“It’s so easy, even a caveman can…find it.” The Geico commercial depicting metrosexualized troglodytes living in contemporary America came to mind when I couldn’t find CaveMan Burgers on Central Avenue. While your typical caveman about town would probably have googled the restaurant’s address, this homo-dumbassicus took for granted that when KRQE reported CaveMan Burgers was “on Central near Coors,” it was in immediate proximity to Coors, not blocks away. I also took for granted that there would be clear signage, if not a prominent storefront, pointing out exactly where this primitive-themed purveyor of prodigious burgers is located. Thankfully serendipity won out where poor planning failed and I located CaveMan Burgers while stopped at a small strip mall parking lot to finally consult Google. There it was—right in front of me. For future reference, it’s immediately east of Mac’s La Sierra within that aforementioned strip mall.
You think about a lot of things when you’re trying to locate CaveMan Burgers…such as why would anyone want to name an eatery “CaveMan Burgers.” Surely it couldn’t be because it subscribes to the hunting and gathering-heavy Paleo diet. Nah, most burgers aren’t made with lean beef. Maybe it was named because of the way cavemen are depicted on television when they eat. You know, hand to mouth with vigorous mastication, food particles flying from wide open mouths and lots of snarling and grunting. Perhaps the proprietors of CaveMan Burgers are from Carlsbad whose mascots are the Cavemen (boys) and Cavegirls (girls). Yes, one thinks about many things. Mostly though, one thinks about how much hungrier you get every time you overshoot the restaurant and have to double back and try again.
CaveMan Burgers actually got its start as a mobile food kitchen (that’s food truck to you, Bob), but it did so well, owners Walter and Lucy Posada launched their sit-down brick-and-mortar eatery in September, 2018. Those of us endowed with the XY-chromosome pairing who wouldn’t ask for directions to save our lives and those among us who are spatially challenged may have a hard time finding it the first time, but it’s unlikely you’ll forget where it is. That despite a rather inconspicuous storefront and the fact that CaveMan is almost dead center on a strip mall with a vertical alignment from Central Avenue. Step indoors and you’ll immediately espy a mural depicting life in the stone age when cavemen were contemporaneous with T-Rex. It’s more Fred Flintstone than it is Cave of Altamira quality, but it’s not bad.
After giving the mural a twice-over, saunter over to the counter where you’ll place your order. More than at most burger joints, how hungry you are is of primary concern when you’re perusing the menu. While menu items may sport names such as “single” or “small,” at CaveMan those terms are relative. A single burger is probably twice as large as a double Whopper. A large hot dog is roughly the size of a full-sized dachshund. These behemoths pale in comparison to a T-Rex-sized burger named the Super Wakala (beef, chicken, chorizo, three slices of yellow cheese, three slices of ham, three slices of grilled pineapple and three hot dog wieners). The bread on which this burger is constructed is about the size of a small pizza. Wakala, if you’re curious, is a Spanish expression translating roughly to “ewww.”
4 December 2018: Unless you’re Joey Chestnut, the competitive gurgitator who can eat more than seventy hot dogs, you’ll probably stay away from the Super Wakala. Heck, even if you typically super-size all your burgers, the double will prove a worthy challenge. This coming from a wimp who was almost bested by a single burger (beef patty, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, yellow cheese, ham, grilled pineapple and ketchup with other toppings available in a condiments bar). Your very first words upon retrieving it from the counter will be “this is a single?”. Those words will be replaced by more caveman-like expressions of delight. This is a good burger, but only if you like all the aforementioned ingredients thrown together. Amazingly, the bread canvas between which all these ingredients lie, holds up very well. That could be because it’s more of a bolillo type bun than a conventional American burger bun. If there’s another argument that could be made for a double, it’s that the beef patty on the single is on the thin side and tends to get lost among everything going on with this burger.
4 December 2018: After collecting my large hot dog from the counter, I had to wonder how many of these pterodactyl-sized foot-longs Joey Chestnut could eat. Nestled inside a large bolillo-style roll are two wieners wrapped barbershop pole style with bacon, grilled onions, pinto beans, mayonnaise, ketchup and a “green sauce” as incendiary as a forest fire. Though its ingredient composition is very reminiscent of the fabled Sonoran hot dog, there are a few, but significant differences. Where they don’t differ much is in how good this messy mash-up tastes. Somehow the wieners manage not to get lost among all the other flavors. They’re grilled almost to the point of caramelization without becoming tough.
26 August 2019: Debating who’s gotten the best end of the culinary cultural exchange between Mexico and the United States would certainly skew heavily toward our neighbors south of the border. Several Mexican dishes have been assimilated into the fruited plain’s mainstream culinary culture. American food in Mexico–not so much. Sure the Land of Montezuma has burgers and hot dogs, but in what some might describe as cultural appropriation, Mexican restaurants have (gasp…the blasphemy) improved on them. Burgers in Mexico, for example, start off with the usual suspects–buns and beef–but push the envelope with a multitude of ingredients.
Street stalls in cities throughout Mexico, for example, typically construct burgers with a butterflied and grilled hot dog and (or) a slice of ham for a salty punch and a sweet, tangy pineapple for contrast. Caveman Burger’s chorizo burger (beef with chorizo, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, yellow cheese, ham, grilled pineapple, mustard and ketchup) was born from and greatly honors those traditions. If you don’t like pineapple on your pizza, you might not like this burger, but if you’re open to ingredients that both complement and contrast each other, you’ll love it. Chorizo lends a smoky, spicy personality to the beef, pairing well with the ham to bring porcine qualities all bacon-loving Americans will love. This behemoth between buns is a great alternative to American burgers which have grown prosaic and predictable.
CaveMan Burgers feature burgers that have evolved—supersized burgers being all they can be with ingredient combinations you may not have thought possible. You’d better bring an appetite!
Cave Man Burgers
6205 Central Avenue, N.W., Suite 5
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 26 August 2019
1st VISIT: 4 December 2018
# OF VISITS: 2
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Single Burger, Large Hot Dog, Chorizo Burger