Blake’s Lotaburger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

LotaBurger in Bernalillo Has a New Look and Feel

Blake’s Lotaburger is a New Mexico only institution founded in 1952 by long-time proprietor Blake Chanslor who owned it for half a century before selling it in 2003. While the marquee may still carry Blake’s name, the 76 store franchise with a presence in most of New Mexico’s larger cities and towns (23 in all) is now owned by Brian Rule, an Albuquerque resident.  On April 10, 2009, Chanslor passed away, having left a legacy based not only on having founded a New Mexico institution, but for his philanthropic endeavors.

Thankfully, Lotaburger has, for the most part, retained the high quality that has allowed it to thrive despite the onslaught from deep-pocketed, worldwide corporate megaliths.  At least that’s the case for many of the state’s Lotaburger restaurants. As is often the case with multi-store chain restaurants, not all links in the chain are equally strong.  All too frequently, we have visited Lotaburger restaurants throughout the state in which service is spotty and the burgers don’t quite meet the high preparation standards for which Lotaburger has been known.

Blake’s Lotaburger (Photo courtesy of Sarah Rose)

Though I have not tried nearly all of New Mexico’s LotaBurger restaurants, those I frequent most often (one in Rio Rancho and one in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque) exemplify the high standards that make Lotaburger a state institution.  The wonderfully performing Lotaburger restaurants form the basis for the positive things written on this review, but I’ll also explain my rancor for lesser performing franchises.

The restaurant’s motto, “If you are what you eat, you are awesome” may describe in part why New Mexicans are fiercely loyal to Lotaburger. It’s a restaurant we proudly call our own (although you can now find Lotaburger in the El Paso, Texas and Tucson, Arizona areas). LotaBurger was grandfathered into the inaugural New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail in 2009, an indication of just how beloved this institution is throughout the Land of Enchantment.  In 2011 the affection New Mexicans have for Lotaburger was not assumed with voters being asked to select their favorites for the second New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail.  The leading vote-getter from among more than 100 nominees was Lotaburger.  No other restaurant was close.

A well-seasoned Lotaburger grill

In a 2006 edition of National Geographic’s Passport to the Best: The 10 Best of Everything book, Lotaburger was acclaimed as the “Best Green Chile Cheeseburger in the World“.  You won’t find many locals who’ll dispute that it’s definitely one of the very best.  On the Alibi’s 2003, 2004 and 2005 Readers Choice restaurant polls (as well as subsequent other polls), Duke City residents proclaimed loudly that Lotaburger serves the very best hamburger in town. While generations of New Mexicans have grown up appreciating Lotaburger, this local gem is also appreciated by many (though certainly not all) newcomers, some who have been known to become devoted loyalists after only one visit.

In 2010, Gustavo Arellano, the brilliant and hilarious author of Ask a Mexican, a widely syndicated newspaper column published mostly in weekly alternative papers, asked the question “Forget Five Guys Burgers: Why Can’t We Get a Blake’s Lotaburger.” It was his response to the influx of Five Guys Burgers in Southern California.  Arellano reasoned, “If we’re going to have a regional burger chain invade our county and go up against our In-n-Out’s and TK’s, why couldn’t it have been Blake’s Lotaburger, the country’s most-ardent proponent of what’s perhaps burgerdom’s greatest manifestation: the green chile hamburger?”

LOTA™️ Burger New Mexico Style™️

In recent years, Lotaburger has modernized many of its buildings, all of which are built by the company’s construction division.  Until the modernization, one constant was the presence on the marquee of a jolly-faced ringmaster attired in top hat and red striped coat and bow tie. It’s been a familiar sight for all New Mexicans.  With the exception of buns and drinks, everything that goes to a Lotaburger Stand comes from or through the company’s main commissary, just off Candelaria in Albuquerque. That might account for the unfailingly fresh ingredients that make it onto a Lotaburger.

