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July 2024

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Courtesy Photo Left to Right: Aliyah Santistevan, Jennifer Vialpando, Rosie Turpin and Doris Santistevan

Rosie’s Smokehouse

Along Questa’s main highway, 522, changes are not common nor do they happen often. Over the past two decades, the many businesses located at 2422 Highway 522 have had different identities. None, however, are quite as dramatic and ambitious as the current venture underway.


Rosie’s Smokehouse is a family-owned, family-run business led by Questa local Rosie Turpin. Raised in Questa, Turpin then left for some time, living in Oklahoma and Colorado, but eventually she decided to follow her heart back to her hometown of Questa. Both of her parents, her siblings, and her family live in the community, so coming home was a natural transition for her.

Courtesy Photo Florine Vialpando, Rosie’s mother, is preparing for the official grand opening of Rosie’s Smokehouse on Saturday, June 22


“When I came home, I worked locally at the Wildcats Den under Jake and Jolton LaFore, then I worked for Miguel Rael. I always wanted to run my own restaurant in Questa and one day, my husband came home and told me he had rented the space at the Kiowa for me. That is what spurred us to move forward on our new venture,” Turpin says.


While the space is rented, Turpin and her husband quickly realized their new facility needed some upgrades. “The work we’ve put into this new facility is comprehensive. My husband is a skilled carpenter and handyman, so he’s made a lot of the major structural upgrades. Then I have my sister, Jennifer Vialpando, who has done some amazing art inside the restaurant, and my employee, Casey, who has helped us get our business ready to open. My mom, Florine Vialpando, and my aunt, Doris Santistevan, have also been instrumental in this new journey. I couldn’t have done any of this without them.”


Rosie’s Smokehouse had a soft opening over the Memorial Day holiday and the grand opening happened in June. “Our menu is going to offer locals and tourists diversity in their food options, unlike the other restaurants currently operating in town,” she says proudly.


Some menu options you can expect to see at Rosie’s Smokehouse include a variety of smoked meats, baked beans, bread, fries, cobblers and a special treat true to Turpin’s family traditions, canned pickles and jams.


“My grandma Carolina and grandpa Henry Cisneros used to can everything, and they taught me how to do it,” Turpin recalls emotionally. “I genuinely feel like my grandma guides my hand in canning foods, because they come out great every time.”


Turpin is excited to showcase her homemade jellies for customers to put on the fresh rolls. Her jellies of a specialized assortment include cranberry jalapeno, apricot, strawberry, and apple butter jam. “My cousins have the sweetest apples in their yard, it’s like they’re injected with sugar. I will be making apple butter jam with them.”


While Turpin is very excited about her new business, she is also equally excited about showcasing local student artists in her restaurant. “I want to give students a chance to showcase their art and sell it as well.”
When talking about her passion to own and operate a restaurant in her hometown, she is quick to say how connected she feels to her family and loved ones who lived and loved Questa. “I get emotional thinking of my grandparents who loved us so much and would show it through their food and cooking. That’s something my grandmother passed on to me. I may not have all the money in the world, but if you come to me, I will cook for you and that is how I show my love. That is a traditional trait I am so honored to share with our community.”

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