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Lumpy’s Burgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico

The second (and more conventional) Lumpy’s opened on November 18, 2011 at 10131 Coors Road, N.W.

Of all the adjectives that can be used to describe something or someone, lumpy is certainly not one of the most complimentary.  Think of all the Archie Bunker-like tantrums thrown during holiday meals when lumpy mashed potatoes are served or the breakfast battles that ensue when the oatmeal is lumpy. In fits of pique, seven-time Academy Award nominated actor Richard Burton often called his voluptuous wife Elizabeth Taylor “lumpy,” perhaps one of the reasons Hollywood’s most volatile couple was twice divorced and their relationship generally tumultuous.

Perhaps worse than describing something as “lumpy” is giving someone that nickname. Consider the Saturday Night Live skit which poked fun at former University of New Mexico golfer and current PGA tour pro Tim Herron because the “less than svelte” golfer’s nickname is “Lumpy.”  Never mind that the self-deprecating Herron embraces the sobriquet, it’s often the target of derision.  The Leave It To Beaver television series of the 50s and 60s portrayed “Lumpy” Rutherford as a “hefty” teenage dullard who’s a bit of a bully.

The unique "menu" that doubles as your order

The unique “menu” that doubles as your order

So why would a hamburger joint on Route 66 christen itself “Lumpy?”  Prospective diners would certainly hope it’s not a descriptive adjective for its burgers.  When owners Jay Kennedy and Jason Mancini were looking for a name befitting their new restaurant enterprise, they considered several options including Wimpy’s (which is already taken by a chain of fast-food hamburger restaurants based in the United Kingdom) before settling on Lumpy’s.  It’s a name, not a descriptive adjective.

For several months after the restaurant’s February, 2010 launch, long lines of hungry burger aficionados were typical, indicating the restaurant’s name is certainly not a deterrent.  If anything, the name is just one of several things about Lumpy’s which seems to inspire curiosity.  Lumpy’s does not subscribe to the stereotypical template of how a burger joint should operate.  It’s an archetype–something original, a burger restaurant daring to be different.

This is how ALL French fries should begin, not pre-sliced and frozen in a bag

This is how ALL French fries should begin, not pre-sliced and frozen in a bag

Albuquerque’s first Lumpy’s Burgers was situated in a very familiar location to residents of Albuquerque’s West Mesa area.  It was located on Route 66 just west of Central Avenue’s intersection with Old Coors Boulevard and about a mile from one of Albuquerque’s most prominent neon spangled signs, one which celebrates Route 66.  Lumpy’s occupied the former home of Taco Phil’s Carry Out, once one of the West side’s most popular New Mexican food destinations.  Designed in the 60s as strictly a carry-out enterprise, the building offered seating underneath a canopy that provided a bit of shade for those days of intense Duke City sunshine, but can’t buffet the March winds.  On November 18th, 2011, the second Lumpy’s opened its second restaurant near the Cottonwood Mall (10131 Coors Road, N.W.) in a building which last housed an Owl Cafe.  It’s a more conventional restaurant with indoor seating.  The original Lumpy’s closed shortly thereafter.

One of the first curiosities your eyes will affix upon is an upright wooden structure holding in place several bushel baskets. Upon further investigation, you’ll find the baskets are filled to varied levels with potatoes, both white Russets and reddish sweet potatoes. Patrons waiting in line will pluck the most pulchritudinous spuds out of those baskets and stuff them into a paper bag.

Lumpy04

“Skrewy” Fries made from regular and sweet potatoes

The paper bag, or rather a stack of them, is the next curiosity.  It doubles as the menu and it’s where you make your selections.  Burgers come in three sizes and are listed first.  There’s the quarter-pound Wimpy burger, the half-pound Lumpy and the three-quarter pound Plumpy.  Listed below the three burgers are the toppings: Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, mayo, mustard, ketchup, green chile, jalapenos, Ranch dressing and Cali sauce ( a sort of homemade Thousand Island dressing).  All toppings are free of charge.  The young at heart can opt instead for a mini corn dog or chicken strips.

After you’ve annotated your burger and topping selections on the paper bag, your next decision is how you want your potatoes done: chunky (thick Texas style fries), skinny (shoestring) or skrewy (potato chips). Next you select your beverage of choice–Coke products or tea. You then put a couple of potatoes in the bag and proceed to the order counter where you hand your paper bag to the attendant. In about ten minutes your order will be filled.

Heath Foote holds a “Plumpy,” a three-quarter pounder (Photo Courtesy of Lilly Digital)

The third curiosity are the black shirts worn by the staff, shirts emblazoned with the perplexing slogan “it saved my life.”  The owners will tell you unabashedly that “Jesus Christ saved their lives, the slogan is just something to arouse interest.”  A placard on the window indicates the restaurant is not open on Sundays to allow team members time for worship and family.