One concession Lotaburger has made over the years is adding drive-up service. While this may be a wonderful convenience, trying to devour a Lotaburger while you drive can be a messy proposition because each burger (prepared to order) can be crammed with lettuce, tomato, green chile (optional), onions and mustard.  If you’ve got the time, it’s still best to eat in and observe the cooks in action, listen to the sizzle of the grill and especially imbibe of the aroma of your burger being prepared to order.  That grill is so well seasoned that my buddy Bill Resnik has thought seriously about taking a weekend job at Lotaburger just to figure out how Lotaburger seasons its grill so perfectly.

Double Meat Double Green Chile Itsa Burger

The green chile cheeseburger (rechristened LOTA™️ Burger New Mexico Style™️) is Lotaburger’s signature menu item and one of the things we missed most about the Land of Enchantment all the years we were away. Delicious Angus beef orbs are ameliorated by toasted buns and unfailingly fresh ingredients. The green chile has never been piquant, but it is unfailingly fresh and delicious. There are only three burgers on the menu, the “LOTA™️ Burger New Mexico Style™️,” “Lotaburger” and the “Itsaburger,” the latter being the smaller of the three.  All are constructed with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and mustard.  You can also ask for mayonnaise, cheese, bacon and any burger can be made with double meat, double cheese and (or) double green chile for a pittance.  If you like grilled onions on your burger, Lotaburger will accommodate you here, too.

12 February 2023: Native New Mexicans who were practically weaned on Lotaburger lament “it’s not the same” about the size of the burgers.  Indeed, Lotaburger was famous for its six-inch (at least) buns and thin meat patties.  Burgers were of the “it takes two hands to handle” variety.  Today, the LOTA™️ Burger New Mexico Style™️ is much taller than Lota’s burgers of my youth.  It’s stacked high with ingredients–lettuce, tomato, onion.  Two patties are placed atop the vegetables, each blanketed by melting cheese.  The top patty is covered with green chile.  It’s not the most piquant green chile you can find, but it’s got a nice roasted flavor.

Chili Fries

A Lotaburger is wholly unlike any of the ubiquitous institutionalized fast-food burgers on every street USA.  You’ll never find a Lotaburger sitting under a heating lamp for ten minutes before your order.  In fact, the beef doesn’t hit the grill until you place your order–and the grill is cleaned after each burger is done, one of the reasons the restaurant earns recognition for its cleanliness.  It’s taste, however, that makes Lotaburger aficionados crave these incomparable burgers.  If freshness has a flavor, it might taste like a Lotaburger just off the grill.  The coalescence of fresh ingredients with perfectly seasoned beef sandwiched by lightly toasted buns is positively addictive.

If you want piquant, a good option is Lotaburger’s rendition of the Frito pie, formerly listed as “chili pie” on the menu. A messy mix of beans, chili, onions, cheese and Fritos, these tasty gems are, like everything else on the menu, made to order.  Chili fries are another option.  The fries are lightly coated with various spices and are stiff on the exterior and soft on the inside.  The chili is made with hamburger and has a nice pleasant heat to it.  Though it’s spelled and made with hamburger the Texas way, the chili is all New Mexico with no cumin.

Ranch Chicken Sandwich (no longer on the menu)

To this point, I’ve praised LotaBurger ad-infinitum, so why the reason for my relatively low rating. It’s forgivable that the green chile lacks in the piquant bite many New Mexicans crave, but it’s sacrilege for some of the restaurant’s chefs to absolutely mash the beef to the grill with the spatula. My skin crawls at seeing the meat mashing cooks take away whatever moistness any slab of beef may have with their spatula pressing. So there–discard the spatulas; they don’t accelerate the preparation process by that much.

