Grassburger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Grassburger, The Best in Durango Now in Albuquerque

For nearly a decade, television viewers have been subjected to a very successful advertising campaign depicting contented cows talking and singing about the pleasures of life in sunny and warm California. The slogan for the “happy cows” campaign’ is “Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.” The campaign would have you believe the cows are happy because they feast and frolic on a diet of delicious grass from verdant hillsides and not on troughs full of grains which don’t taste quite as good. I don’t know about cows being happier because they graze on grass, but can certainly attest to being a happier diner when enjoying a diet of grass-fed beef.

Generations of New Mexicans, particularly from the more verdurous northern villages, find the notion of grain-fed cattle heretical. All our cows are grass-fed thanks to open-range grazing laws which allow carefree cows to traipse up and down the streets in search of unfenced (or poorly fenced) yards in which the grass does appear to be greener. In the late spring when mountain snows have started to melt, many ranchers herd their cattle into the mountains where meadowlands near the timberline are abundant. In fall when the cows are returned, they’re more corpulent, their fatted frames more ready for winter’s angry bite.

Grassburger on a Very Busy Saturday

For the first nineteen years of my life, virtually all the beef my family consumed was grass-fed. I was well into my teenage years before the first burger from the legendary McDonald’s crossed my lips. Despite the enthusiastic build-up on commercials aired by the three stations (KOB, KGGM, KOAT) picked up by our rooftop antenna back in the dark ages, the burger—especially the beef—was a huge disappointment. It was obvious the “beef” on my inaugural Big Mac wasn’t raised on high mountain pastureland. It didn’t have the rich, earthy-grassy flavor of grass-fed beef to which we were accustomed and it wasn’t nearly as lean and juicy. The difference was more than just discernible, it was significant.

Alas, most of the beef we’ve had since leaving Peñasco has been of the grain-fed supermarket variety. Though we’ve become accustomed to it, it’s always a treat to partake of grass-fed beef. When we heard a new Durango-based hamburger restaurant by the name “Grassburger” had launched in Albuquerque’s Far Northeast Heights, my Kim thought she’d read my snarky little mind. She bet me a burger my review would center on another meaning for the word “grass,” a meaning our neighbors in the great state of Colorado use synonymously with a very popular, recently-made-legal cash crop that’s not fed to cattle. She even suggested I incorporate one of Colorado’s nicknames on my review—the “highest state.”

Half-Pound Green Chile Jack Burger

Though my Kim lost our bet, we both won. Grassburger is the real deal, a proud purveyor of 100-percent grass-fed beef procured from Rain Crow Ranch in Missouri, a haven for happy, humanely-raised, healthy cows. Grass-fed beef has all the qualities health-conscious diners value and the flavor burger aficionados crave. Not only does grass-fed beef have a lower fat content than its more heavily marbled grain-fed bovine brethren, it’s got a greater nutritional value and is replete with healthy Omega-3s, antioxidants and vitamins. Unlike grain-fed cattle which are confined to pens and fed a diet rich in corn (much of which is genetically modified), grass-fed cattle spend their lives feasting on hay in winter and fresh grass in the summer before heading to market.

There are eight burgers on the Grassburger menu including a black bean burger sure to please vegans and a green chile Jack cheeseburger New Mexicans will love. At the risk of being accused of snarkiness, the green chile is certified New Mexican true and through. It’s not that stuff Coloradoans call green chile. All burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, raw onion and Grassburger’s signature chipotle mayo on a potato bun. There are several add-ons for diners who wish to build their own burgers. Burgers are available in single- or double-beef sizes and are formed into four-ounce patties with an 80/20 mix of meat and fat.

Chedda Burger with Fry Mix-Up

Also on the menu is a farm-fresh farm salad constructed from seasonal greens and fresh vegetables and served with your choice of house-made, gluten-free dressings (lemon vinaigrette, tahini, buttermilk ranch, green chile ranch and balsamic vinegar). Four “bowls”  offer an alternative way to enjoy beef, turkey or the vegan black bean offering.  Vanilla, chocolate and chocolate non-dairy ice cream shakes are available as are fountain sodas in several handcrafted flavors (the black cherry and root beer are fantastic). Naturally you can’t have burgers without fries. Grassburger offers hand-cut sweet potato or russet potato fries made from potatoes grown in the region.

