M Five Martini Grill
"Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire… Viva Las… Cruces?”
Well everyone knows Las Cruces isn’t Las Vegas, but did you know that we have a Las Vegas-inspired martini grill right here in town?
“I’ve never had much luck grilling martinis…everything falls through except the olives. Ba-doom-cha! Thank you very much. I’ll be here all week.”
At M Five Martini Grill, they don’t grill the martinis. No joke. The savvy bartenders mix them up – quite a variety of them. The chefs are the ones who do the grilling. They serve up hand-cut steaks, pork chops, fish, and chicken.
In June of 2012, M Five’s owner, Marci Dickerson, and some friends took a trip to Vegas and happened upon a bar called the Blue Martini. It had a sophisticated atmosphere, great food, and unique drinks.
“We agreed that Las Cruces didn’t have anything like this,” Dickerson said. “So that became the inspiration for M Five.”
The first step was to acquire a space, and the one chosen for this new venture has been around for a long time – the former Fat Eddie’s Bar and Grill at 901 Avenida de Mesilla.
“Eddie Smithson is an icon in the New Mexico hospitality industry,” Dickerson explained. “But it had been a long time since the place had belonged to him.”
The old facility was taken down to the bare walls and completely remodeled. It has a much more open feeling than in the Fat Eddie’s (and later) days. The predominant colors are soft gray and black with cool spectrum greenish-blue lighting. Shiny metallic tabletops are surrounded by high-backed booths, while both standard height tables and high tops fill out the rooms accompanied by their cushy companion chairs. A VIP room has comfy couches and armchairs. Customers get a feeling of sanctuary from the daily rat race while having a drink on the relaxing patio.
If you’re in the mood for some music – Thursday offers live acoustic; Friday is live dance band night; and Saturdays start off with piano music at the dinner hour with a DJ taking over later for dance music.
M Five opened in January, 2013, and in the beginning it was a “drinks and appetizers” type of place. But it wasn’t long before the menu was expanded to “full restaurant and bar” status to include salads, entrees, and desserts.
A number of enticing salads such as a poached pear salad or strawberry salad can be bumped up with some grilled chicken. Tenderloin burgers come in Italian, cheese and custom smoked bacon, and green chile cheese varieties.
Thursday is a good day for an entrée because any of them (including steaks and pork chops) are available for just $12. Filets, ribeyes, thick-cut, bone-in pork chops, grilled chicken breasts, penne pasta dishes, and, perhaps best of all, Dickerson’s legendary brisket and smoked sausage are all on special. Top it all off with cheesecake (gluten free available) or an espresso milkshake.
Nothing says “Vegas-cool” like a martini – make mine gin, dirty, with extra olives please. But M Five may be re-defining “Cruces-cool” with a decadent variety of specialty martinis, cocktails, and margaritas. Who could resist – especially this time of year – a “Biscochito” with reposado tequila, tres leches liquor, tuaca, and cinnamon? Or how about a prickly pear margarita? Friday features $5 martinis and margaritas. Jackpot! If beer is more your thing, check out the thirty craft beers available on tap.
“We are also proud of our Skinny Diva line of cocktails,” said Dickerson. “Six cocktails with 132 calories or less.”
Want to bet the house that the Marci-tini (a sugar-free cucumber martini with 120 calories) is named after her?
Marci probably deserves to have a drink named after her – at least. The Dickerson Group is celebrating its fifteenth year in business. Its catering business (Marci’s first love), restaurant/bars, and even a sports activity venue (Sports Skills Institute at Dickerson’s Barn) continue to grow and thrive. The Group believes strongly that you “work hard every day to make sure that you’re involved and the community is a better place after you’ve been there.”
“We feel so fortunate that we have not only survived but we have diversified and expanded,” Dickerson said. “We try to offer something for everyone and Las Cruces has embraced our ideas.”
If you haven’t already embraced M Five, give it a try. My guess is you’ll find it pretty “Cruces-cool.”