28 May 2020: In May, 2020, Lotaburger entered the chicken sandwich war with two options: Blake’s Chicken Sandwich (two chicken tenderloin strips, pickles and Blake’s sauce, our signature creamy green chile sauce) and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich (two chicken tenderloin strips tossed in spicy Buffalo sauce, Ranch and pickles) that was filling, but not exactly brimming with deliciousness.  In fact, the biggest impression it made was for its rather diminutive size.  It’s not much bigger than a slider with perhaps a four-inch bun.  The pickled onions left absolutely no impression and the Ranch sauce could have used more personality (green chile, anyone?).

Breakfast burritos
The Lotaburger breakfast burrito

Several years ago, Lotaburger began serving breakfast burritos at select locations. The burritos are more like burrotes; they’re enormous and require two hands to hold. Offered with Hatch grown green and red chile, most of them come standard with hashed browns, scrambled eggs and your choice of other ingredients such as beans, sausage and bacon. As much as I revere Lotaburger’s green chile on its famous burgers, there just isn’t enough of New Mexico’s favorite condiment on the burritos for my liking. Ditto for the red chile. 

The parsimony with which the chile is applied and its lack of piquancy was certainly no deterrent to the staff of Albuquerque the Magazine who, in the September, 2011 undertook the ambitious challenge of naming Albuquerque’s very best breakfast burrito.  Lotaburger’s breakfast burrito was the second rated from among dozens of choices evaluated.  It’s the most popular breakfast item proffered at the restaurant.

LotaBurger Breakfast Sandwich
The Lotaburger breakfast sandwich is a great morning pick-up

Better than the breakfast burritos is a simple breakfast sandwich in which fluffy eggs, cheese, bacon and green chile are sandwiched in between two slices of toasted bread. It’s a morning picker-upper that tastes great.  Breakfast is served only until 11AM which may be a shame because a burrito for lunch might be another draw.

The chocolate and strawberry shakes are cloying and both have the “artificial flavoring” taste.  Better, but still pinging-off-the-walls sweet is the cherry Coke (which Blake’s served well before it was a commercial product).

Blake’s Lotaburger
6210 Fourth Street, N.W.
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM
505 345-0402
Web Site | Facebook Page

LATEST VISIT: 12 February 2023
COST: $$
BEST BET: LOTA™️ Burger New Mexico Style™️, Frito Pie, Breakfast Sandwich, Seasoned French Fries, Double Meat Itsa Burger

43 thoughts on “Blake’s Lotaburger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

  1. That hamburger looks so darn good I had to go out and get one today! Not at any of the Blakes even remotely close by me because in my experience they are all terrible. I guess I’ll have to drive up to Rio Rancho one day and go to yours.

    1. Sadly, Lynn, consistency is not just a problem from one location to another. It’s a problem within some locations. My most recent visit to LotaBurger was at the Bernalillo store. My burger was very good, but that wasn’t the case my previous visit at that same location. One of the problems restaurants have had since the Cabrona virus is maintaining staff. Without continuity, it’s a huge challenge to achieve consistent standards in restaurants such as LotaBurger.

      1. They should consider doing away with drive-up. I’ve had several very long wait times at the RR location, having placed the order well in advance. It takes very little for the staff to be overwhelmed by inside plus drive-up orders