Maybe a fourth curiosity is just how friendly people in line are. You’ll find that experienced visitors to Lumpy’s are quite willing to share the quirky ordering processes with neophytes visiting Lumpy’s for the first time. Not only will they walk you through the routine, they will even recommending which potatoes to order. You might even find yourself sharing a table with a man in the queue behind us.

A “Lumpy” (Half-Pounder) with Housemade Chips (Photo courtesy of Lilly Digital)

The fries recommended by most are the “skrewy” fries made from either the white Russet or red sweet potatoes.  These are not conventional fries, but waifishly thin potato chips and they are terrific.  Served warm in white paper bags, they are relatively low in salt and almost entirely greaseless.  The sweet potato chips are some of the best chips we’ve had in a long time.  They’re somewhat smallish, but very crisp and delicious.  The bottom of the bag also doesn’t contain any of those annoying broken chips you find in commercial products.

The three-quarter pound Plumpy earns its appellation. It’s a burger behemoth prepared on a flattop grill with three fresh, never frozen, beef patties and whatever toppings you selected on your paper bag. The Cheddar cheese drapes beyond the circumference of the sweet buns which are just formidable enough to contain the burger’s contents and juiciness. If you love a lot of cheese (and not that processed imitation served by many burger joints), this is your hook-up. The green chile is just piquant enough to get your attention (much more incendiary than the punchless stuff served at LotaBurger), there’s plenty of it and it’s got a smooth roasted flavor. The beef patties are well seasoned and juicy at just a shade over medium. It’s a good burger with fresh ingredients in generous proportions.

A chocolate “shutter,” Lumpy’s version of a chocolate milkshake (available only at the Cottonwood area Lumpy’s)

Even the quarter pounder is prolific.  Though it has one beef patty fewer, it would absolutely dwarf the saltfest served at the golden arches, both in sheer size and in flavor.   Lumpy’s  sold over 175,000 burger patties in their first 16 months of operation.  It was also one of the top vote-getters in the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail voting despite not having a green chile cheeseburger on its menu.

Owners Jay Kennedy and Jason Mancini have faith in their Lord and they have faith in their product.  They’ve got a good business model and the talent, product and gumption to succeed in a tough burger market.  Given a chance, they could grow in time to a viable competitor for Lota Burger, another local burger joint which started small, but became a beloved state-wide institution.  Now that’s an audacious claim, but you might make it, too, after sampling the food at a restaurant whose name you probably don’t want as your own, but whose product you will enjoy. 

Admittedly, I found the burgers at the original Lumpy’s location somewhat better than the burgers in the new location.  Perhaps it was the al fresco dining or the sense of community among the queue crowd or maybe even the novelty, but the new Lumpy’s, despite its closer proximity to home, hasn’t won me over.  Edward Sung recounts his experiences at Lumpy’s on the outstanding We Have Eaten Well blog.

Lumpy’s Burgers
10131 Coors Blvd, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
505-899-1022
LATEST VISIT: 5 June 2013
1st VISIT: 10 February 2010
# OF VISITS: 6
RATING: 18
COST: $$
BEST BET: Lumpy Burger with Skrewy Fries, Chocolate Shutter

Lumpy's Burgers (Cottonwood) on Urbanspoon

  • Jay Kennedy says:

    Thanks for coming out to review our restaurant! I just stumbled upon this review and I am pleased that you enjoyed your visit and I appreciate your kind remarks. It is evident that you know your food and I will definitely be checking this website before I try any new joints in town.

    February 21, 2010 at 9:08 PM
  • Linda Kay says:

    I thought drive to this part of town for a burger…. well I want one of these every day. Better than home or any other burger out there. Juicy, tasty and I’m bringing my friends not just telling them. Try one you won’t be sorry

    February 21, 2010 at 10:41 PM
  • J.J. says:

    All I gotta say is…
    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… Wow!

    February 21, 2010 at 11:41 PM
  • Cindy Accardo says:

    I was at Lumpy’s for their opening night – people were everywhere and having a great time.
    The burgers and fries were the best I have ever had and I went back for more sweet potato fries.
    The staff is so friendly and make some of the best food in the good old USA! Good luck to them and may God Bless!

    February 23, 2010 at 10:58 AM
  • Blaise M. Mancini says:

    Send me one in Florida! Our our best to you from your not so distant cousin. Best of luck in your new endeavor from our whole Family! Don, Dolores, Dennis, Sue Ann, and me (Blaise)!

    February 23, 2010 at 6:47 PM
  • Jacdug Henry says:

    The burgers and frys are well worth the wait. It is the best freshest tasting burger we’ve ever had. I don’t even want a burger anyplace else now that I’ve eaten at Lumpy’s. As for being closed on Sunday’s, the Lord will bless that by giving you double on other days. “Now fear the Lord and serve HIM with all faithfulness”.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:59 AM
  • Sonia Dyksterhuis says:

    The Plumpy burger looks tasty!! I can’t wait to get back home and try one….Good job Jay!

