Additionally, on September 16th, 1939, of the same year, on the corner of a dirt street plaza in Mesilla, New Mexico, where in 1854, a historical ceremony was held recognizing the consummation of the Gadsden Purchase, in a building that for many years, operated as a Butterfield Stagecoach Stop and the Corn Exchange Hotel, a twenty-five year old Katy Griggs, niece of one of the more renown merchant families in Mesilla, opened a “little chile joint” and named it La Posta. Her uncle, Edgar Griggs, loved his niece and appreciated her energetic personality so much, that he actually sold his young niece the property that would be La Posta for “one dollar, love and affection”. With just four tables on a dirt floor, her mother cooking in the back of the same room with no running water, Katy greeted guests and manned the cash register. Those that visited La Posta that day remember the large crowd who came to taste her New Mexican food dishes prepared from century old recipes handed down over the years from the Fountain, Chavez and Griggs Families. Katy welcomed each table with a free bowl of tostadas and chile, a tradition she started in the Mesilla Valley in 1939 and which we today refer to as “chips and salsa” – a staple of the Southwestern diet. As the story goes, Katy ran out of food that first day a few hours before closing. She tearfully apologized to those who ventured to Mesilla to taste her cuisine, vowing never to let that happen again. Katy quickly gained a reputation as a hard working, shrewd but smart business woman. Over the years, La Posta became a favorite dining spot for locals and visitors alike. It was not unusual to find yourself dining next to a head of state or visiting dignitaries. Rumor has it that such famous personalities, as Sam Donaldson, Val Kilmer, Cheryl Crow, Sam Elliott and George Foreman to mention a few, have dined here on occasion. In fact, a few former Presidents have enjoyed La Posta “To Go”!
But clearly, this was Katy’s “chile joint”. Until she passed away in 1993, you would still find her in the kitchen or visiting with guests, sharing a few jokes that today might make a sailor blush. More often than not, you could find Katy slipping out the back door and loading up the trunk of her car with freshly prepared food to deliver to those in need. She was quite the lady!
In 1996, Katy’s great niece, Jerean Camuñez Hutchinson and husband Tom (Hutch) acquired the property and business, thus, keeping it in “La Familia”. This year, several presidents, several football and baseball champs, and many movie classics later – La Posta proudly celebrates its 80th birthday. If Katy were alive today, she would humbly attribute the 80 years of success to God’s blessings, “luck” and having wonderful and dedicated people work for her, some of whom have been part of the La Posta family for 10, 20, 30, 40 and yes over 50 years! She would also be pleasantly surprised to learn that only the second U.S. Navy ship (SSN 779) in the history of the state to be named the USS New Mexico, recently named their galley after her “chile joint” – yes, Katy’s chile joint, La Posta — from a small town in Mesilla, NM to La Posta “down under” – now serving aboard the USS New Mexico submarine 3000 leagues under the sea.
We are honored to share the history of La Posta with you and delighted you took the time to learn a little bit more about the historic and enduring treasure that is La Posta de Mesilla. We always strive to carry on Katy’s legacy of community outreach, great service, distinct & tasty New Mexican cuisine with the most creative & finest margaritas around! For more than 80 years La Posta de Mesilla has provided the best in Mexican food, steaks, tequila and margaritas – served daily in a 150 plus year old historic adobe on the National Register of Historic Places! Which is why we are –