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Burger Boy – Cedar Crest, New Mexico

Burger Boy for man-sized green chile cheeseburgers and so much more

The vividly hued threads that comprise a beautiful community tapestry are its diverse and unique characters. Some are quirky and eccentric, some are brash and loud, others are indistinct and don’t stand out, but all are essential in weaving that beautiful community tapestry, that compendium of personalities that make up a whole.  One of the most vivid threads in the rich and diverse tapestry that is the alpine community of Cedar Crest, New Mexico was prolific artist, carver and tinkerer Ross Ward.

Before settling in New Mexico, Ross was a show painter for carnivals, traversing the country for more than three decades.  It was in Cedar Crest that Ross built Tinkertown, a folk art environment replete with an impressive array of miniatures and memorabilia of all kinds.  Note:  The next best thing to visiting Tinkertown is learning all about it on New Mexico True Television (Season 3, Episode 3).   Tinkertown is his legacy, the manifestation of his belief in self-determination and freedom.  Now a roadside attraction, it welcomes thousands of guests each year.

Green Chile Bill

One of Ross Ward’s most well-known artistic endeavors hangs not on a wall of a prolific art collector’s mansion or within the well-trafficked confines of an art gallery, but on the humble wall of a simple dining room at Burger Boy, a popular little restaurant on North 14 in Cedar Crest.  Hanging on that wall is a painting of a grizzled and cherubic prospector seeking his fortune on the autumnal golden hued Turquoise Trail.  Scrawled on the prospector’s covered wagon are the words “Burger Boy” while the canteen on the provision-laden pack mule reads “Green Chili Bill – Best Burgers on the Turquoise Trail.” 

From the south parking lot, you’ll espy  another mural.  This one is painted on Burger Boy’s exterior brick wall and it depicts a small village in the style of old western towns.  One edifice is called “Green Chili Bill’s Chili Barn” and its next door neighbor is Burger Boy where an anthropomorphic burger peers out the door.  Green Chili Bill’s cherubic countenance appears on the bottom right corner of the mural.

Exterior mural depicting the legendary Green Chili Bill

Green Chili Bill would be Bill Cushing, who along with his wife Kathy purchased Burger Boy, a converted Tastee Freez franchise in 1983.  Like Ross Ward, Bill Cushing was one of the vibrant threads that have made Cedar Crest a colorful and  vivacious  tapestry of intricately woven characters and personalities.  In 2001, he joined his friend Ross in enriching a more celestial tapestry.

Bill Cushing was renown for his positive outlook and gift for quickly turning strangers into friends.  When I asked his lovely bride Kathy about the kindly looking gentleman on the painting, she told me that she and Bill opened the restaurant so they could spend more time together.  She had been working as a nurse and he as a contractor at the time.  They were very happy together and developed quite a loyal following for their restaurant venture.

The double meat green chile cheeseburger with Fries

Today Kathy operates the restaurant with her daughter Barbara Johnstadt (also a trained nurse), who tragically lost her husband a year after her mother was widowed.  Though slowed a bit by the ravages of time, Kathy remains the genial and energetic hostess she’s always been.  When she’s not on the register, she’s delivering radiant smiles and trays of deliciousness to her eager guests.  On Sundays you might also find Kathy’s sons helping out in the kitchen.  It’s obvious  from the friendly, familial banter between them that the family which cooks together stays together.

While some restaurants festoon their walls with framed photographs of all the celebrities who have dined there, two corner walls at Burger Boy are dedicated to family and to some of the clerics with whom the family has grown close, including retired Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  Kathy calls this her “Wall of Faith.”

Pancakes with Chocolate Shake

To say Burger Boy is a small restaurant is an understatement.  At best, it may seat twenty patrons comfortably.  Where it lacks in size, it makes up in large flavors.  The menu includes sandwiches, burgers and New Mexican food, all very popular, but it also includes more healthful low-carb menu items and not just salads.  Other carb-smart offerings include burritos crafted with low-carb tortillas.  Because of its size, Burger Boy’s take-out business is quite robust.  Some locals take their Burger Boy bounty to nearby picnic areas where they dine among tall, cool pines.

