Destiny Schemerhorn spent countless hours alongside her husband, Jon, restoring and overseeing Rio Rancho-area dining fixture The Hopper Pub & Pizzeria, because they had a special connection to the restaurant’s origins.
The couple met at the restaurant and brewery in 2015, when it was called Blue Grasshopper Brewery. Then the establishment and its two Albuquerque locations went out of business in 2020, after the Downtown Albuquerque location failed and pulled down the other two.
The Schemerhorns decided to buy and rename the Rio Rancho and West Side Albuquerque locations.
But within a year, it became challenging to juggle two restaurants on top of their careers and growing family. They welcomed their second daughter three months ago.
That’s why The Hopper’s looking for a new owner to take the reins at both locations.
“They’ve always been a pair. I’d like to kind of sell them together,” Destiny said. “We’re just so busy at the pub. We can’t keep up, and I’d like somebody to be able to enjoy it and carry it now that we saved it… When you’re working at the pub with a baby and a baby carrier on a Saturday night, that might start becoming an issue.”
Jon’s an engineer, while Destiny’s a physician’s assistant.
“We’re not quite ready to give those (jobs) up… Those are still important to us,” Destiny said. “I’m on call for my patients… It’s just becoming a bit too much, and I want to make sure that I don’t start dropping some of these balls that are all in the air at once.”
Under the Schemerhorns’ ownership, the West Side location opened in April 2021, while the Rio Rancho location opened in August 2021.
“We put our heart and soul into them. We’ve had a lot of people rooting for us,” Destiny said.
While Destiny would prefer potential buyers in the Rio Rancho/Albuquerque area, she’s open to passing the torch to someone within the state. And while it’d help if the next owner has prior restaurant experience, she’s willing help a less experienced person get acclimated to the role and do a warm hand-off.
“You’ve just got to have a passion for it,” she said.
Her target timeline is to find that successor by the summer. In the meantime, both restaurants will stay open during the transition.
“I know once we agree and find the right person, it’s going to take them a while to get their licensing in order and get all that started,” Destiny said. “It should be faster now that the pandemic is pretty much behind us, but it took us nine months to get our liquor license. We expect it to still be a long road, a long transition.”
The next owner will also enter a financially stable environment.
“We have no debt. We’re making money in the business. We’re doing great. We just don’t have the time,” Destiny said. “For the right person, for the right buyer, we’re willing to open up the books and show them that we have no outstanding debt… That’s going to be a lot more lucrative for somebody to take over… It’s literally a turn-key business.”