Fuddruckers – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Fuddrucker's on Yale
Fuddruckers on Yale, one of three Fuddruckers in Albuquerque

The audacious proclamation on Fuddruckers door, logo and Web site, “The world’s greatest hamburgers available” may not be quite complete. Add the words “somewhere else” and most will agree, you probably have a more accurate description of this tremendously popular restaurant chain which actually trademarked the “world’s greatest hamburgers” logo.

Founded in 1980 by Phil Romano (of Romano’s Macaroni Grill fame), Fuddruckers has expanded to more than 250 locations across the world including such purveyors of American culture as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait.  The theme at most of the fast casual franchises is 1950s and 1960s rock and roll.  The ambience is Disneyesque, both from the sense that it’s family-friendly and that it’s loud (as in blaring, ear-splitting music loud) and fun (at least for some people).  Others might describe it as tacky, gaudy and over-the-top.  Ostensibly, Fuddruckers also serves good burgers.

Duke City diners have been heavily patronizing Fuddruckers since day one, so much so that there are now three Fuddruckers restaurants in the city (as well as one in Farmington).  Not long after its millennium year launch in Albuquerque, Fuddruckers supplanted all the indigenous burger joints to win the Alibi’s best burger award.  It also won the award in 2001 and has been a win, place or show vote-in just about every year since.

A circus-like atmosphere adds to the Fuddrucker's experience
A circus-like atmosphere adds to the Fuddruckers experience

Fuddruckers purports to be the original “build your own” burger establishment.  Its 100 percent USDA fresh ground beef patties are available in one-third, one-half, two-thirds and one pound sizes.  A self-service toppings bar lets you load up your burger with your favorite condiments.  For a pittance you can also add grilled onions, American bleu cheese, Cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, Swiss Cheese, Smokehouse Bacon, Guacamole and Grilled Mushrooms.  Fuddruckers will prepare your burger to your exacting specifications.  Medium rare is medium rare and well done is well done.  If you don’t agree, take it back and they’ll re-do it for you.

The menu also features eight different specialty burgers such as the Fudd 66, Fuddruckers version of New Mexico’s revered green chile cheeseburger.  Fuddruckers obviously recognizes the importance of the green chile cheeseburger to the Land of Enchantment, because this burger isn’t available across the fruited plain.  Heat-seeking diners elsewhere have to settle for other specialty burgers such as the Inferno (sauteed jalapenos, onions and pepper jack cheese) and the Southwest burger (guacamole, pepper jack cheese and smokehouse bacon).

The hamburger buns are made from scratch every day and throughout the day.  It’s a treat watching the baker hand-form and roll the buns similar to how abuelitas have been preparing tortillas for their families every day for centuries.  The produce and “fixins” are unfailingly fresh and let you be burger artiste, crafting your burger your way.

Chocolate shakes at Fuddruckers
Chocolate shakes at Fuddruckers

It stands to reason that a chain claiming to serve the world’s greatest burgers would also think very highly of its shakes, not surprisingly christened the “world’s greatest shakes” on the menu and Web site.  Fuddruckers doesn’t just serve a chocolate shake, it serves a “Crazy for Chocolate” shake.  It’s not just a strawberry shake, it’s a “very berry shake” at Fuddruckers.  There’s no plain vanilla here; it’s a “dreamy vanilla” shake.  The “crunchy cookies and cream” shake is the only one not bearing a superlative adjective.

The shakes are thick and rich, but not necessarily as flavorful as their sobriquets might imply.  The chocolate shake is a bit on the cloying side and not very chocolaty (at least in comparison to the frappes served in New England).  Perhaps its best attribute is that it’s served cold enough to give you a case of brain freeze.  The shakes are also made with real ice cream and are served in a glass goblet with a cold tin on the side.  It’s much like getting a shake and a half.

The Fudd 66 Burger (Green Chile) with blue cheese and grilled onions
The Fudd 66 Burger (Green Chile) with blue cheese and grilled onions

Remember the Fudd 66 burger (the one with the green chile).  It has the potential to be a big burger if you’re careful as to what else you add.  The Fudd 66 burger pictured above  is adorned with grilled onions and blue cheese on a half-pound beef patty.  The combination sounds like something your gastronome about town would really enjoy.

Alas, what the burger elicited was recollections of the Wendy’s commercials of the late 70s in which old women wiped their mouths daintily after every bite.  The motto of these commercials was “juicy with lots of napkins.”  The Fudd 66 burger as I adorned it was juicy to the point of being run-down-your-arms juicy.  The beef (prepared at medium) was juicy, the grilled onions were juicy and the green chile (which was plentiful) was also juicy.  Unfortunately the buns are sieve-like; they don’t prevent any of the copious run-off.

A better option would have been the Fudd 66 sans American bleu cheese and grilled onion–just as it’s offered on the menu.  Alternatively, the Black & Blue burger (smokehouse bacon, bleu cheese, Balsamic green onions) would have been a good choice.  In fact, it’s my favorite of the specialty burgers offered at Fuddruckers.

