Church Street Cafe

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If you can’t beat them, try to be helpful!

Spirits can claim to be the CEO of remodeling.



This 1709, 18 room Hacienda has been transformed into the upscale Church Street Cafe with lovely inside and outside dining, that embrace the Albuquerque Spanish influence with a true New Mexico feel. Inside, some of the original rooms, now dining areas, have the original thick walls, and wood beam ceilings, a traditional ceramic fireplace/oven, some lovely antique furniture and pictures. The great room with at least 15 ft, wood beam ceilings, has more Spanish decor, a traditional ceramic fireplace/oven, mosaic table tops, and a lovely tile floor. To go with the mosiac table tops, are lovely wood carved chairs with an orange/brown tinted stain.

The patio area is a wonderful place with hanging flower baskets, potted flowers and a fountain. Strolling guitar plays provide appropriate music. Tables have umbrellas, while other table are under a lattice.




This structure was built around 1706. The tell-tale signs are the kind of bricks that were used and the thickness of the walls that indicate the structure’s age. In 1706, long before a drainage system was installed in 1820, the swamp around the Rio Grande River provided the building material for structures;a type of adobe brick called Terrones. In structures built in the 1700s’ the walls were built very thick. The Casa de Ruiz structure was built with walls over two feet thick that kept out the winter cold, and the heat in the summer.

For 200 years, this oldest structure in Albuquerque was the family beloved forever home of the Ruiz family, probably a founding family of Albuquerque. This original family abode, Casa de Ruiz, originally was built in the customary hacienda style, which is “the classic old Spanish ‘U-shape’.” Only minor revisions to the hacienda were made throughout the years until 1920 when a disastrous flood washed away half of the hacienda.

It remained the Ruiz family home until the last family member of the Ruiz clan, Rufina G. Ruiz died in 1991 at the age of 91. Rufina’s family line can be traced back to Julianna Lucero and Francisco Ruiz both born around 1834 in this home. Their daughter, Sarah was Rufina’s mother, who was considered to be a gifted healer.

In 1992, life went on for the hacienda. Marie Coleman purchased the property and began major renovations; turning this family home into a commercial restaurant while keeping the Ruiz Hacienda’s New Mexico charm.

Apparently, not everyone was pleased with the renovations. Uh Oh!



When the living make changes not appreciated in the beloved structure, spirits who love this special place the way it was make their displeasure known loudly! The spirit of Sarah strongly disapproved of the major structural changes being made to her family home. She loved her hacienda just the way it was!

Sometimes spirits have a hard time sharing their special place in this world with the living for a variety of reasons.

The spirit of Sarah doesn’t like sharing her family’s house with the current owners and business, but she is making the best of it. She finds enjoyment where she can, and occasionally expresses her annoyance in small ways.

When a spirit decides to stay in a favorite place in this world, sometimes spirits of family members stop by to visit with this spirit. There is some evidence to suggest that the spirit of Sarah may have the company of visiting spirits.



Spirit of Sarah Ruiz – seen in a long black dress.

She vehemently disapproved of Marie Coleman’s plans to renovate the hacienda into a commercial cafe, and wasn’t afraid to take action! The spirit even yelled, “GET HIM OUT”, every time a possible contractor came to make a bid on the work to be done, showing Marie his plans.

When the construction began, tools would go missing, or moved to unusual places, and buckets were physically kicked around, as if to scare the workers.

The contractor, who must have had some psychic abilities, finally asked Marie one morning to just talk to the ghost, whose name was Sarah. Marie had a soothing, reassuring conversation with Sarah about her intentions, and Sarah stopped the commotion, perhaps trying to accept the inevitable change to come.

Sometimes Sarah’s annoyance is expressed in overt actions. She is blamed for throwing the silverware and dropping water glasses. A waitress and her table of patrons she was serving saw a coffee cup slowly turn itself over.

Sarah is “fond of engaging the owner in a battle of light switches.”

Nothing like work to take annoyances off your mind; finding a way to make the best of the situation. If you can’t beat them, try to be helpful.

Sarah has been seen performing her chores. She feeds her ghost chickens out back.

The Spirit of Sarah was seen as a solid person, busy setting the tables in an inside room.

Sarah perhaps sees herself as a supervisor or assistant hostess.

Employees have seen her in a long black dress, and patrons have felt her strong presence.

A front window that supposedly wasn’t able to open, was found open by a waitress serving her customers. She closed it. When the waitress came back, it was open again. Sarah must of thought it was stuffy and opened the window.

One server went to the ladies room. She felt something negative come into the restroom, and slam the door of the next stall hard twice, scaring the employee. Perhaps the spirit of Sarah thought the server was loafing.

Perhaps the spirit of Sarah has spirits of family members come and visit her, to remember old times and even have a little celebration.

A spectral jokester likes to entertain itself by playing tricks on the living.

One waiter was grabbed by behind in a playful way. This doesn’t sound like the spirit of Sarah, who is a no-nonsense type of personality.

A phone was hidden and hasn’t been found yet.

Sometimes when the opening employee comes into the Church Street Cafe, it looks like a group spectral party took place.




Yes Indeed! the spirit of Sarah Ruiz and perhaps some of the Ruiz family visitors now in spirit form still call their favorite place in this world the family homestead.

Since the Church Street Cafe has been opened for business, there have been a boatload of reports of paranormal activity, from the owner, employees and guests, and the contractor who first reported the paranormal activity.

It is known to be haunted by paranormal professional investigators, but no hard evidence has been made public.



2111 Church St. NW,
Albuquerque, NM 87104

Church Street Cafe is located In the old historic downtown residential section, just north of San Felipe de Neri Church.


  • Church Street Cafe: The Hauntings of Sarah Ruiz, By Kya Garduno,

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Albuquerque Haunts in New Mexico