Comfort is key at the new Nob Hill restaurant

Left to right, Butter owners Alex and Danielle Lamphier showcasing dishes from the Nob Hill restaurant menu. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Danielle Lamphier says no one makes meatballs and marinara like her grandmother.

“You wouldn’t have had a meatball like my grandmother’s,” she said.

That’s why her grandmother’s meatball recipe will be on the menu at Butter, a new restaurant at 3619 Copper NE. Although Danielle’s late grandmother couldn’t see the opening, her recipe will live on – repurposed as a meatball sub.

“I wish she were here,” Danielle said. “She would be an amazing little fire-eater in the kitchen.”

The restaurant, which opens on Fridays, is a family affair. Butter is owned and operated by Danielle and her daughter, Alex Lamphier, co-owner of Meateor Burgers at 505 Central Food Hall. And, Danielle’s mum will help in the kitchen on occasion.

“Nobody does it like nonna does,” Danielle said.

The initial menu concept was very different. A graduate of a culinary school, Alex imagined something “chic, shareable and… elevated”.

But the original menu didn’t seem right. The mother-daughter duo decided to change course and focus on comfort foods instead.

“When we first thought of this place, the menu wasn’t that – and it was very difficult and stressful…” Alex said. “And what we were going to do is completely different from what we are doing now. So it does good. It’s not that scary.

The soft opening menu will include fresh bread with blended butter, broccoli soup and a variety of sandwiches. When the restaurant opens in October, the couple will launch an expanded menu.

Butter’s meatball submarine, inspired by the recipe of co-owner Danielle Lamphier’s grandmother. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

“We want to bring all those comfort foods that we love and share them,” Danielle added. “So it’s not fast food. It’s… slow food, relaxed food.

Butter shares space with the Public House Wine Room, owned by High & Dry Brewing. The liquor license covers the entire property, so diners can enjoy Public House drinks and Butter’s food at the same time.

505 Central Food Hall is owned by developer Mark Baker. Baker is also a partner of High & Dry Brewing. Besides her work for Butter and Meateor, Danielle works for Baker as a property manager. When High & Dry began developing the Public House Wine Room, Baker approached her to see if she and her daughter were interested in opening a restaurant.

“We walked past and I was like, well, that’s really cool,” Alex said. “Nob Hill is just starting to re-open and become more of a place than it has been for the past few years. … It’s a fresh start here. And we’re going to be part of it.”

The moment was difficult; Alex had recently opened Meateor in 2020, and the couple had opened a floundering bakery. But, mother and daughter couldn’t pass up the opportunity to open Butter.

“I’ve been a single mother most of my life. And I always had really big dreams, but I didn’t have the money to make those dreams come true,” Danielle said. “And I feel like Alex and I were both in a position in our lives where we had savings accounts… This opportunity came up. And we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s go.

Danielle moved from Florida to Albuquerque when she was 10 years old. His father, Bob Lamphier, was then an assistant men’s basketball coach for the Lobos, and the family “put down roots” in the city.

She said she remembered going to Flying Star when it was still called Double Rainbow. Coffee was an inspiration for Butter’s decor.

“It was a space I often thought about because they had these huge wooden shelves full of beautiful magazines and things to read — and you were allowed to touch them,” Danielle said. “…And so, when we got the space, I went back there thinking about how many hours I spent in that place relaxing and reading and enjoying. And so that’s what I think of the space, you know, that people don’t just want to eat and leave, they want to hang out.

Danielle plans to bring her collection of books to the restaurant so that customers can eat and read.

Currently, the work of local artists Nick Woodall, Grace Nieman and Jake Salas hangs on the walls. Woodall also designed the distinctive metal stick of butter sign on the restaurant. The Lamphiers said the plan was to rotate featured artists every few months.

The duo want Butter to become a community space.

“So food brings us together; food is a party,” Danielle said. “…It’s much more family-friendly. It’s history for us. And it creates a place for my children and my grandchild.

The butter is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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