Perhaps the most popular item on the menu are Burger Boy’s green chile cheeseburgers which savvy citizens drive for miles to eat.  These are some of the best in the Land of Enchantment, ergo the universe.  It’s so good it made the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail  in 2009, one of 48 select burgers on that list.

Posole with a tortilla

6 September 2015: Unlike the uniform in size and sawdust in texture hockey pucks lamp-heated into desiccation by the fast-food franchises, Burger Boy’s burgers are absolutely fresh and delicious.  The patties are thick and juicy, grilled to just a whisper above medium.  The patties are hand-formed from beef ground daily.  Your best bet is a double-meal burger with all the fixings as all the flavors and condiments achieve such a happy harmony.  The Hatch green chile is of mild piquancy, but makes up for lack of bite with a nice roasted flavor.  Molten melted cheese drapes over the meat which extends beyond the boundaries of its sesame seed bun host.

Adventurous burgerphiles can also have ostrich burgers and buffalo burgers.  No matter what you order, make sure you wash it down with with a Burger Boy milk shake.  These are thick, rich and brain-freeze cold shakes, as good as any shakes in the Duke City area.  They’re the cure-all for hot summer days in the east side of the Sandias.

Other components of the Paul Bunyan breakfast include sausage, bacon, hashed browns and three eggs

3 October 2010: Citizens on the morning side of the mountain which is Cedar Crest like to start the morning off with breakfast at Burger Boy, a meal so filling you might not need another the rest of the day.  That’s especially true if you order the Paul Bunyan breakfast, a mammoth plate that can easily sate two hardy eaters.  The Paul Bunyan includes four fluffy pancakes, two slices of toast, two slices of bacon, a disk of pork sausage and three eggs prepared any way you want.

The pancakes are golden (ginger-blonde might be a more apt description) hued orbs nearly the circumference of the plate.  They’re thick, fluffy and absolutely delicious.  Ask the staff to heat the syrup to maximize their deliciousness.  They’re easily big enough to share (not that you’d want to) and so good you might want to order a short stack for later on.

Patty Melt with Potato Chips

6 September 2015:  New Mexican food favorites available for breakfast are huevos rancheros, a breakfast burrito and a breakfast quesadilla.  The lunch and dinner menu lists everything from taco plates and Frito pies to a combination plate.  Posole is an any time of year favorite that Burger Boy does exceptionally well.  A bowlful showcases perfectly puffed kernels of corn served in a red chile with pork blanketed by melted Cheddar cheese.  You’ll enjoy spooning it onto the tortilla with which the posole is served. 

6 September 2015: While a green chile cheeseburger is a no-brainer for me, my Kim prefers the patty melt which some liken to “not quite a burger” but “more than a sandwich.”   At its most elemental form, it’s simply a beef patty, Swiss cheese, and caramelized onions on griddle-toasted rye bread.  That’s it.  No mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes.  The canvas for Burger Boy’s version is a marble rye with the same type of hand-formed beef patty used on burgers.  My Kim’s assessment is that it can use even more caramelized onions, but she still enjoyed it.

In the rich tapestry that is the community of humankind, some of its threads stand out for their character and vitality.  So too it is with green chile cheeseburgers and the restaurants which serve them.  One of those which truly stands out is the Burger Boy restaurant in Cedar Crest, New Mexico.

Burger Boy
12035 NM-14 N
Cedar Crest, New Mexico
(505) 281-3949
LATEST VISIT: 6 September 2015
BEST BET: Green Chile Cheeseburger, Breakfast Burrito, Chocolate Shake, Paul Bunyan Breakfast, Posole, Patty Melt,

Burger Boy on Urbanspoon

300 Club Bar & Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

The 300 Club at Skidmore's Holiday Bowl in Albuquerque

The 300 Club at Skidmore’s Holiday Bowl in Albuquerque

300!  In the parlance of the bowler, it signifies absolute perfection, twelve consecutive strikes.  According to some trusted foodies, the 300 Club Bar & Grill in Albuquerque’s Skidmore’s Holiday Bowl on Lomas just east of San Pedro serves a mean green chile cheeseburger, a 12-strike masterpiece, a perfect 300.  This is a burger so good, it was one of the twenty contestants for the inaugural Governor’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge in 2009.

