During its seventh season, the X Files television series in which FBI agents investigated paranormal phenomena featured an episode in which a ravenous Lucky Boy employee in California struggled against his craving for human brain matter (almost anything goes in the Golden state). The most paranormal thing about the Duke City Lucky Boy is its “east meets west” dining concept. Nowhere else in town can you order Chinese and American food so inexpensively and from the very same menu.
If you think about it, ordering inexpensive Chinese and American food from within one menu shouldn’t be such an anomalous event–especially when you consider that many of Lucky Boy’s patrons are UNM students, many of whom know how to stretch a buck. It’s not just UNM students who patronize this hole-in-the-wall. You might just as soon find faculty and staff also indulging in inexpensive (but good) food.
Lucky Boy is a quintessential American mom and pop (make that mama-san and papa-san) diner tended lovingly by Chinese proprietors named Suzy and Ron who know what many of their customers are going to order as soon as they walk in. You’ll do a second-take the first time you see a steaming wok preparing noodles next to the sizzling griddle on which burger patties are being cooked. Lucky Boy has been around since 1968 and it shows. The restaurant is somewhat bedraggled and is certainly dated with 1960s style paneling on the walls and well-trodden tile on the floor.
Lucky Boy’s green chile cheeseburger is six inches of well seasoned meat and standard (lettuce, pickles, tomato, onions) but high quality condiments, including a tangy Day-Glo colored mustard and ketchup sauce the proprietors refer to as Lucky Boy sauce. The green chile is flavorful and more piquant than at many New Mexican restaurants and proprietors of the green chile cheeseburger (Lotaburger comes to mind). The buns are lightly toasted, but so thick they obfuscate the flavor of the burger.
Lucky Boy was one of 48 restaurants, drive-ins, diners, dives, joints, cafes, roadside stands and bowling alleys selected for the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, a celebration of New Mexico’s iconic burger. That placed it in select…make that elite, company. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call Lucky Boy’s green chile cheeseburger one of the city’s most popular, if not best of its genre.
The menu also includes an Egg Foo Young sandwich, a culinary curiosity served in St. Louis as a “St. Paul sandwich” and which you won’t find in Minnesota. At Lucky Boy, you can have the Egg Foo Yong sandwich with hamburger meat and the condiments which normally accompany a burger (including the aforementioned Lucky Boy sauce, chile and green chile). It’s a great sandwich with or without the beef patty!
Lucky Boy’s French fries are only so-so (fairly standard) while we’ve found the chocolate shakes to be rather gloppy and bland. Lucky Boy offers more than the standard Pepsi or Coke soft drinks. RC Cola and Diet Rite in a can are among the different sodas featured.
Chinese fare includes sweet and sour pork, Mandarin chicken and other American favorites. Aside from the Egg Foo Young sandwich we haven’t sampled any Chinese entrees but have observed that there’s almost a fifty/fifty split among patrons ordering burgers and Chinese food.
3521 Constitution, N.E.
LATEST VISIT: 24 July 2010
# OF VISITS: 7
BEST BET: Green Chile Cheeseburger, Egg Foo Yong Sandwich