One half-pound All American burger
One half-pound All American burger

If you’re not in the mood for burgers, Fuddruckers does serve a passable quarter pound hot dog although it can be overly salted and may call to mind the naval term “salty dog.”

The fries are Texas-sized and generously salted.  If you’d rather not be so singularly focused, you can also order “frings”, a basket including both fries and onion rings.  The onion rings are thick and crunchy, but nothing special.

The great etymologist Barry Popik explains in his fabulous blog that Fuddruckers is a made-up name and that in its early days the restaurant sometimes called itself “Freddie Fuddruckers.”  He believes the name was possibly influenced by the 1970s Texas cocktail called the “Freddie Fudpucker.”  Fuddruckers is one of those tongue-twisting names for which invectives are often substituted, but this is strictly a family-friendly, G-rated restaurant most people will like.

4855 Pan American Freeway
Albuquerque, NM

LATEST VISIT: 26 September 2009
COST: $$
BEST BET: Blue Onion Burger

Fuddruckers on Urbanspoon

9 thoughts on “Fuddruckers – Albuquerque, New Mexico

  1. Every time I eat here I say I need to come in more often. Fresh ingredients, good fries and the variety of the burgers will please anyone.
    Joey the mgr has got a great staff working for him. Great burgers.

  2. To be honest El Brute, I forget the source of the dimple tip. Am thinking maybe it was George Costanza, who perhaps thought it would result in lessening shrinkage per helping to keep the patty moist. Lo, maybe it was adding a dollop of butter to the dimple? In terms of preventing a bulge, I’d think when using 1/4 #ers, that the development of the bulge before the first flip of the grilling, might help to keep a little bit of it pink, per the bulge being away from the heat, to result in a ‘medium’ burger?
    ~ My real query re adding ‘stuffs’ to the ground beef was wondering if it is correct to still call it a “hamburger” or does it therefore become something else, i.e. in contrast to when I simply “top” a beef patty with chile? I.e. when I add coffee liquer and skim milk (its a health alteration) to vodka, I consider it a White Russian Alt, vs a shot of Vodka.
    ~ OMG “Wonder Bread style roll”? Not to challenge, but just to preserve ‘tradition’, a hamburger goes on a “bun” http://tinyurl.com/ncla8e2 IMHO! A hot dog or mayoed lobstah goes in a “roll”! http://tinyurl.com/kmrtgbt LOL
    Alas however, I’m seeing the Classic “Lobstah Roll” is now being served in a hamburger bun of all things! How sacriligeous are we getting albeit your “Costco Torta” looks interesting. On the other hand…and without wishing to imply a “Gotcha!”, I’ll allow an exception for the torta bun if that is the only thing you go into a “Chain” for, lacking there being no Local to get it elsewhere. Alas, my Mom in fact served her tuna fish sandwich (using albacore Chicken of the Sea from the can, stirred with mayo/relish/a dash of sugar) once in awhile in a hamburger bun instead of on white slices of Wondah Bread and it wasn’t that bad! But seriously, wouldn’t a lobstah roll in anything else than the specifically made hot dog roll with the premade shaved sides which were pre buttered & grilled http://tinyurl.com/mghqfh9 , result in a Comment akin to a Reuben on ungrilled slices of white Wondah Bread? Shame some restauranteurs are passing these off http://tinyurl.com/ko2v9em

    Lest anyone reads this far, please: as there is no Local racking in the dough serving Lobster Rolls that I know of, please send a note to Red Lobster http://tinyurl.com/nnpj4j9 to bring back their previous selection that includes 2 mini lobster rolls with chips for $11.95 now that they have split off from Darden. Would really appreciate it and think Y’all will too!

    (Alas El Brute, you may be happy to know I’m giving up my “revered” PBR as it was recently sold to a Russian company. Similarly, I will refrain from Budweiser, Corona, & Stella Artois (wasn’t the latter a Fav of yours?) as being owned by the Brazilian-Belgium conglomerate and Coors is now within Molson of Canada.) As such, a recent article in the Journal noted the synergy being offered by our plethora of breweries/chart beer joynts sprouting up around town and giving us national recognition for being hop heads, with those Folks known as mobile diners/food trucks etc. As I’ve only ventured to one quite awhile back as has been pointed out I’m not a beer aficionado, I still wonder if Gil will need a new Category space in the next six months or so.

  3. BOBO,
    The dimple pressed into the center of the patty is used to prevent the burger from having the burger bulge. I dont know what putting crushed ice into the dimple accomplishes.
    Your additions, soy sauce, egg, crushed garlic, chicken feet, offal, etc. highlights the individual nature of the homemade burger, the individuality of the humble burger, and really sets it apart from the chains.
    My one individual change from the Wonder Bread style roll is to use the excellent torta sold at Costco which requires squaring up the patty to fit the squarish torta but is an excellent bun.

  4. “In the end it’s still a burger….” Sometimes it might do well to listen to El Brute!
    I succumbed to Fudd 66 being the NM GCCB Challenge winner and stopped into the one on I-25 frontage road, a bit north of Chile Rio. Has a nice, simple ‘roadside’ ambiance and especially if you sit in the “enclosed” patio as it gives you that feel Y’all are on-the-road with I-25 wizzing by, but also a nice airy view of the Sandias. On the other hand, if you are into visual overload of nostalgia, then the one on the Yale entry to the Sunport is for you.

