Coffee shop, gift shop and possible motel planned at Longhorn Cafe and Motel in Glenrio

The Route 66 ghost town of Glenrio at the Texas-New Mexico border suddenly is showing life again for the first time in more than 40 years.

Glenrio Properties bought land on both sides of the border in the town and plan to build a coffee shop, gift shop, RV park and possibly a motel using the remaining bones of the Longhorn Cafe and Motel, knowns for its crumbling sign that states it’s the first and last motel in Texas, depending on which side you’re driving.

Glenrio Properties is Lance Ollinger of Groom, Texas, and Gabi Tuschak of Austin, Texas, which purchased the properties in December and January.

Long-term, Ollinger said in a phone interview they hope to reopen a restaurant at the site.

Because New Mexico recently legalized recreational marijuana, Ollinger said they’re also “exploring options” of having a dispensary there in the closed post office building. Ollinger admitted, however, that part of the plan initially was not foremost on their minds.

If a weed shop happens in Glenrio, it would be the easternmost location in New Mexico off Interstate 40.

Ollinger said he and his partner, whom he came to know because she’s dating an old friend of his, want to incorporate as much of the salvageable structure of the Longhorn as possible.

“There’s so much history, we’re excited, for sure,” he said.

A temporary chain-link fence was erected around the Longhorn property. Workers from Amarillo were busy Monday and Tuesday tearing off the rotted roof of the restaurant and motel. Ollinger said he and his partner would assess whether their plans to revive the motel are feasible once the roof is removed.

Roxann Travis, who lives in the village, said in a telephone interview it would be the first business to open in Glenrio in most than 40 years.

Glenrio never had much more than 100 people during its existence, but it remained a busy town that served travelers on Route 66 for nearly 50 years.

The town shriveled rapidly once I-40 bypassed it. Fewer than 10 people live there now.

Glenrio was added to the National Register of Historic Places about 15 years ago.

It was reportedly where a number of scenes from “The Grapes of Wrath” were filmed. Also, Glenrio also was a big influence on the Pixar crew when it was doing research for the 2006 “Cars” animated movie.

UPDATE 2/22/2022: Here’s an updated story from the Quay County Sun.

(Hat tip to Nick Gerlich; image of the Longhorn Cafe and Motel today)

2 thoughts on “Coffee shop, gift shop and possible motel planned at Longhorn Cafe and Motel in Glenrio

  1. This is fantastic news! I wondered about the fence when I was there a week or two ago. Maybe they’ll restore the little border marker as part of their development.

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