13 October 2018: The green chile Jack burger is…(drumroll please) outstanding! Order a half-pounder (two patties) to maximize your enjoyment of the grass-fed beef which is griddled to about medium-well and has a discernible exterior caramelization. Though leaner and less marbled than grain-fed beef, the Grassburger is moist, rich and absolutely delicious. We went through so many napkins, it brought to mind Wendy’s “Hot and Juicy” commercials from the 1970s. Any piquancy (and there isn’t much of it) is as much courtesy of the chipotle mayo as it is the green chile. Other ingredients (tomato, lettuce, pickles, raw onion) are fresh and crisp. The potato bun is sweet and moist, a perfect canvas for a superb, high-quality burger.

Another view of the half-pound green chile Jack burger

13 October 2018:  Some may argue that because of its easy “melting” qualities, American cheese is the only cheese which should grace a burger.  That may be a bit short-sighted.  Flavor should always be the prime consideration as to what cheese to use on a burger!  Grassburger obviously has flavor, not meltedness, in mind by offering two burgers with Cheddar.  One is the Chedda’ Burger.  The other is a Bacon Chedda’ Burger. Want another argument for Cheddar?  Cheddar is real cheese, allowed to age naturally.  American is artificially processed and technically doesn’t even qualify as real cheese.  Okay, enough with my dour diatribe.  Get the Chedda’ Burger!  It’s excellent!

Grassburger is the first expansion market for the Durango-based operation. It’s located at the Heights Village on Montgomery just east of Juan Tabo. It’s a destination all grass-fed beef aficionados and burger lovers should program onto their GPS navigation systems. Now, if only they served grass-fed steak.

Grassburger
11225 Montgomery, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 200-0571
Web Site | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 13 October 2018
1st VISIT: 20 March 2016
# OF VISITS: 2
RATING: 22
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Green Chile Cheeseburger, Chedda Burger, Chocolate Shake, French Fries

Grassburger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

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6 Comments on “Grassburger – Albuquerque, New Mexico”

  1. This past weekend my wife and I headed to Hatch for the Hatch chile festival and more specifically the GCCB at Sparkys.
    Got to Hatch after an evening in T or C at Turner’s Sierra Grande Resort. Arrived at 10AM and drove right to Sparkys where the line had begun wait for the 19:30 opening. What a sight, like an episode of American Pickers with old signs and memorabilia of sorts.
    We did about an hour at the festival and got back to Sparkys where the line had grown and we waited 1/2 hour to get inside and order. While on line an employee came out to distribute some of their BBQed sausage. It was great.
    I ordered the “world famous” half pounder, medium rare, plus a side of fries and a vanilla shake.
    Simply put it was the best GCCB I have ever enjoyed. My wife was in agreement.
    It was cooked to perfection, the heat was perfect, the fries excellent.
    Now I know first hand why Sparkys is held in such high esteem.
    One interesting thing was the pricing. The “world famous” 1/2 pounder with a side dish was listed at $7..49
    Below that on the menu was the ” not so famous” 1/4 pounder with side at $7.99.
    Was it a marketing ploy or just a typo?

  2. Burgers are great, but don’t eat the fries! They are cooked in GMO pro-inflammatory omega-6 Canola oil – a very unhealthy preparation choice!

  3. Tried this place today.. Entirely consistent with your review, and turned a neighborhood foodie onto it. It was excellent, from the patty to the toppings to the buns to the fries. Service was great, too.

  4. Friend of mine & I testing green chili cheeseburgers as a fun adventure. Had
    a Laguna Burger yesterday & have to say it is going to be VERY hard to beat.
    Also did Little Red Hamburger Hut earlier & ditto! Trying this place next week.

  5. Last week I tried Grassburger. The hamburger was superb, juicy and full of actual beef flavor. I do not favor mayonnaise of any type on hamburgers, so it was a great relief to see a bottle of mustard on each table, along with ketchup for the fries, of course. I ordered the mixture of sweet potato fries and ordinary ones. Both are the thin kind. I think they need their frying oil a little hotter as the Irish potato fries came out a little limp. For the moment I recommend the sweet potato fries, which were crisp and tasty.

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