    The layout for ‘fixins’ (lettuce/tomato/onion/etc was tidily attended to and there was an ample variety of saucy condiments elsewhere as well.

    I got the 1/3 medium. Alas the Fudd 66 being their GCCB, means you pay 2 dollars extra for what some might call Tourista Chile vs what will only run ya 50 cents more on a LotaBurger which has more whallop and flavor! Indeed there is some “texture” and a hint of pink vs the grey ya get at many places in 1/4 #ers . Their home made bun is fine and lasting. I cannot recommend the Onion rings. (Separate from the cookery, I had my first Santa Fe Brewery can of India Pale Ale…the can with the Zia symbol on it…and don’t know what all the hullabaloo is about per their recent announcement of expanding their brewing facility.)

    Bottom line: I wonder what using the free jalapeno slices from the condiment bar would’ve been like instead and can’t imagine what the other entrants at the Fair must have been like. Also, is it still a burger if I add an egg, soy sauce or Worcestershire, Grey Poupon and pressed garlic to the meat as I squish it into a patty? Does anyone put a dimple in the middle of theirs into which they place a little crushed ice?

  5. Well El Brute, Alas I included “drooling” to hopefully add a little “color” (poetic license?) to an otherwise staid report. Otherwise, as I don’t watch Foodie shows as a rule, I will confess that whenever I ‘accidently’ end up watching…sorry…Ms. Ray, I may drool with just the visual of some of her presentations!
    ~ Elsewise, like you yourself said: “It’s still just a burger”—-and that’s the mystery of it all, why are they being eaten? Would we eat fewer if we didn’t have green chile? Du…uh why haven’t I ever explored a Red Chile Cheese Burger? Does a charred edge at times at Pappaburgers make it tastier? Is there a taste/texture difference between a 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 pounder especially as it might be easier to cook the later not beyond medium? While I’ve bemoaned elsewhere that today’s LotaBurger is a weak remembrance of the LBs of the ’70s, I’ve recently gotten to asking for mayo if I get one and I find it a hoot when the gal asks “Do you still want mustard?” I but wonder if I would have enjoyed a Kaiser Roll festooned with Swiss cheese, lettuce/tomato splashed with Thousand Island on a bed of chopped nuts without a patty back when I flipped burgers? Is a grilled burger superior to a flat gridled one? Why is it that burgers always taste better when out camping? Perhaps those judges should have to explain in specific detail beyond “It tasted good!”, why/how the winner was chosen.
    ~ I would think the GCCB Challenge would do well to have an ‘individual’ competition as well….just for “Braggin Rights” as they say.
    In the end, let us remember Mr. Whipple’s admonition: Please don’t squish the patty!

  6. I believe that if you asked 100 New Mexicans to name their favorite GCCB the results would be quite varied and that would confirm my feelings that is it’s just a burger and selections represent that fact. Some days it’s the GCCB from the Buckhorn, some days it’s Blakes, some days it’s Fuddruckers., etc, etc, etc.
    Both Fuddruckers and Blakes have the advantage of selling 100 times or more than what a Buckhorn sells. that means to me that nobody from a small town with access to Blakes would travel a couple of hours for a different burger and LB would always be their choice.
    General population polls and reader polls represent a broader slice of voters than say the ABQ the Magazine poll which is always selected by the editors and tilted to those who advertise in that publication.
    And B-A-L, do you know anyone who drools over results?
    Really, Bobo?

  7. At one time, Fudd’s had an elk burger that was a really tasty option. They don’t seem to have that anymore, but they do have a buffalo burger that is up to the challenge.

    Also noteworthy, is their rib-eye steak sandwich.

    Either option with green chile of course!

  8. Many Folk I know have given up reading the Journal or watching local news. As such, I’m guessing some GCCB aficionados might be drooling to know the Winner of this year’s NM GCCB Challenge held during the State Fair. Judges were Bill Lee, New Mexico State Fair commissioner; Tim Harris, owner of local restaurant Tim’s Place; Dave DeWitt, food book author and producer of the National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show; and Chad Smith, CEO of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.
    The winner is Fudd’s 66 which replaces Sadie’s. The Church Street Grill in Carlsbad came in second; Cowgirl BBQ in Santa Fe, third; and Rockin’ BZ Burgers in Alamogordo – winner of the 2012 competition – was fourth. The article did not list the rest of the 10 places accepted as entrants…chosen by lot, if there were more than 10 applicants.

  9. The best hamburgers in town! They grind the meat fresh daily on site. You can see them at work. No mechanically separated meat here. Big juicy delicious burgers cooked to your preference (I can’t think of any place else in town that will cook a hamburger to order) served on hot freshly baked buns. Nice choice of cheeses and toppings from the grill along with more toppings from the self serve area.
    I think they have the only 1 lb monster burger in town. Perfect for hungry teens to do a Tim Allen manly challenge. No frills counter service is fast and accurate. Informal atmosphere is popular with families. Always busy so the food turns over and is always fresh.

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