Rita and Michael Linder established Caffe Greco in 1992. They share their love of cooking with their family, chef, wait staff and clients.
Caffe Greco gets its name from Rita and Michael’s life experiences. When Rita was a teenager, she spent many years studying opera at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. It was during that time that she fell in love with Antico Caffee Greco, a historic landmark cafe, which opened in 1760 on Via del Condotti in Rome, Italy. It is the oldest bar in Rome. Everydy Rita, who is of Spanish, French and Greek descent, would enjoy a cappucino with her friends or family.
After graduating, she moved to New York, where, she met the love of her life, Michael Linder, an opera singer and cantor, who performed at Carnegi Hall and also had a passion for music and food as a maitre’d. They got married and had two children, Carl and Julia. In 1987, they came to Santa Fe and fell in love with La Villa de la Santa Fe de San Francisco. Next, they moved here. Eventually, they met Chef Ray and created a mutual bond. “From the minute we met Chef Ray, it was if we had met family.” Rita said. Chef Ray’s, (who learned to cook at the age of eight-years-old from his grandmother), is a seasoned chef who brings his knowledge of authentic New Mexican food to the table. Growing up in Las Vegas, NM, as a child, he spent many hours watching the secrets of the New Mexican kitchen unfold.
Other members of the family you will see in the restaurant include Rita and Michael’s daughter, Julia Bell, who married Lance Bell (whose family owned and ran Bell’s Department Store for 58 years in Santa Fe) who is a cook and food writer, and their granddaughter, Jacqueline Bell, who has been cooking since she was three years old. Sometimes you will find Jacqueline singing and playing piano in our red room. Next, we have Michael and Rita’s son Carl, who is an attorny in Miami and his wife Robin and their two daughters, Hannah and Zoe. We’re just a big family affair and that’s how we like it.
Finally, ask us about our Green Chile Cheeseburger, which was a finalist in the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown Contest. Next, our Frito Pie has been named “Best Frito Pie” by Edible Magazine Reader’s favorite and our Green Chile Stew, which was named as one of the best Green Chile Stews in town by the Santa Fe New Mexican’s Pasatiempo food review.