    February 24, 2010 at 2:50 PM
  • luvingfood says:

    A most excellent burger, what I have been looking for since coming to the Abq area 9 months ago. Thanx for posting a review

    February 28, 2010 at 4:47 AM
  • Bruce says:

    I tried the Lumpy Burger today and was not disappointed! A great two-fisted burger made exactly to my “Bag” specifications – and the fries were very good as well. The friendly and outgoing staff made it an even better experience!

    March 2, 2010 at 6:07 PM
  • Dianne Perea says:

    WOW!!! Best Burger in town!!! We were pleasantly surprised with how full we got!!! You have a regular gold mine going on!!! Keep up the great work!!!

    March 17, 2010 at 11:34 AM
  • Rudy V says:

    Lumpy’s is one of the best burgers in town! No need to advertise, this place is getting popular by word of mouth. You might have to wait a little, when there’s a line to order, but it’s worth the wait.

    Pretty soon Lumpy’s will be on the Food Channel… ; { )

    March 20, 2010 at 7:51 PM
  • Jennifer says:

    OMG, sooooo good! The sweet potato fries are excellent. The burger is really fresh tasting and they use good cheese. Better than Fuddruckers.

    April 7, 2010 at 3:11 PM
  • Diane says:

    I recently went to Lumpy’s last weekend for the first time…..it was great!! I loved the hamburger that I got plus the sweet potato fries were excellent. Burger was very tasty and fresh! Im definately going to get the screwy fries next time though. I will for sure be back! Two thumbs up!

    April 7, 2010 at 7:31 PM
  • abe says:

    Great burgers, but why it takes so long to order is puzzling to me. I waited in line 45 minutes before my order was taken and there were only 11 people in front of me. However, once my order was placed, it took less than 10 minutes to receive the finished product.

    April 12, 2010 at 5:12 PM
  • Natalie says:

    Best burger I have had in a long time! I ate there last night and was impresses, the green chile was good too, wimpy burger was huge. I had skinny and skrewy fries, so good, will be going back again and again

    April 13, 2010 at 9:19 AM
  • John L says:

    Tried Lumpy’s after your review. Burgers are very good and the green chili really does get your attention–loved it. Skrewy fries were neat. Eveything was done very quickly even tho they were quite busy. Only complaint is the burger was so juicy/messy the paper/foil wrapping basically disolved and let stuff dribble out the bottom. Know better next time. Jennifer remarked that they are better than Fuddruckers. That’s true but nearly everything is better than Fuddruckers.

    April 16, 2010 at 3:58 PM
  • FrankG says:

    My recommendation is don’t eat at Lumpy’s. The more people that find out about it, just makes the line longer! Let’s keep it my little secret. Seriously the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 9, 2010 at 1:53 PM
  • lobo59 says:

    Well … I hate to be negative, but what we got did not jibe well with what Gil wrote and others have said.

    First, the positive. My companion said three times, with her mouth full of a “Wimpy”: “Boy, this is a good burger!” I thought my burger, a “Wimpy” also, was quite good. My only burger complaint was that the green chile covered only about one-quarter of the patty.

    The fries, however, were a different story. My screwy fries were so wet with oil or grease that most were inedible; and my companions’ fries—skinny Idaho and skinny sweet potato—were thoroughly limp, saturated apparently, from the same grease or oil. Nearly all were inedible. After reading all the other comments, this was a big disappointment. Perhaps this was a one time event, but it has been some time since we have had such bad fries.

    Finally, both my wife and I remarked, several hours later, that we felt like we had lumpy bricks in our stomachs. We did not feel very well. Fries? Burgers? Who knows? All-in-all, not a pleasant experience.

    July 10, 2010 at 11:03 PM
  • Ben Harrison says:

    I work at the Verizon Wireless call center right up the street and eat lunch there often. I would heartily agree this is not only the best burger in Albuquerque, but probably one of the best burgers I have eaten!
    Great job Lumpy’s, I hope you expand to more locations.

    September 5, 2010 at 1:54 PM
  • Scott says:

    I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO LUMPY’S! WORST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE EVER! The food is good but the custemer service the SUCKS! I got a gift certificate for $12 dollar so I went and ordered my food and was told I had to use the whole $12 or loose the remainder of the certificate. I’m sorry but there’s no way I can eat $12 worth of Lumpy’s. If you go there NEVER give someone a certificate, screams of scam to me. They need to get with the times and use gift cards so thoase who recive them can actually use the entire amount of the certificate. Loved their sweet potato fries but after this crappy experience they have lost a customer for life will will tell everyone I know to stay away from there.