  2. Hi Gil,
    Had to check in to see your latest review on Blake’s Lota Burger. They have gone way down hill since the pandemic started and they use that as an excuse for low quality.
    The burgers have increased in price a bit and shrunk in size. The standard Lota Burger is now the size of the former Itsa Burger and I would hate to see the resized Itsa.
    Their burritos are no longer the bomb. Dry, stale grocery tortillas and lower quality chile, and dry inside makes for poor quality here as well.
    Last, they are extremely and I mean extremely rude- in person and on their FB page. They go so far as to laugh and ridicule remarks that reflect the down hill quality rather than addressing them in a professional manner.
    I will never return to them unless they belly up and someone else buys them out to return Blake’s to it’s former glory.
    There are other much better selections in town for green chile burgers, frito pie, chicken sandwiches, and burritos. Oh and REAL milk shakes/malts.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m 74 and vividly remember a bunch of us kids at Valley High School (1964-65-66) going directly to Blake’s after school for burgers and fries to hold us over until dinner! In fact, they were cited as a main reason Valley High went to a closed campus, we couldn’t resist them but didn’t seem to be able to make it back to class in a timely manner LOL. Not Blake’s fault, we were kids LOL. Then in 1992 I moved to CA. My husband for 57 years and I actually met at Blake’s in 1965, and I had both grown up on Lota Burgers. At least once a month we would drive back to Albuquerque to satisfy our Lota Burger craving. We each ate at least 3 burgers before going home on Sunday.
      But, alas, today was the final straw for me. Service has become so close to nonexistent that even if the burgers were still up the old Blake’s standards it couldn’t be over looked. It has gradually declined since we returned in 2011, to the point that I seriously think my prepared burger had to have been dropped and simply scooped up and wrapped! I ordered by phone because, unless you order in person or by phone, it has to for delivery only. Today after 3 attempts to order on the phone with the computer generated voice because they kept ordering things I hadn’t said or leaving things out. I finally talked to a I think human but I literally had to ask him 4 times to please read the order back to me more slowly. He spoke so fast that the words were as run together and most young people text, without punctuation. He finally became indignant when I last requested he slow down and consequently none of the 3 burgers had cheese and were all demolished. Sooo very sad. This was the Juan Tabo NE store but I haven’t found a decent Blake’s anywhere in the NE or SE heights.
      As much as it pains me to say, Blake’s Lota Burger should close while some of us still have pleasant memories, rather than completely losing their once exemplary reputation. Or at least close all but the stores in Rio Rancho and Los Ranchos before even those 2 close from lack of business.
      I’m sorry it’s come to this, I completely understand staffing problems and appreciate all of the owner’s hard work over the years. Fast food ownership can be treacherous. But you had a great run, and so many people have treasured memories. I just wish my CA grandkids could experience what we once did.

      1. Aah Dottie, indeed such a bittersweetness for you and for many of us apparently over the recent years as noted herein. Somewhere intertwined while reading your lament…e.g. meeting your Viejo there, haplessly retrying over the years, your being a Frosh in ’64…another gal came out that year with a “sentiment” that ran through my head while reading your reflection:   
        Alas, let us remember Blake Chanslor flipped his first “Lota” in ’52 for 35 cents as pictured herein, wherein Blake looks about 40ish(???)? (As an aside, a Lota today runs $5.29. According to an Inflation Calculator, $.35 today should be around $3.97 ) I.e.  Blake must’ve retired along the way and, as such, perhaps his kin or to whom he sold it, if that were the case, thought they were a bit more business/corporate headed/savvy and abandoned the previous purveyors who provided the guts of the LB. Of course on the other hand, maybe “Los Anos” have caught up with our taste buds and memories. As Mary sang to us in the ’60s, but to which we paid no-mind per our then ages
        BTW, was Backratting one’s hair a thing in NM by then? Do you still have your brush or a not-quite-empty can of Aqua Net under your sink?  Seems Gals do so little with their hair today, IMHO. In any event and in today’s world, Congrats on being such long-time Novios!

  3. Blakes lota burgers are not the same patties we grew up with, and much smaller burger and bun. Get back to the original beef!!!

    1. You are correct about the size of the lotta burger. They were much larger years ago. I would love for those originals to come back.

  4. Your last post on Blake’s Lotaburger was several years ago. It has even changed more now within the last few years. Their buns have changed. Their french fries have changed, again. There Chile has changed. They don’t even use fresh lettuce anymore and it is now bad. What are your thoughts on it within the last few years?

    1. It saddens me to read of your recent experiences at Lotaburger which sadly seem to mirror the experiences of Yelp reviewers. Ratings for the city’s Lotaburger are pretty consistent, ranging mostly from one- to three-stars. Still, Lotaburger continues to win a lot of “best of the city” accolades so there must be a lot of us out there who are holding on to memories of the Lotaburger of our youth. I’ll visit soon and will update my review.

