“Bob.” Advertisers (as well as television and movie producers) realize there probably isn’t a better example of an “every man” name, typically portraying Bob as the average wage-earning man about town. Few would argue that Bob, a diminutive of Robert, isn’t a very vanilla and common name. In fact, according to Social Security Administration data it was the fourth most common name in the United States with 9.5 instances per 1,000 people as of 2013. Despite that popularity, advertisers seem to prefer naming the metrosexual males they portray something like Brad or Troy (sorry BOTVOLR).
Bob’s Burgers in Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Las Cruces and Rio Rancho precedes the animated television program by that name by 48 years. Brothers Tom and Bob Salas launched the very first Bob’s Burgers in 1963 with their original restaurant at Copper and Sixth Street. Tom and Bob are still actively involved in the restaurant as is Tom’s son Clifford who owns several Bob’s locations. Everything is made to order at this popular New Mexico exclusive eatery. Unlike the green chile which tops so many burgers at other restaurants, Bob’s red and green chile bites back. Expect some of it to run down your arms. Expect to use three or four napkins per burger.
While advertisers may not think there’s anything memorable about the name Bob, New Mexico diners have known for generations that Bob’s Burgers stands out among its brethren as a unique franchise which doesn’t shy away from proffering hot chile. That chile, or more precisely chile sauce (a pureed blend of green chile, tomatoes, onions) provides a potently pungent and heady sensation with every bite of the Ranchero burger, the restaurant’s specialty. The meat patty is thin and there’s nothing especially noteworthy about the bun, but chile chile sauce is certainly memorable (at least to your singed taste buds).
Locals can handle the degree of heat in Bob’s featured fare pretty easily, but out-of-towners might consider it cruel and unusual punishment to consume the Ranchero burger or any of the other chili laden items on the menu. Unlike the green chile used on many green chile cheeseburgers throughout the Land of Enchantment, Bob’s chili warrants a sweaty brow, scalded tongue salute. There are two Ranchero Burgers on the menu, a Supreme (green chile, lettuce, tomato, cheese) and the standard Ranchero (green chile only) and they’re available in small or large sizes.
Bob’s menu offers a couple of variations on the Ranchero burger, including a tortilla burger in which a tortilla is substituted for the Ranchero burger’s buns and a taco burger in which a hard-shelled taco shell replaces the buns. Visit on Taco Tuesdays and this gem is discounted nicely. If you’ve never seen a hamburger patty nested in a taco shell, you might be surprised the first time you see this. Surprisingly, a hamburger patty nestled in a taco shell doesn’t taste at all like ground beef nestled in a taco shell. Bob’s is one of few restaurants to also offer a red chili burger (which Alibi voters have selected as the second best in the city behind only the Little Red Hamburger Hut.)
Bob’s Frito pie has been a perennial Reader’s Choice award winner during the Alibi’s annual restaurant poll. By no accounts is it as wonderful as the Woolworth’s version that started it all in Santa Fe more than fifty years ago, but as cheap Frito pies go, it’s pretty good. A small cardboard container overflows with crispy Fritos, piquant chile, cheese and a salad’s bounty of lettuce and tomatoes. It’s a messy proposition, especially with plasticware.
My very favorite item on Bob’s menu is the patty melt which you can have with red or green chile. The beef patty, cheese and chile are pretty much the same as used on burgers, but the light rye is top-notch. It’s lightly toasted and has plenty of caraway seeds. The toasted rye seems to do a better job of preventing the messy, molten chile from running down your arms. Moreover, it’s a perfect vehicle to bring out the best in the flavors of other ingredients.
I’ve always contended that Española restaurants make the very best rolled tacos (sometimes called taquitos) in New Mexico. In fact, not many restaurants outside of Española even seem to offer rolled tacos. Bob’s does and while they’re not quite as wonderful as their northern counterpart, they’re better than the warehouse store version.
In its September, 2012 edition, Albuquerque The Magazine named the salsa at Bob’s Burgers the eleventh best in Albuquerque from among 130 salsas sampled throughout the city. The magazine’s synopsis: “This may be a burger joint, but watch out for the hot salsa and some of the best chips (which are actual taco shells broken up) then twice-fried as you order them.”
This prominent local chain now has seven Albuquerque locations as well as one in Las Cruces, one in Rio Rancho and one in Los Lunas, all of which are poised to give your taste buds something uniquely New Mexico, something that is certainly not “every restaurant” worthy.
6628 Caminito Coors, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 17 May 2018
# OF VISITS: 9
BEST BET: Tortilla Burger; Frito Pie; Rolled Tacos, The Ranchero
12 thoughts on “Bob’s Burgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico”
“Disclaimer: Setting my blathering aside, I’m thinking The Other Bob, being a successful businessman per being around these many years, surely heeds all insights.”
I purposely ate inside Bob’s on 4th Thursday as my 1/2 to a dozen interim visits were Drive-thru as I “need” beer when I eat chile and especially of the nice Tang Bob’s offers. While I might look askance at the Dude who waited on me if I was introduced to him by my teen G-daughter per his “tats”, let alone he was a guy, his hands and fingernails were clean and everything he said to me ended in “Sir” and “Your Welcome” to my “Thank yous”.
As best as I could see back into the prep area, it looked ‘clean’ albeit simply “in use” and the galz appeared properly coiffed and gloved. I did not not find stains, crumbs, detritus, or other uncleanliness on the entry or dining room floors, tables/chairs. While I don’t think this one is that old, wear and tear is a bit in evidence including the bathroom and thus a bit tackier than some Mickey Ds or Wendys…but no-where approaching unsanitary including the drink dispensing gizmo.
