ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) — A local film production company is shining a light on hidden gems of Albuquerque businesses. Through “Enchanted Foods of ABQ,” Sopapilla Productions also hopes to showcase the resilience of these small business owners. When acting roles were hard to come by, Keith Allen and Felicia Masias decided to start their own production company, rooted here in New Mexico.
“Anyone who starts a business has to start somewhere,” Masias said, speaking of their business compared to many others who come from out of state. “Come in, shoot, then leave, and we want to make sure we get in, we shoot, and we stay.”
One of their big goals was to employ all New Mexico crews. However, they also use it to showcase state enterprises. “It evolved into this thing where the whole point of the business is to use our platform to try and elevate small businesses, local businesses,” Allen said. “That’s what we wanted to do with the show and what became our company’s mission.”
They are now launching their second season of “Enchanted Foods of ABQ”. The series shows the hidden gems of the city’s small businesses, while depicting the resilience of owners throughout the pandemic.
“We offer six restaurants. We have everything from an 8-pound burrito to Korean fusion to an up-and-coming Michelin-inspired chef, we have a teahouse, a speakeasy, and we even have lowriders,” Allen said. “We’ve gone through a long list, but our goal is to find super unique and super delicious little businesses.”
One of the new season stores is The Ivy Tearoom near North Valley. The tearoom was hit hard by the pandemic closures just as they were settling into their new home.
“The first time we had to close our doors was devastating,” said Amanda Ng, owner of The Ivy Tearoom. “We started selling tea online, we started doing take-out stuff. We did everything we could to survive that time. It was, honestly, the second stop, it was the one that really affected us.
The Tea Room appearance on the show will include everything from specialty tea and cocktails to outdoor igloos for the winter. Ng says it’s nice to see a production company focusing on local businesses. “We also want local television,” Ng said. “I think it’s such a special way to showcase businesses in a really fun way.”
The production is working with the One Albuquerque Virtual Visionaries program to make the series possible. They hope others will take away a key lesson. “Remember to shop and eat local,” Masias said. “That’s what keeps Albuquerque going.”
You can see the first episode of the new season and all past episodes on YouTube. The remaining episodes of the new season will air once a week.