ALBUQUERQUE — Folk heroes to some, villains to others, the owners of the Route 66 Malt Shop in Albuquerque have refused to abide by the city’s recently adopted minimum wage ordinance.

The increase, they say, would bury their 18-year-old small business.

“We had the choice to close the business and destroy 18 years of blood, sweat and tears and hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years … and fire 12 people or disobey the law,” Eric Szeman told New Mexico Watchdog after a busy lunch-time rush.