M'tucci's Profiles - Austin Leard


Not everyone knows what career they will pursue when they graduate from high school. Beverage Director/Partner Austin Leard, who was from Taos, moved to Albuquerque one week after graduating from high school and started working for Southern Wine & Spirits. He started at the bottom, doing office work, invoicing and other jobs that an under-21 year-old could do.

“I immediately liked the people and the environment of the beverage industry. Even though I was young, I saw how fun the industry is,” he recalled.

After turning twenty-one, he was mentored by Michael Trujillo, the Spirits Educator and Head Mixologist for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, and used that experience to start making drinks and training bartenders. Austin said that at that time none of the other salesmen really used that approach to selling brands and it not only gave him an advantage as a salesman, but it gave him experience and insight into how to make cocktails.

He spent twelve years working his way up the ranks in the company and then he decided it was time to try the service side of the industry. 

Vintage 423 was preparing to open and he applied to be a bartender, even though he had never worked as a bartender. He didn’t get a bartender job, but was hired as a server.

“Within two weeks I was the Beverage Manager, and it was because of everything I knew and had learned at Southern. I’m very precise and I’m very particular about what I like, the way I like to do things, and the way things should be done,” Austin said. “The details are very important.”

His attention to detail and his love of a good cocktail are the foundations for M’tucci’s cocktail programs at both M’tucci’s Italian and M’tucci’s Moderno. His style, which is fresh and handcrafted, but bartender-friendly, has made us one of the area’s top spots for quality beverages.


“When we first opened, we were a food and service-savvy restaurant.  Shortly after Austin joined our team, he immediately introduced his creativity and his technique to the bar program which took our beverages to the same level as the food and service.  He hasn’t stopped improving the level of our quality and he never will.  That’s the kind of person he is,” said Managing Partner/Executive Chef John Haas.

“Austin is the heart and soul of M’tucci’s. He’s been with us since the very beginning. He is our strongest connection to Albuquerque and to New Mexico and he knows everyone,” said founder Jeff Spiegel. “Many in our growing leadership team are people that Austin has recruited.  You know they’re M’tucci’s people if he has brought them in.”

Our guests are big fans of Austin’s project, M’tucci’s Shrubs. Shrubs are a sharp, tangy infusion of fruit, vinegar and sugar. They can be traced back to American colonial days, though regions across the globe, from the Middle East to Asia, have offered their own unique interpretations. The American version of the shrub dates back to 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices to preserve berries and other fruits.


“I wanted to do something that would set us apart and that nobody else was doing. I had heard of Shrubs and did some research, but found very little information about them. So I started making small batches in mason jars. When I got the recipe right, I started experimenting with them in cocktails. The Collins-style with citrus, shrub and spirit has been an amazing combination,” he said.

Soon, fans of Shrubs will find M’tucci’s Shrubs in Albertsons and Total Wine in addition to some of the area’s finer wine and liquor stores like Jubilation and Susan’s Fine Wines in Santa Fe. Check out our four main flavors: Strawberry Basil, Blueberry Raspberry, Pineapple Rosemary, and Blackberry. They are for sale at all our locations, too.

Austin is looking forward to the future M’tucci’s Twenty-Five, opening in early 2020 on the Pan American Freeway frontage Rd between Jefferson and Montaño. The larger bar and lounge will be a great space for relaxing and the expanded spirits, craft beer, and wine menu will be an exciting part of building this new space. There will definitely be an expanded list of Italian wines and there will be a greater selection of domestic wines by the glass and by the bottle. Nothing is final yet, but let’s just say we believe that New Mexico needs another restaurant with a Wine Spectator Wine List.

Stay tuned wine, craft beer and cocktail aficionados, Austin has big plans for M’tucci’s Twenty-Five. However, his philosophy of what makes a great restaurant and bar is more than great food and beverages - it’s all about the service.

“After twenty years in the beverage business, I love seeing people enjoying themselves. There is no better feeling than having guests enjoy what you do.”



M’tucci’s @ Lava Rock Brewing Co.

HAPPY HOUR & NFL Football!

$7 Happy Hour Menu features The Burger, a 10” Margherita or Pepperoni Green Chile Pizza, Charcuterie Boards and Wings for $7, Monday - Friday 3:00 - 6:30. Pair the food with a beer for $10.50 or $11, depending on the beer. Not eating (why not?), then $1 off all pints. The NFL is up and running and you can catch your favorite team on one of our large five screens.


$5 basket of Wings all day on Sunday

RETURNING BEER - A small batch Brut IPA is now on tap (5.8% ABV and 30 IBU), as is the Vacation Daze Coconut Hazy IPA (5.5% ABV and 30 IBU).

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and we are donating to the local Rio Grande Down Syndrome Network - 10% of Gross Food Sales and $1 from every pint of Petroglyph Wit will go to the Foundation all month long.

October 19: Color Me Beautiful - Create your fragrance flower. Space is limited. Call to reserve.

Upcoming Live Music:

Tonight: Hatrick


M’tucci’s Moderno

Thanks to all our fans who voted our Servers the Best of Rio Rancho.

Weekend Specials

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Spaghettini - Spaghettini tossed with a roasted sweet and hot peppers, house made marinara and goat cheese. Topped with toasted hazelnuts.

