A new bar is set to open in Tucumcari on Friday at 4 p.m.
Mike Awais, Pakistan native and owner of the Tristar Inn Xpress hotel, was preparing for his hotel bar's opening on Wednesday. He emphasized that Friday's opening was not a "grand" opening as his planned restaurant will not be open.
"It's going to be a very soft opening," Awais said.
Awais said he came to Tucumcari six years ago in hopes of opening a successful business and stimulating the city's commerce, which he feels is lacking.
"(Tucumcari) doesn't look like it's part of the United States except when you get your bills. We've got 18th-century income and 22nd-century bills," Awais said. "I hope I do leave a mark."
Awais' hotel is located 245 and 1/4 feet away from Mesalands Community College. State liquor laws prohibit liquor sales within 300 feet of school, church and military facilities.
On Feb. 25, the Tucumcari City Commission approved a waiver for Awais to open his bar at his hotel, and state authorities subsequently approved his liquor license application.
"The city was very cooperative with me," Awais said.
Awais said the bar will be open only to adults 21 and older until his hotel restaurant is ready for business, which he says should happen within the next few weeks. When the restaurant opens, Awais said he will serve minors food if they are accompanied by a guardian.
He did not say what food he will serve, but promised that his fare would be distinct.
"Tacos and burritos you can buy at Allsup's. Why make them here? It's going to be something different," Awais said.
Awais, who has lived in New Mexico since coming to Clovis 11 years ago, said he hopes to keep his business running in Tucumcari on a long-term basis.