Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
America has become increasingly homogenized as corporate chains have used catchy jingles, universal name recognition and multi-million dollar media budgets to spread their tentacles across the fruited plain and entice gullible customers into their copycat restaurants. Despite the boring sameness perpetuated by corporate chains, Americans still crave a familiar, comfortable and welcoming gathering spot where “everybody knows your name.” More than ever, American diners want to support restaurants that are part of the community, especially those which showcase local fare and local ingredients.
Local restaurants–mom-and-pops–the type of which will be celebrated by Ryan Scott’s compelling radio program “Break the Chain” also inspire loyalty because they’re owned and operated by our friends and neighbors, people like us who are invested in the community and share our passion for the Land of Enchantment. That loyalty was very much in evidence as a four-person panel of culinary experts–me included–reviewed all nominations for the New Mexico Tourism Department’s update to the highly successful culinary initiative, the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail.
Nearly two-hundred different purveyors of New Mexico’s iconic green chile cheeseburger were nominated for inclusion on the Trail with tens of thousands of votes being cast by burgerphiles throughout the Land of Enchantment. Not surprisingly, the list of nominees garnering the most votes included some of the state’s most famous and popular bastions of burgers par excellence such as Blake’s Lotaburger, the Buckhorn Tavern, the Owl Cafe and the Bobcat Bite. What was surprising was the sheer number of restaurants not nominated in the previous celebration of New Mexico’s green chile cheeseburger. It was obvious no one wanted to be left out in 2011.
One such establishment amassing a significant number of votes is Doc & Eddy’s which our learned panel recognized as a sports bar with a phalanx of pool tables. None of us knew enough about this sports bar to believe it could offer an edible green chile cheeseburger, much less one so obviously very highly regarded by its loyal patrons. Similarly, in 2009 we were surprised at the outpouring of loyalty for the 300 Club Bar & Grill which none of our experts had known much about. That, my dear readers is why we ask for New Mexico’s diverse citizenry to tell us which burgers are Trail worthy.
Doc & Eddy’s is indeed a sports bar and it does proffer a green chile cheeseburger though you won’t find a burger by that specific name anywhere on the menu. Instead you’ll find burgers with such clever appellations as the Buckeye Burger, the Rio Grande Burger, the Lobo Burger and the Aggie Burger (perhaps the only place in town in which a Lobo and an Aggie can be found in amicable proximity to one another). Green chile is an ingredient in several of the sports bar’s burgers.
As with an increasing number of sports bars, Doc & Eddie’s pays close attention to its guests’ holistic experience–ambiance, libations and food, but similar to its beverage dispensing brethren, it subscribes to the template which seems to demand beer banners draped from the ceiling, posters of scantily-clad pulchritude and sports memorabilia. The sport of choice for many guests is pool; nearly twenty tables are available for a little action, but you can also engage in darts. There are two distinct dining areas, the sunken south-facing dining area sitting behind glass. Flat screen televisions are positioned strategically throughout the dining areas which are packed sardine-tight on nights in which Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view events are broadcast. Doc & Eddy’s does not have a cover charge for viewing these events.
A fairly expansive, laminated two-page menu of New Mexico bar food favorites is a welcome surprise. Burgers are referred to as “Heavenly Half-Pounders,” an audacious claim New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail voters have bought into. The menu also offers more than a dozen appetizers and not just the usual New Mexico suspects (salsa, guacamole, con queso). You can also have quesadillas, hot buffalo wings and more. Calorie-counters will find seven salads, all topped with cheese and tomatoes and served with your choice of dressing and fresh breadsticks. Six pizzas and a “man-sized” calzone are also available as are a number of Southwest Specialties and Deli-Style Sandwiches. It’s an ambitious menu.
During my inaugural visit, I scanned the entire menu but focused primarily on the heavenly half-pounders, my objective to discover just what makes these bountiful burgers so beloved. Being asked to what degree of “doneness” you want your burger grilled is always welcomed, but seldom do restaurants execute to the specificity you desire. Doc & Eddy’s does. At medium, the Lobo Burger is juicy, a perfectly charred grey-brown exterior and a nice pinkish hue in the middle. An eight ounce patty is topped with bacon, mushrooms and green chile draped over by molten white Monterrey Jack cheese. You’re free to add lettuce, tomato, white onions and pickles as you please.
The best burgers are only as good as their individual components and Doc & Eddy’s Lobo Burger is made with fresh ingredients prepared very well. The bacon is crisp without being dry and stiff. The green chile has a pleasant flavor with just a hint of piquancy (not quite incendiary enough for me) though there is no indication it’s been roasted. The mushrooms (probably canned) are thin-sliced, but fleshy with just a hint of must. When done adding other toppings, this burger is a handful of moist deliciousness, a surprisingly good burger which has rightfully earned the adulation of its many voting fans.
Green chile is one of those rare ingredients which improves everything it touches and its absence is more than conspicuous in foods on which it belongs (such as cheeseburgers). The Scorpion Burger (extra bacon, guacamole, grilled onions, mushrooms and three cheeses) is one of those foods which would be better with green chile. Much better! Now, there are some nice aspects to this burger–the perfectly fried bacon, the unctuous guacamole, the sweet grilled onions…but a little chile goes such a long way.
All sandwiches and burgers are served with your choice of steak fries (skin on), onion rings, cup of soup, cottage cheese, or a side salad with your choice of dressing. The fries are Texas-sized with potato skins left intact. The onion rings are battered and large. Save for their size, both fries and rings are fairly typical of burger accompaniment. Given my druthers, it’s the green chile stew for me.
A “big, generous bowl” of green chile stew served with a tortilla and fry bread is but one of seven items on the Southwestern Specialties section of the menu. Also available in cup-size, the green chile stew is much more piquant than the green chile on the burgers. Attribute that to large bits of green chile and the fact that this dish is served steaming hot to accentuate its piquancy. This green chile stew also includes potatoes, tomatoes, onions and more pork than I can remember having on any stew of its kind.
Doc & Eddy’s wait staff is very friendly and accommodating. It was apparent they knew many of the patrons by name. The burgers may be the reason diners visit this sports bar when they’re hungry, but taking a break from all their worries is why they return.
Doc & Eddy’s
6040 Brentwood Lane, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 25 April 2011
1st VISIT: 24 April 2011
# of VISITS: 2
BEST BET: Lobo Burger, Green Chile Stew, Scorpion Burger, Onion Rings & Fries