      1. It saddens me as well that Blake’s Lotaburger has changed so drastically. I hold it deep within my heart. There were so many great memories of Blake’s as well as the food that tasted so delicious. There used to be nothing like Blake’s. It’s very sad that Blake says changed.

  5. As much credit as you give the perspiring professor, Larry doesn’t seem to agree with you much, especially lately. Look what he’s had to say on Zomato about two of your favorites:

    Blake’s Lotaburger – My visit produced a cardboard-like burger, burned and oily fries, watery soda, and very rude service. There are good burgers in The Duke City, but not here.

    Los Cuates – Los Cuates is by far the worst Mexican/New Mexican restaurant I have ever eaten in.

    Considering all the time you seem to spend with the professor, I’m surprised his honesty hasn’t rubbed off on you more.

    1. It’s perspicacious, not perspiring. Larry is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I’ve never seen him perspire–even when he’s eating Thai bird peppers or habanero aguachile.

      Larry is absolutely honest, a paragon of integrity. We should all aspire to be as honest.

      Insofar as our differences of opinion, Larry’s visits to Lotaburger and Los Cuates transpired recently. My last visit to Lotaburger in February, 2012 resulted in a rating of 17, the same rating earned by Los Cuates during my last visit there in January, 2012. As expressed often on this blog, my ratings are snapshots in time. More than four years have passed since my last reviews of Lotaburger and Los Cuates. A lot can change in four years.

      BTW, Larry and I have actually been mistaken for one another. For me that’s a great compliment though Larry shouldn’t ever be insulted like that.

  6. Last week I stopped by at the Blake’s Lata Burger on 4th and El Pueblo, near Paseo Del Norte, cooks were not wearing gloves to handel food, one of the ladies was sick and snizzing covering her mouth with both hands, she even told a customer that she was sick, he told her she should be at home resting, she smiled. it was grose, I throw my burrito away, never will go back to that place again.

    1. These people, ALL have serious work ethic problems. All over Santa Fe, if you white skin they have a system I haven’t yet caught on, but some dude always get served my food and I get a little burger or fries and paid10$ nearly! Sick that

  7. reading over the comments confirms my feeling that as with most chains the time of day you visit is directly responsible for how good the product tastes.
    LB can be good at 1030AM or at 3PM but at a busy lunch hour it can be as pedestrian as any other big chain.
    it’s also telling that folks with fond memories of eating at LB years ago still like the place.
    They say that the first time is the best and it seems like eating at Blakes is covered by that saying.
    In the end it’s still a burger and so many are consumed that sooner or later the 300th LB consumed by us will be bad for any number of reasons.
    and that may be the one that sticks out in our mind.
    But it is still just a burger!

  8. What happened to the number 1 with cheese and green chile? Hardly no meat. My wife and I used to split the burger. Now it’s like a kiddie burger. We ate at Lotta Burger in Santa Fe on corner of Paseo de paralta and Guadallupe.

  9. the food was always great up until this morning. Called in for a order but when my husband got there they said we had not ordered and I was upset. not only was there bad service but when we had finally gotten our order ,got home to open a so call breakfast burrito.. was nothing but bread and potatoes! to make it worse our food was not properly well cooked. yuck! never going back to the location where I had gotten it, other than that I will still go but not there!!

  10. I give up. Since Blake’s was bought by some out of town investors, it’s gone to the dogs.

    Every time I’ve ordered from Blake’s since the takeover, something has been wrong. Stale bun or wrong order. It’s too bad, it used to be a real New Mexico gem. No longer.

  11. My grandparents settled in Bloomfield when he retired from working on new power plants. My grandfather and I used to always hit the Lotaburger on our way home from fishing trips. He loved the burgers. I loved the BBQ Beef.