We all know the stereotypes about bowling alley food.  When it comes to food, most bowling alleys strike out.  Ardent keglers are subjected to such catastrophic “cuisine” as perpetually rotating hot dogs seared to a leathery sheen under a heat lamp inferno, soppy messes of nachos bathed in gloppy processed cheese topped with gelatinous jalapeños and greasy onion rings with the texture of fried rubber bands and as oily as well-slicked lanes.  Getting something edible at most bowling alleys is as tough as picking up a seven-ten split.

The 300 Club

The 300 Club, a stylish eatery in a bowling alley

The fact that the 300 Club Bar & Grill has a separate entrance from the rest of the bowling alley is a promising sign.  That promise is bolstered by its utterly charming sports bar ambiance which is wholly unlike the greasy, divey stereotype affixed in my mind about bowling alley dining (obviously when I’m not thinking about the now defunct Ezra’s Place).  A wall-mounted, flat screen high-definition television tuned to ESPN is a fixture on one wall while smaller televisions, also tuned to Sports programming are strategically placed for optimal viewing no matter where you’re seated.  Seating–whether along the bar or in the booths along the wall–is comfortable and spacious.

On November 20th, 2009, the 300 Club Bar & Grill celebrated the grand opening of the HB Extreme Vodka Venue.  As Albuquerque’s sole Vodka bar, the Venue promises over 50 premium Vodkas along with a full selection of liquors, liqueurs and draft and bottled beers.  If you don’t partake of adult beverages, you can still have a great dining experience either for a quick breakfast, relaxing lunch away from the office or a fun night out with friends and family.


The menu is surprisingly ambitious–as daring as that of many restaurants.  The breakfast menu includes many traditional New Mexico breakfast favorites, most laced with the chile some of us need to truly wake up everyday.  The lunch menu is also interwoven with New Mexican entrees such as burritos, tacos as well as sandwiches burgers and even pizza.  Burger selections include some non-conventional but utterly New Mexican choices as green chile cheeseburgers enveloped by a flour tortilla.   A weekly special which just be fried chicken with all the trimmings or pork chops is also available.

18 November 2009: Salsa and chips are always a great way to start any meal, especially when the chips are made to order.  Those chips arrive at your table still warm to the touch.  They cool off quickly as you scoop up the fresh tomato. onion and jalapeno based salsa of medium piquancy.  The salsa reminded me a bit of Pace Picante Sauce without the characteristic acerbic qualities of the Texas based bottled salsa.  It has good pronouncements of piquancy, freshness and flavor.  If you don’t order an appetizer such as the salsa and chips, you can also ask for a bowl of popcorn.

Chips & Salsa at the 300 Club

Chips & Salsa at the 300 Club

18 November 2009: The green chile cheeseburger is adorned with large leaf lettuce, red onion and a sole red tomato atop grilled buns.  The beef patty is uniform in size and texture, a usually obvious sign of pre-packaged, frozen beef.  Though I would have preferred fresh, hand-formed beef, there are many green chile cheeseburgers throughout the Land of Enchantment using frozen beef patties from Sam’s, the Price Club or others of that ilk.

The green chile is blanketed by smoldering, bright orange cheese so hot that the cheese-chile amalgam seems to be one entity.  The green chile is neither chopped nor diced, but pureed.  It drips and drizzles onto the plate like a vibrant, verdant-orange lava flow.  It’s hot on the tongue both in terms of heat and piquancy.  The chile is not only fulsome in flavor, but has the tongue-tingling qualities of very good chile.  This is the type of chile than can top everything, but can’t be topped.  I imagine the judges at the Governor’s Challenge enjoyed this burger and its chile very much.

