Welcome to the Legal Tender Restaurant. This is the real Old West, where gunfighters, gamblers and beautiful ladies have dined, danced and dallied. Located in the old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Junction of Lamy, the restaurant, located within The Lamy Railroad & History Museum, occupies the site of German immigrant John Pflueger’s general store, which he built in 1881.
The Legal Tender faithfully exemplifies Victorian atmosphere. The walls of the saloon display one of the most valuable collections of period American paintings and prints of any restaurant in Santa Fe area. The hand-carved cherry wood bar, imported from Germany by Mr. Pflueger has witnessed a multitude of famous and infamous characters who have passed through Lamy over the last one hundred years. Even Billy the Kid is said to have been brought here in chain, by the lawmen who recaptured him after his daring escape from Lincoln County Jail.
Beginning in the mid-fifties, the establishment was known as the Pink Garter Saloon. Folks came from miles around for the vaudeville, can-can and carrying on. Over-enthusiastic cowboys were known to ride into the Pink Garter with guns blazing, just for the fun of it.
Renamed The Legal Tender in 1969, when it became one of the network of Tinne’s restaurants housed in historic buildings around the state and owned by Robert O.l Anderson. Its immediate success as a restaurant soon necessitated the addition of the Americana Room. Although a relatively new structure, the beautiful tinned ceiling once graced the original Hilton Hotel in San Francisco. The large windows were a part of the first train station in Albuquerque. The impressive drapes, and the splendid chandeliers which command the center of the room are from the Presidental Suite of Chicago’s Sherman Hotel.
In 1996 Richard Fisher updated and reopened it. The Legal Tender Restaurant and Saloon closed in 1998. The Lamy Railroad and History Museum a 501(c)3 non-profit was founded in 2002 and in 2006 it was moved into the Legal Tender.
The various ghosts which still inhabit the building seem quite oblivious to our intrusion and never harmed anyone. The “Man in Black”, also known as Ramon, is reputed to have picked up a stray bullet during a gambling dispute. The “Lady in White” is occasionally seen gliding through a room in a splendid white Victorian dress. Her story and that of the child in a long gown are unknown.