    I had not been back to NM since 2002 until this last week. My first stop in Bloomfield was Blake’s. I had been dreaming of a couple of BBQ Beef sandwiches since leaving Kansas City the day before. “What? No BBQ Beef? Uh, no, pulled pork is not going to cut it!”

    What a sad way to start my visit home.

  12. I enjoy Blake’s breakfast burritos. As much as I would _like_ to like their burgers – I don’t. I’ve eaten at a number of locations over the years (locally, and in other towns), and, while these visits occasionally yielded a truly excellent burger, most of the time, the buns were soggy and the chile was flavourless. It’s the luck of the draw, I guess.

  13. I grew up eating at the Lota Burger on Washinton just south of Menaul. I think this has to be one of the few the chain hasn’t updated (and I hope they never do), No inside dining but plenty of covered tables outside so you can enjoy watching all the traffic of this ever growing town (I hesitate to call Albuquerque a “City” because it has seemed to maintain a small town friendliness over the decades). The last time I visited the Washington LB there was a guy in front of me who asked to use the phone. The lady working there then gruffly told him to get out of the way so she could take my order (I loved it). Great burgers, inconsistent “spicitude” in the green chile, but if you have lived in NM long, that’s just the way it is. Now if I could just get into town early enough to try one of their breakfast burritos. Oh yeah, the guy was allowed to use the phone.

  14. I really appreciate having my burger cooked to order and not waiting for me under a heat lamp like so many of the big chains that I avoid. I usually order a Lota burger with cheese, green chile, mayo, grilled onions and extra tomatoes. Top it off with an order of seasoned fries and you have a very good meal. The wait is longer than the big chains and well worth it. Tried the breakfast burrito, wasnt impressed. Tried the fish sandwich, Halibut no less, but the size of the fillet was quite small for the price. I remember when Blake’s was about the only place that served green chile on a burger. They’re home grown just like me.

  15. Guess what, Blakes has my favorite breakfast burrito. As some may know, Sr Plata doesnt do pig so he orders the breakfast burrito with the eggs (real), potatoes, cheese, green chilie (of course green) and hamburger. Yes, will come with an Itsa but possible to get the larger version with a minimal price increase. I have tried many and this is really really good and suggest breakfast burrito affectionados to try it. I would like them to try real cut up potatoes like the ones from Dos Hermanos instead of hashbrowns, that would be ‘Extreme’. Price was right, enough to eat 2…

  16. I’ve loved Blake’s for years, but was disappointed when they changed their green chile :-(. It used to be that their chile had no bite, but had some good flavors; now, it is hot, but has no real flavor. It’s just hot for the sake of being hot. I’ve resorted to just ordering without green chile (I know, I should be hung for that, but desperate times call for desperate measures).

    That being said, it is stil a good burger. Love the grilled onions, and of course the cripsy lettuce and juicy tomatoes and crunchy pickles…in my opinion the toppings are the star of this show.

    If you are looking for a LotaBurger-like hamburger, do youreself a favor and hit Papa Burgers (Gil has reviewed it on his site – thanks for introducing PBs to us Gil). I left a comment on there too, but basically, their chile is very mild and could use some scoville points, but has a good flavor, and the burger with onions already mixed in the meat is an idea whose time has been long in the making…

  17. I am a n.m. resident. Born and raised in las cruces some of my favorit memories of groing up consist of going to blakes lota burger with mom and dad and my brother and sisters to enjoy a great burger and I take my own family and when my brother and sisters get the chance to get together which isn’t often we still get the best burgers ever.Thank you Lotta Burger for remaining one of the things I love most about our great state.

  18. Ya know, I ask that Y’all pardon me, as I probably have not had the recommended intake of roughage of late.

    With that in mind, I’ve enjoyed chili(sic)-cheese Lotaburgers since the early ’70s. Maybe its an aging thing, but I think they’ve lost a bit of their edge over the past several years…am not sure, is it the buns? the onions, the chili(sic)?

