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Chope’s reopens restaurant for takeout after more than two years not taking food orders

LA MESA – After two years of their doors being shut, Chope’s Bar & Café is once again taking food orders.

The family-owned Mexican food restaurant in La Mesa has more than a century of history in southern Doña Ana County and is a popular stop along Highway 28 for both those from New Mexico and Texas.

Restaurant owners Amelia Rivas, Cecilia Yañez, and Margarita Martinez — daughters of José “Chope” Benavides and all age 74 or older — made the decision in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic to remain fully closed, not wanting to put themselves or their staff at risk. While other businesses offered customers the option of picking up food for takeout, they chose to keep their kitchen closed.

Staff work quickly in the kitchen of Chope’s Bar and Café on April 15, 2022.

When more residents became vaccinated, the three sisters said they felt it was safer to reopen, albeit slowly,

In October 2021, the bar portion of the business reopened, but without the option of ordering food. Now, just over two years after it closed, customers can order takeout from a limited menu. They can also order and eat at the bar — which is in a separate building from the restaurant.