On May 26th, Chope’s Town Cafe and Bar in La Mesa was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
What started off as a then-student project by New Mexico State University graduate Addison Warner and NMSU graduate student Norma Hartell has flourished into a year-long effort to land “Chope’s” on the National Register of Historic Places.
The history of this family cafe and bar goes back 100 years, when Longina Benavides opened a small dining room in her home to area residents. Later her son José “Chope” Benavides and his wife Guadalupe would take over the café and build a bar next door. Today, the bar and cafe owned and operated by the couple’s daughters who were raised in the café.
Steven Moffson, State and National Register Coordinator with the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, says the national reviewer was excited to learn about how long the restaurant has operated and still is kept in original style.
“He was just amazed that a family-owned restaurant would continue to be in business for over 100 years. He thought that was really extraordinary, because restaurants are like other building types often get changed over time to keep up with fashion or whatever styles are popular, but Chope’s has really maintained a lot of its original appearance from when it was opened as a restaurant in 1915.”
Chope's is awarded New Mexico designation.