    Anyway, their Fish Sandwich is my frustration today. Had my first one last night. For the price per ounce, I’m leaning toward a….yes!!!!….Combo at Mickey D’s!!!! While the later could….well should….back off the tartar sauce, LB could add a tad more and a sliver of cheese….IMHO. LB’s combo would have been over 7 bucks!!!!

    Oh….and as I say to ALL restaurateurs…THROW AWAY THE SALT SHAKER in the kitchen. We are growups…let us do our own thing…..don’t BS us with the flavoring ‘occurs’ during the cooking process!

    FLASH: Hunt’s now has a ketchup with No Salt Added!!!! (A well known and the richest congressman’s wife needs to take note!)
    Ooo Ooo have Y’all discovered LOW-Sodium V8. (The Amer. Heart Assoc. recommends your daily intake of Sodium be under 2000 mg.)

  19. I remember when I moved to Dallas from the Great North Woods back in ’55. It was impossible to get a bad hamburger. Then, in the early ’70’s, Big Mac City and Burger Biggie came to town & within a year it was impossible to get a good one except at a dive on Harry Hines. In about ’73 it gave up and became a mesquite smoked steak house, a fairly good one. In 1975 I moved to Albuquerque and rejoiced-the good hamburger was back at Lota Burger. A couple of years later they had an advertising campaign about their 1/3 lb. burgers. One day a couple of months later I dropped by for my usual taste sensation and received what was called in another national campaign “the big bun.” I couldn’t figure out what was wrong until I really studied the menu. The Lota Burger was now 1/4 lb but seemed much smaller. For years after there was not a decent burger in Albuquerque but they are now making a comeback at places like the Coyote Diner, Bubsters and several others. I don’t understand the praise for Lota Burger. All of those near my house seem to average 4-5 customers per day and all others I pass by seem empty even though they are highly visible and highly praised.

  20. The first Lota Burger I went to was in 1968 when I moved here from Northern NM. My family and I have found consistent quality, clean stores and friendly New Mexico people running the place. Bravo Blakes!

  21. I don’t get it. What is so special about Blake’s? I’ve never had anything good there at all.

  22. Pull up to fast food chain in New Mexico, see the new faces serving the food and take a chance, pull up to Blakes see the old regulars serving the food and take no chances. Get a burger at traditional chains (soy) get a burger at Lota Burger (real hamburger). I remember when the stops on I-25 for food could only be a Lota Burger as no chains were prevalent in New Mexico but reasonably priced burgers were available at Lota Burger. Many trips required you pack your own lunch if you wished to eat. Lota Burger made it easier in this state. I will choose to go to a place where employees make a career out of their work and I will support Blakes for being local.

  23. The first burger I ever ate must have been at Blake’s on Blake Road at Isleta, which was, I’m told, the first one. That was in the fifties. I wouldn’t say they are the best in New Mexico, but they are the best by a chain and there almost always is one nearby. Bob’s offers a different taste, and a person wants to try theirs ever so often, but you can get a Blake’s burger as fast as a McD’s most of the time, and especially if you call ahead. I always call in my order.
    The great thing I like about Blake’s is the counter service. You almost always get what you ordered and at the same price you paid yesterday. I’ve ordered the same five items for a week straight at a fast foot major chain and the cashier came up with a different price every day. You can’t argue because of the line and everybody is impatient. They always insist you get three cookies when you only want one.
    I probably eat a Lota Burger ever two weeks, double meat and green chile. How many burgers does that add up to since 1955 or whenever it started up?

  24. I left ABQ in early 1991, moving to Denver where I was close enough to make it “home” a few times over the next five years. First stop, every single time, was Blakes in Santa Fe. Then when I’d get home, I’d chow as many Lotaburgers as possible before leaving again. Since 1995, I’ve been in the boonies of NW Wisconsin, and I am jonesing badly for some real chile…but I want a Lotaburger even more!