Green Chile Cheeseburger at the 300 Club

Green Chile Cheeseburger at the 300 Club

The accompanying French fries are also quite good.  Unlike the flaccid and boring French fries normally served with our sacrosanct green chile cheeseburger, these are stiff as if twice-fried and well-seasoned.  Burgers and fries make for an excellent marriage, particularly when both are excellent in their own right as these are. 

27 August 2015: Among chefs, the practice of deconstructing dishes is a popular technique, especially in gourmet restaurants and cooking competitions.  The term “deconstructed dish” basically means taking foods normally combined, changing their form then plating them together in different ways.  It’s not just about taking a dish apart, but recombining its elements.  It might be a stretch to call the 300 Club Grill’s burrito in a bowl a deconstructed dish, but it is a different and delicious way to present and serve a New Mexico favorite. 

Burrito In A Bowl

As the name implies, this dish is essentially an unwrapped burrito or rather its contents (beef or chicken layered with beans, red or green chile topped with shredded cheese and garnish)  are served on a plate with a tortilla. It could be argued that all it would take to make this a Frito pie is a few Frito’s corn chips, but why argue when you could enjoy every morsel of a terrific dish. The green chile shines on this “deconstructed” bowl of deliciousness.

If you’ve needed an excuse to explore the Land of Enchantment, start with New Mexico’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail which promises an excellent meal along the highways and byways of the most beauteous of America’s fifty states.  For Duke City sojourners, the 300 Club Bar & Grill is a good place to start.

The 300 Club Bar & Grill
Skidmore’s Holiday Bowl
7515 Lomas, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 268-3308
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 27 August 2015
1st VISIT: 18 November 2009
BEST BET: Green Chile Cheeseburger, French Fries, Chips & Salsa, Burrito In A Bowl, Popcorn

300 Club Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Q Burger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Q Burger on Central Avenue in Albuquerque’s Downtown

“Q.” It’s the seventeenth letter of the English alphabet, a consonant. Only two letters (“X” and “Z”) occur less frequently as first letters of words found in the English dictionary. It’s the only letter not to appear in any of the names of the fifty states of America. As with its 25 alphabetical colleagues, it’s an onomatopoeia. It’s both the name of an omnipotent entity in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the title given to the nerdy-techy head of the British Secret Service who comes up with all the cool gadgets used by James Bond to thwart rottenness. If a former mayor of Albuquerque had had his way, “The Q” would have also been yet another city sobriquet, joining Duke City and Burque as nicknames on which to hang our hats.

Several years ago, then Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez attempted a commercially-driven re-branding of the city, an effort which was (to put it mildly) very unpopular with the citizenry. Some surmise that “The Q” reminded people of “queue” as in the seemingly interminable lines at the Motor Vehicle Department and Social Security office. Others opine that “The Q” made the spelling-challenged among us feel patronized for abbreviating the city’s name to “ABQ” just as the Albuquerque International Sunport does. Whatever the reason, the backlash against “The Q” was likely the impetus behind the nickname “Burque” regaining a firm foothold on the hearts and minds of Albuquerque’s populace.

The Q Burger Dining Room

Several Burque businesses either embraced Mayor Marty’s whimsy or they delighted in the concept of fewer letters equaling cheaper billboards and marquees. One of the businesses opting for the re-branding sported the vowel-deprived, consonant-rich name of bRgR. While a great mnemonic for a license plate, the name bRgR seemed to confuse some of the geriatrically advanced among us who haven’t mastered Twitter shorthand. The upscale burger restaurant retained the name bRgR from its launch in July, 2012 through its re-branding in June, 2012—about the length of an average Hollywood marriage.

