Longtime locals, brace yourself: New management is looking to reopen the long-abandoned M&M truck stop.
The once-popular restaurant, gas station and convenience store at the intersection of U.S. Highway 491 and County Road G closed in 2001. It was abandoned, went into tax default and has been deteriorating ever since.
Consultants for the property, Ruff-Rhodes LLC, of Houston, Texas, report the plan is to refurbish the property into its former glory.
“We’ve been working on the site the last year and a half and aim to get the restaurant back open,” said Tommy Ruff told The Journal in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
In addition to the restaurant, he said the plan is to re-establish the entire truck stop, including the fuel pumps, bathrooms, showers and convenience store.
“We have been visiting Cortez quite a bit, and the fact this site is on a major north-south freeway makes it an ideal business opportunity,” Ruff said.
He said its location next to the Colorado Port of Entry provides convenient trucking customers.
Ruff envisions a 24-hour restaurant serving traditional, homestyle fare, including steaks, burgers, sandwiches, omelets, biscuits and gravy, pancakes and endless pots of coffee.
“We want to copycat what was there before and get people excited about returning to dine at the refurbished M&M,” he said. “We’re proud to help revitalize the corridor leading into Cortez.”
The M&M site has contaminated soils because of a fuel leak from the early 1990s. Ruff said the plan is to remove the contaminated soil.
It won’t happen overnight.
Permit reviews for the business need to be completed, according to the Montezuma County planning office, and the status of the M&M ownership is not a done deal.
According to public records with the Montezuma County Treasurer’s Office, the M&M restaurant is owned by Abas Energy Inc., of Ontario, California. But in 2011, the company became delinquent on the property’s taxes, and the M&M went to a tax lien sale, records show. An investment firm eventually took over the annual tax payments and is now eligible to apply for a treasurer’s deed to become outright owners.
There’s also unfinished business of cleaning up the site.
A petroleum spill on the property in the early 1990s was not mitigated, and it prompted a civil suit by the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety in April 2015. Cleanup costs are estimated between $300,000 and $500,000, according to state environmental officials.
“We would like to encourage them in any way we can to bring a viable business back there,” said Montezuma County Commissioner Keenan Ertel. “It has been an eyesore for too long.”