Stephen Vincent, Pinot Noir, California Flavors of hard candy, cranberry with warm and inviting spicy fruits and cinnamon

Pan-Seared Rockfish - a mild, lean, sweet-flavored fish with a nutty finish. Pan-seared and served with creamy garlic mashed potatoes, grilled artichokes, sautéed arugula, topped with our lemon, caper, butter sauce and smoked prosciutto powder

Ste. Michelle, Mimi Chardonnay, Washington Light oak notes with apple and pear flavors and light acidic finish

Hand 24 oz Hand-Cut Bone-in NY Strip or T-Bone steak
Perfectly grilled to order and served with creamy garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and our house-made traditional, Italian Salsa Verde

Sassarogale, Sangiovese, Italy, Hints of cherries, wild berries and mild spice notes. Full flavored with a mildly dry finish

Live Music

Tonight: Cali Shaw @ 8:30

10/17: RJ Perez @ 7:00

M’tucci’s Italian

Weekend Specials

Cut of Day - 24oz hand cut Porterhouse, Salt Water Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus and a Balsamic Reduction

Pan-Seared Seafood - Pan-Seared Mahi Mahi, Grilled Artichokes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Caper Beurre Blanc

Ravioli - Braised Short Rib and Goat Cheese Ravioli, San Marzano and local Oyster Mushroom Ragu

Braised - Cherry-rubbed, Red Wine Braised Duroc Pork Belly, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Braised Turnip Greens, White Balsamic Cherry Gastrique

October Prix Fixe Menus


1st Course- Speck & Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Red Onion Confit, Wild Arugula

2nd Course- Braised Lamb Ragu, Pancetta, Carrot, Herbed House Pappardelle, Shaved Grana Padano

3rd Course- Banana Upside Down Cake Bars, Peanut Butter Mousse, Peanut Bark


1st Course- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Fried Sage, Brown Butter Drizzle

2nd Course- Roasted Herb Brined Petite Chicken, House Sourdough Stuffing, French Green Beans, Cranberry Gastrique

3rd Course- M’tucci’s World Famous Take Home For Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie, Sage, Whipped Cream


1st Course- Smoked Ghoulda Pizza, Balsamic Braised Cipollini Onions, Rosemary

2nd Course- Braised Duck A’l Blood Orange, Potato Puree, Braised Greens

3rd Course- Chocolate Mousse Cake, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow, Chocolate Spider

M’tucci’s Italian Café & Market

Voted Albuquerque’s Best Deli by the Albuquerque Journal’s Readers.

The Café & Market offers amazing pastries in our display case every day and we’re busy planning for the holidays. We carry the same great Italian imports, all of our artisan breads, and a wide variety of imported, domestic, and house made cheese and meat. There is an expanded selection of coffee and pastries. We have charcuterie boards to eat in or take out with wine and beer by the glass. Click here to see our menu.

Don’t feel like cooking tonight, but you want to stay home? Pick up a M’tucci’s Pasta Kit: 1 lb. of House Made Pasta, choice of Bolognese or Carbonara Sauce, House Made Meat and an Italian Cheese for garnish.

This is a great recipe using M’tucci’s products (House made Campanelle, Italian Sausage and Pecorino).

House Made Campanelle with Broccoli Rabe and Italian Sausage

Sauté 1/2 pound of M’tucci’s House Made Italian Sausage in 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a 12” pan. When light browned, add 6 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 t red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Boil 4 quarts of water in a large pot, add 2-3 T salt when it boils then add 1 pound broccoli rabe, chopped into 1.5” pieces. Cook about 2 minutes until tender and use a large spoon to remove from water and add to the pan with sausage.

Return water to boil and cook until al dente, usually 3-5 minutes. Always taste one of the pieces of Campanelle before draining to test for doneness. Although the pasta is slightly dried, it is fresh made pasta and will cook more quickly than pasta from a box. Just before draining, reserve 1/2 C of the cooking water.

Drain pasta, return it to the pot, add the sausage and rabe mixture, about 1 C of grated Pecorino, 1/3 C of the water and toss, adding water as needed for the desired consistency. Salt, pepper and serve!


M’tucci’s Catering

We cater events of all sizes and varieties. We are providing the food for The Whiskey Classic at San Cristobal Movie Ranch south of Santa Fe on October 12. The event will also feature 50 whiskeys, more than 20 distilled spirits, beer, wine and cider. A portion of event proceeds will go toward a scholarship for students enrolled in Central New Mexico Community College’s beverage and brewing management program. Click here for information and tickets.

Contact Ivy for your next event, large or small. We can handle it!

Click here to see our catering menu. 505.350.0019 or catering@mtuccis.com



Our market items can be purchased at a couple of locations in Albuquerque. We deliver our fresh bread every Tuesday and Friday to Silver Street Market at 2nd and Silver. Choose from Sourdough, Fennel Rye, Wheat, Baguette, Ciabatta, and Raisin Rosemary Focaccia.

Drinking at Bosque in Nob Hill? You can order a M’tucci’s Charcuterie Board while there.


Watch this space for the announcement of our December Job Fair for our new location. We are looking for highly skilled and motivated servers, kitchen workers, bartenders and managers.


Area service industry workers can get a Service Industry card from us by showing proof of employment. With the card you receive 10% off your check every day and 20% off on Sundays from 6:00 - 9:00. Dine in only.


Our food is available for delivery with Door Dash or for pick up. Pick up something for the weekend or on your way home from work. The links to ordering are on the Home page.


Videos about making cocktails and pasta and getting to know the M’tucci’s culture. Click here

See you next Friday - Ciao!