James and Megan Garrigan, owners of Lily & Liam Bistro and Upscale Burgers, recently won the Sonny Brown award in the medium business category.
Rotary District 5520, which includes the entire state of New Mexico and part of Texas, selects one small (1-10 employees), medium (11-50 employees) and large business (more than 50 employees) as an outstanding company for ethics and community service.
“We’re incredibly grateful and extremely honored,” Megan Garrigan said. “The Rotary is incredibly involved with the community and supporting first responders and supporting what will we call essential workers. Their ability to work within the community directly benefited us, so we are so eternally grateful for the work that Rotary has done for us personally, but also just for our community. We see and know and feel the impact of their work in the community, and that’s always incredibly admirable for us and pairs well with our philosophy of how we run our business.”
To be nominated for the award, the business must demonstrate excellence in employee relations, quality of product and/or representation and community involvement of both management and employees.
“We want to congratulate Lily & Liam/Upscale Burger for being an outstanding community partner in Sandoval County,” state Rep. Kathleen Cates said. “Lily & Liam/Upscale Burgers employs up to 10% of their workforce with individuals with disabilities. They also survived the COVID shutdowns by thinking outside the box and retaining their staff to provide delicious and safe takeout. They work closely with nonprofits Mandy’s Farm and Elevate the Spectrum. Their chef-inspired dishes are designed to be mindful of food waste and other low impact to the environment approaches.”
Megan Garrigan was a founding member and former board member of Elevate the Spectrum, a nonprofit that aims to empower individuals on the autism spectrum and their families through inclusion, advocacy and friendship throughout the state.
“Our staff does very well integrating people of all abilities into the team,” Megan Garrigan said. “It’s not always easy, but we’ve learned to incorporate in and be successful with that because it’s important to us and important to our community.”
The Garrigans, who live in Rio Rancho, also know that local restaurants are important to their community. They opened Lily & Liam just prior to the pandemic and saw Upscale Burgers grow from a ghost kitchen in the bistro to a brick-and-mortar in Cottonwood Mall in 2021. They soft-launched Upscale Rio on Monday at the former Uncle T’s sandwich shop behind Hot Tamales.
Upscale Rio offers the same menu as the Cottonwood location plus specials like the Bistro Burger, the Tortilla Burger and the Cauli-Steak Burger. The shop is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.