Re my usual Ranchero Supreme (RS): Yes, this smashed, cooked through n through burger is far from the thick burgers of places like Holy Cow which require you to have a jaw expanse of 7 inches. Indeed RS ‘squirts’ out the bottom of the bun along with other ‘fluids’ which I finickly detest elsewhere, e.g. Lumpy’s, but for just a tad over 3 bucks whatever it is, it’s an occasional gustatorial something-or-other. Aha….maybe “the burger” is simply akin to a conveyance in getting a Great Salsa, no matter the “chip”?
Final note re the sloppiness: Eating at home, besides the accompaniment of an ice-cold beer, offers a setting for: What happens at home, stays at home!
Otherwise, like ordering one’s meat rare or medium or a salad with dressing on the side, I’m betting the Bob’s sous chefs would accommodate requests for “only a tablespoon of chile and/or the other special sauce”.
Bottom line: Kudo’s to Bob for keeping 6-8 kids employed on a relatively slow night…at least Eat-In wise!!!
Bob’s is horribly run (at all locations). Seriously, clean your restaurants once in a while and don’t hire thugs who drive away your customers. Finally, I don’t need 3 cups of chile on a burger, to the point I cannot even pick it up, almost like it is done on purpose as a joke. It is too bad someone cannot duplicate this concept and fix the obvious problems the chain has.
– Longtime customer who has had enough.
I ATE AT THE LOS LUNAS BOB’S BURGERS, I HAD TACO BURGERS CAUSE THEY ARE MY FAVORITE. I WILL NEVER EVER EAT AT THE BOB’S IN LOS LUNAS AGAIN, THEIR FOOD IS NASTY. THE BEST ONES EVER ARE THE ONES IN ALBUQUERQUE.
Aaargh…couldn’t get my periodic BBQ Beef sandwich’to go’ on Sunday at Powdrell’s as they were either taking the holiday or they were vending at the Wine Festival (Sad, the Festival’s success has made it a place to avoid per the line-waits for a sip).
Faced with Bob’s Burgers across the street on 4th while waiting for the light, I contemplated that maybe my last so so experience was a fluke. As such, I went all out and got the Ranchero Supreme…OMG, thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Ya, NO….it is not a pristine affair and, like a Foot-long Chili(sic) Cheese Dog con onions at The Dog House, it begins to run down your fingers/hands, I’d consider it a delightful, off-the-trail gustatory Yum Yum periodically….for what it is; I’d even give it an ’18’!
“Chow, Bob or boB”
It would nice if some people actually had a opinion about the restaurant and not just trolling to attack others for their opinion.Gill you have a great informative site and are greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work!
As far as Bobs, well I think they beat all the fast food chains out there. Its a matter of personal taste with how they prepare their green or red chile, but I actually like it. I Love a good green chile cheeseburger, I crave it. It seems their chile gets hotter the longer it sits in that heavenly smelling paper bag. The scent is intoxicating for chile lovers like myself and when allowed to sit and stew for a while before opening, allowing all the flavors to merge together and set up a bit making for a delightful cheesy meaty robust chile flavor with out making it soggy. When it comes to fries, fries covered in the red chile and a mountain of cheese is my preference and can be a meal in itself. So looking for something thats reminicent of home, something simple and good, I’d suggest Bobs too.
Had a competition-style GCCB (no tomato, lettuce, or other adulterants). Tasty, juicy beef, nicely gooey cheese, and a generous slathering of a very picante but soupy green. Accompanied by a paper trough of green chile fries (hold the cheese), which were only OK, this was a surprisingly good lunch. Won’t put the really great burger parlors (Owl, Lumpy’s,Papaburgers, Little Red …) out of business, but sure beats dickens out of Lotaburger or the horrible national chains.
Green IS picante, but has no smoky taste. Needs work. Tomatos don’t have a place in Green Chile.
re: Michael…..That’s an opinion
re; Gil…..Kinda slick the way you changed the article, in response to my previous comment…
Hey Jonathan, you’re right, New Mexico didnt invent Chile but we perfected it.
The first green chile cheeseburger I ever had in Albuquerque was from Bob’s Burgers. Unfortunately, it was pretty underwhelming, and I was left wondering what the big deal was. The green chile didn’t even taste that hot to my Korean taste buds. Now that I’ve lived here a while, I’ve been able to enjoy far superior examples of the form, and understand their appeal. As for Bob’s, I actually prefer the green chile Double Stack from Wendy’s. It’s OK but really nothing special — I think its appeal stems more from nostalgia than any real quality.
Atrocious Texas-like spelling? What a condescending attitude. In South America it’s called aji, and I’ll bet they feel your spelling is atrocious also.
New Mexico didn’t invent chile
The green sauce has a nice heat but the taste is just a off. And the red isnt good, its not New Mexican, its more of a Texas chile. The burgers are better without the chile, cant believe I just wrote that, but the sauce leaves you with a bad after taste.
I have been reading your blog for some time. I do not always agree with you, but I find it informative. And an enjoyable read. But If I wanted thick gloppy green chili stew. It sure would not be on my burger. I have never thought good green chili needs flour, cornstarch, or anything more than garlic and salt. Same for the Red. For some reason people like the mess with a good thing. Now I may be tempted to try one of the other items( you mentioned) and then change my mind on the bad rating I gave them. The main reason I wrote is just to mention that the Bobs is in Los Lunas, not Belen.
I live in Belen.
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