    The hope is to get home sometime this year, although no one is left there in terms of family. I need a fix, but I’ve been living in the land of ketchup long enough to know I will need to buy stock in Tums for most of my stops…except for Blakes!

    I can’t believe I just found this site! Thank you for it!!!

  25. Forgot to mention, for a good burger in Rio Ranch, the folks there are really nice and make a great Lota Burger. The last time I ate there, a few weeks ago. The food and friendliness took me back years….way back. It was really nice.

  26. Hmm? Okay, I am almost convinced to give them another try…almost. In looking back on my note above, I realize that I may have come across a bit strong, but…well…I just don’t get it! I have been to three different Blake’s (since moving here 15 years ago) and have been singularly unimpressed with ALL of them. That’s why I was amazed that Gil gave them such a good review! He and I usually agree (although he expresses himself much better) when it comes to Albuquerque establishments. Maybe I will give them another chance. But I don’t feel quite convinced yet.

  27. If they made a really good burger aftershave, it would smell like a Lota Burger. (Burger King actually made a burger aftershave, but it didn’t smell very good, or so I have heard.)

    Sorry Chef Dare, but it sounds to me like you’ve gone to the wrong Blake’s. As Gil alluded to, they suffer from a consistency problem – especially when it comes to how the meat is prepared and if the grill chef is partial to squeezing the life out of a meat patty. The Blake’s at Osuna and Eubank is awful, while the Blake’s at Montgomery and Moon is consistenly wonderful.

    The late, great Blake Chanslor was on to something when he opened his first restaurant. I grew up with Lota Burgers, and for the most part, they are one of the few things that tastes as good today as it did when I was a Kid.

    With all due respect to the mom-and-pop shops that serve great burgers, (and there are lots of them) Blakes will always be one of my favorites.


  28. I’ve never been to a bad Blakes’. I frequent the one near Old Town most often. I don’t know why anyone bothers to go to McDonalds, Whataburger or any of the other chain joints when we have Blakes’. mmmmmm.

  29. You cannot be serious? Blake’s serves up some of the same schlock as other corporate burger places! There is nothing really that innovative or unique about anything in their store and the burgers are usually dried out pseudo-beef- completely overcooked and then “hidden” beneath a mound of “toppings”! Seriously, even compare their burgers side by side to another chain like Fuddruckers! There IS no comparison! They lose! Then throw some of the excellent non-chain restaurants into the mix and… well…I am sorry, but Blake’s just doesn’t measure up! As for their breakfast items? I wouldn’t feed ANY of them to the neighbor’s dogs! After all, there is only one place in town for a drive-through breakfast burrito and that is Golden Pride! Once again, Blake’s comes up WAY short!

  30. Gil, I’ve been eating Blakes burgers since they started on San Mateo in 1952. As I recall the Lotaburger was they 35cents and you could get a soft drink from the machine next to the building. Still a great burger that I sometimes describe as a high protein salad. Like all chains you sometimes hit one that doesn’t measure up.

  31. Gil and a close friend recommended Blakes Lotaburger, so I sent to the one on 528 in Rio Rancho and I’ve now gone several times. They are by far, the best hamburgers I’ve had in such a long time. I tried the Lotaburger with chile and cheese and they’re great. Also, as someone who has eaten onion rings at many places, these were absolutely the best. very little breading plus very crisp. I don’t know how they do it, but the frying temperature is perfect. I will never go to McDonalds or similar after having gone to Blakes. By the way, everyone is so nice and polite – they greeted us just when we walked in, and as we walked out. Great place and great burgers!

  32. I have been eating Blake’s my entire life, and have always loved it, but last night I was beyond disappointed. I ordered the chili pie. What a waste of money. When my husband brought our order home, all the order contained was a few (very few) chips wrapped in plastic wrap and a container of watery chili. That’s it nothing else. The flavor of the chili wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special. You are so right Gil, consistency is a growing problem, but not at the Blake’s on Fortuna which quite consistently is very bad.

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