It wasn’t solely the name which experienced a remake. When it was bRgR, large pictures of sad-eyed cows (obviously cognizant of their fates) festooned the walls, evoking not the pangs of hunger, but feelings of guilt among soft-hearted diners. Where the most corpulent cow once dominated the wall now hangs a picture of two comely, long-limbed women flanking a large letter Q. Perhaps if Mayor Marty had employed similar pulchritude in promoting his vision for “The Q,” at least those of us sporting the XY-chromosome pairing would have embraced it…much as we embrace the flat screen televisions suspended over the bar and tuned to sports channels. Most men won’t even notice the chandeliers hanging from the vaulted ceiling unless it’s to appreciate the quality of the chains holding them in place.

Dark Chocolate Red Chile-Dusted Milkshake

There’s one more “Q” relevant to this review.  It’s called the “Q Score” and it represents how familiar and appealing a product is.  The higher the Q score, the more highly thought-of the item is among people familiar with that product.   Were it to be polled, perhaps no product in America would receive a higher score than the All-American hamburger.  Hence Q Burger should receive a very high Q score for having some of the most appealing burgers in the Duke City…er, The Q.  There are fifteen burgers on the menu, including a build-your-own option.  To the ire of spellcheckers everywhere, the letter Q is incorporated into the spelling of every burger on the menu.  You’ll find, for example, a “steaQhouse burger,” a “saganaQi kobe burger,” a “burQueño burger” and a dozen more. 

As you peruse the menu, you might want to indulge in dare-to-be-different milkshakes.  Anyone and everyone can make a strawberry or vanilla shake and both are available on Q Burger’s menu, but why not try something else?  Why not try the dark chocolate red chile-dusted milkshake, more evidence that in New Mexico chile can be incorporated into everything.  To be honest, there’s not enough chile to suit this volcano-eater, but it might traumatize most Texans.

SteaQhouse Burger with Red Chile Onion Rings

Q Burger takes great pride in using New Mexico raised, grass-fed beef (not available on the occasional kangaroo burger special) seared medium. There’s no charge for substituting chicken, turkey or blaq bean.  Brioche buns are baked daily at the House of Bread bakery on Carlisle. Whole wheat and gluten-free buns are also available.   Local pride is also evidenced in the use of seasonal area produce and fire-roasted green chile from Hatch.  All burgers are served with one side, among available options being sweet potato tots, green bean fries, calamari fries, fried pickles, bacon cheese fries and more.  Yeah, who needs plain, boring fries when you can have wasabi coleslaw with ginger garnish. 

Ostensibly, steak burgers should evoke memories reminiscent of large, flavorful burgers constructed with the type of meat used in traditional steakhouses.  That generally means meat of a higher quality or leaner variety than the usual ground beef and condiments such as steak seasonings and barbecued meats.  Steak burgers are traditionally grilled or broiled over a fire.  Q Burger’s SteaQhouse Burger has many of those qualities, especially the high quality beef, but what really elevates it is the umami (a strong meaty taste with a long lasting, mouthwatering and coating sensation over the tongue) it gleans from the sauteed mushroom demi-glace.

BlaQ-N-Bleu Kobe Burger with Green Bean Fries and White Cheddar Queso

Turophiles who prefer their fromage on the fetid side and believe bacon is on top of the food pyramid will love the BlaQ-N-Bleu Kobe Burger, a bleu cheese and bacon-stuffed behemoth served with a burnt butter sauce on the side.  It’s one of the very best bleu cheese burgers in Albuquerque…and believe me, I’ve searched high and low.  To add mustard, ketchup or mayo would be to desecrate this meaty, cheesy, bacony beauty.  It’s a burger meant to be enjoyed exactly as it’s delivered to your table.  My only nit about this burger (and the SteaQhouse burger, too) is that “medium” translates to “medium-well,” robbing an otherwise near perfect burger of the juiciness a lesser charred burger would bestow. 

While Albuquerque may have found it whimsical and outlandish that the city needed another nickname, savvy  Duke City diners believe “The Q” as a burger is an excellent idea.

Q Burger
301 Central Avenue, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 224-2747
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 8 August 2015
COST: $$
BEST BET: BlaQ-N-Bleu Kobe Burger, SteaQhouse Burger

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