Local Hero: Food Artisan

An Interview with Mike Silva, Co-Owner

Photos by Stephanie Cameron

We are New Mexico’s premier specialty cookie shop, enhanced with a touch of ska flavor (ska and reggae music playing daily, and mod fifties/sixties ska decor). Along with fresh-baked, all-original-recipe cookies, Rude Boy Cookies features ice cream and New Mexico’s only milk bar.

Why cookies?

I have always loved chocolate chip cookies. A delicious chocolate chip cookie is my go-to favorite dessert. I set out to open a business that combined my loves: music and chocolate chip cookies.

Can you share a few words on your love of ska and how this music has shaped you and your business? Also, any songs that are must-adds for a ska-driven playlist?

Music was life changing for me. It changed me from an angry kid to a person with a focus. Music gave me something to believe in and allowed me to be a part of something bigger than myself. As a high school kid, I became interested in reggae and ska music. I’m a saxophone player and ska bands always had big horn sections, so that spoke to me. Fans of ska music are called Rude Boys. It’s a lifestyle, a culture, a vibe. I live my life in real time as a Rude Boy. Creating a business that combined my love of music and my love of cookies was the dream.

A few must-haves for any ska playlist? I’ll give you seven, one for each year that Rude Boy Cookies has been open:

  • The Specials, “Ghost Town”
  • The English Beat, “Mirror in the Bathroom”
  • Fishbone, “Party at Ground Zero”
  • The Toasters, “Dub 56”
  • The Skatalites, “Freedom Sound”
  • Madness, “One Step Beyond”
  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, “The Impression That I Get”

Lately, you’ve been offering classes. How are those going? Any tips for those of us who might be interested but perceive ourselves as artistically challenged?

The cookie-decorating classes are led by my business partner and 2017 Food Network Christmas Cookie Challenge winner, Kristin Dowling. Kristin and her team do an amazing job with the classes. We offer classes for beginners to advanced cookie artists. We also offered cookie-decorating summer camps this past summer. The sessions were a week long and were a blast! The classes thus far have been well received and we are planning more.

You started with a shop in University Heights. Now you have two more locations in the works. What can we expect from Rude Boy at Revel and Avanyu Plaza?

Yes, we started the business with our location on Harvard. We have closed that location and replaced it with our location at 1916 Central Avenue SE. This location, RUDE 66, is our headquarter location. From this location, we distribute to our three “satellite” locations: El Vado (open since 2019), Revel (open now!), and Avanyu Plaza (Indian Pueblo Cultural Center), which is scheduled to open in January 2022.

All the satellite locations feature the same menu as the HQ location.

Tell us about your commitment to community.

When I had the idea for this business, I called my friend Kristin Dowling and asked her to have coffee with me. In January 2014, we met and I pitched her the idea of Rude Boy Cookies. I shared with Kristin that if we pulled this off, I wanted us to be a community-minded business. I wanted us to be a business that gives back to those in need. We made a commitment then to community investment, and we have stuck to it. It’s a foundational element of our business. We are proud to be in a place to make a difference in the city we live in, for the people who are our friends and neighbors. Cookies and community is what we are. It’s what we do.

Anything else you want to share with edible readers?

At Rude Boy Cookies, we bake fresh, chewy, delicious cookies from scratch every day—all day long! We are proud to be New Mexico’s cookie shop.

1916 Central SE, Albuquerque, 505-200-2235,