813 Central Ave., in the Mari Mac shopping center. It is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and dinner is served 5-8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 5-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
For more information, visit labluewindowbistro.com or call 505.662.6305.