    November 21, 2010 at 12:47 AM
  • Nate D says:

    Hey Scott,

    You got a good meal for free (because you had a gift certificate). Those paper gift certificates work that way EVERYWHERE…what do you want them to do, write down how much you have left on there each time? So you have to actually buy your meal next time…is that a reason to never go there again? Come on.

    November 21, 2010 at 7:09 PM
  • Mario G says:

    Hands down, one of the best bugers that you can get in Albuquerque. Make it a point to stop by and order a Lumpy’s with cheese.

    December 11, 2010 at 8:39 PM
  • chriss says:

    i think eating ther was a whole new expiriens!!!!!!!!!!!!!!those burgers are amaizing,,,,,,i orderd the(wimpy)and dam it was BIG i was full

    March 6, 2011 at 2:25 PM
  • Roland says:

    Just saw Lumpy’s fries featured on the Cooking Channel’s “United Tastes of America” last night. Unfortunately, the host never mentioned it was in ABQ, only on Route 66.

    June 8, 2011 at 3:50 PM
  • Steve and Joan says:

    Either this place has changed hands after the OLDER reviews were posted or the cook needs to be replaced! This was a take out order to be eaten 5 minuets away placed at 530p.m. . 1. I ordered the Plumpy Burger,simply made. The only good thing on this burger was the roll and cheese. The meat (3 quarter pound patties) were so dry you needed to take liquid after each bite of the sandwich. 2. The meat was so over cooked that the edges were dark brown and dry, the centers a deep gray and there was no juice whatsoever. It is my opinion that the meat patties were cooked in advance and were warmed just before serving, There was not a glimmer of burger juice in the wrapper.Terrible ! 3 I ordered Idaho potato fries in the “CHUNKY” style one of three ways to order them, Your choice was either chunky (regular cut), skinny ( shoe string) or skrewy (curly). I got SKINNY FRIES instead of CHUNKY and they were so soggy and limp with grease that you could not eat them, even ketchup failed to save them! Very very bad indeed. 4.My wife also ordered. She had the very same problem with her “WIMPY” Burger. So dry it was as terrible as mine. Her Sweet potato fries were correctly cut in the skinny style but they too we soggy and limp with grease. Yuk!! If it were not for the cheerful person at the window, I would have nothing good to say at all except…DO NOT EAT HERE!!

    July 26, 2011 at 9:25 AM
  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos says:

    Cost of gas keeping ya from getting down often enough to South Central for your Lumpy Fix?
    About mid-November, if all goes as proposed, looks like 7 Bar Loop off of Coors can help out with a Lumpy’s ‘extension’…. http://tinyurl.com/3wh8sz5

    October 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM
  • Sr Plata says:

    Finally got to Lumpy’s on the Westside and U was well pleased! I had the Lumpy that was 2 burgers of which I added mustard, cheddar cheese, and assorted extras. I have to say the bun was awesome, so soft and perfect. What stood out was having to pick out out my potato that was fun. I picked a sweet potato cut for a potatoes chip which was great! Would like to recommend you offer alternative such as a turkey or veggie burger to your list if burgers.

    Mmmmmmmmm.v 5..,….

    November 21, 2011 at 12:15 AM
  • Boomer says:

    I went to Lumpy’s new west side location today. I was just as pleased on this occasion as I was at the other location. Great food, and friendly service. I think having the ability to choose your own potatoes is unique and fun! A must visit place on the west side of Albuquerque.

    November 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM
  • Cornelius says:

    I was eating Lumpy’s two at a time!

    December 4, 2011 at 1:35 AM
  • Larry McGoldrick says:

    Average stuff that doesn’t live up to the hype. Inconsistent order filling and inconsistent preparation.

    That being said, I think that with a bit more attention to detail, the Cottonwood Lumpy’s could become well above average.

    Certainly beats Lotaburger all hollow, though. But that’s easy.

    Lumpy’s has a long way to go before they rise to the quality of Papaburgers.

    April 19, 2012 at 4:47 PM
  • MrsRum says:

    We ate at the Lumpy’s at Cottonwood last night; the 2nd time we’ve been there. The burgers were delicious but the fries were again a disappointment. I had the russet and my husband had the sweet potato and we both went with skinny. Both kind were limp, oily, and soggy. Not very appetizing.

    The burger is worth going back for, so next time I’ll request the fries be “crispy” and hope that solves the problem. I’ll also take a jacket, both times the restaurant has been freezing!

    April 29, 2012 at 10:23 AM
  • Edward Sung says:

    Thanks for the mention, Gil! One thing about Lumpy’s that I continue to wonder about is whether or not they wash the potato before turning it into fries. I’m not afraid of germs — the deep frying process would kill any bacteria — but the unsanitary conditions kind of gross me out.

    June 8, 2013 at 7:04 PM

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