Arrey Cafe – Arrey, New Mexico

Audacious Proclamation on Billboard Visible From I-25

About halfway between Truth or Consequences and Hatch on I-25, you may have espied a billboard audaciously proclaiming “world’s finest green chile cheeseburger.”  That billboard has always piqued my curiosity and prompted such questions as “where the heck is Arrey?”  Though signage directs motorists to Exit 59, all there is to see beyond the exit are verdant fields to the right and more high desert expanse to the left.  Then, of course, there’s the obvious question “if it’s so darn good, why isn’t it on the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail?”

As one of the quadrumvirate–along with the scintillating James Beard award-winning author Cheryl Jamison;  Kate Manchester, founder of Edible Santa Fe; and former New Mexico Tourism Department Advertising manager Martin Leger–who came up with the hallowed list of restaurants, drive-ins, diners, dives, joints, cafes, roadside stands and bowling alleys who serve up the very best green chile cheeseburgers in the world, we should have known about the Arrey Cafe.  Shouldn’t we have?   It didn’t come up during any of our lengthy discussion as to what burgers were “trail worthy.”

The Arrey Cafe in Arrey, New Mexico

Gustavo Arellano, the brilliant and hilarious author of Ask a Mexican and currently columnist for the Los Angeles Times, visits Hatch every summer and he, too, has seen the billboard that screams, “World’s Finest Green Chile Cheeseburger.”  Unlike me, he actually put the brassy claim to the test.  In an Eater article entitled “A Chile Road Trip on the I-25″, Arellano took the exit less traveled and after enjoying the burger, declared “Its roadside ad is almost correct. Arrey makes a great burger.”  If the Arrey Cafe’s green chile cheeseburger was good enough for Gustavo Arellano, it’s got to be good enough for Gil Garduño!

We trekked to the Arrey Cafe, some three miles from Exit 59, and got there ten minutes before closing time, but the friendly and accommodating staff didn’t rush us.  Not that they had to.  There was only one thing we were going to have and that was the semi-famous world’s finest green chile cheeseburger.  Burgers are available in quarter- and half-pound sizes, with or without cheese, chile and bacon.  There are plenty of other options on the menu: sandwiches (including tortas), pizza, salads and several New Mexican food items.

Half-Pound Green Chile Cheeseburger

The half-pound green chile cheeseburger is a behemoth between five-inch buns with two beef patties sandwiching American cheese and green chile.  Lettuce, onions, pickles and a tomato also find space within the buns.  We weren’t asked how we wanted our burger cooked, only whether we wanted mustard or ketchup.  Burgers are prepared at medium-well, leaning toward well-done, but the beef patties appear to be hand-formed.  Unlike Gustavo Arellano who found the green chile “fleshy and piquant,” your volcano-eating blogger would have wanted his burger “mas ardiente” (with more burn).  Still, it’s a very good burger, well worthy of a place on the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail…which will hopefully be refreshed someday soon.

The next time you find yourself headed to southern New Mexico, take Exit 59 toward the “world’s finest green chile cheeseburger” and find out for yourself why Arrey can make such an audacious claim.

Arrey Cafe
13722 NM-187
Arrey, New Mexico
(575) 267-4436
Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 10 September 2020
COST: $$
BEST BET: Half-Pound Green Chile Cheeseburger
REVIEW #1180

6 thoughts on “Arrey Cafe – Arrey, New Mexico

  1. By me arriving at 11:15 I got the Carne Adovado Chimi. You arrived at 12:20 and Cecilia was “all out of dough” and it was no Chimi for you. Proving once again the proverb: “The early bird gets the Chimi.”

  2. First off, Gil is a very kind man. He is very supportive of everyone who risks their own capital (life savings) and starts a restaurant. Gil would not say that claiming you are “The World’s Finest Green Chile Cheeseburger” is nothing short of hyperbolic hubris.

    Especially when the photo of the green chile cheeseburger lacks green chile and cheese. And Gil is such the gentleman he would never say that the meat looks drier than the Mojave Desert. No, Gil would not say these things. But I would.

    1. Tom, I would invite you to join me at the Arrey Cafe for one of those fine green chile cheeseburgers, but with your propensity for arriving early you’d get there at 1 or 2AM and would leave just before the restaurant opens.

      An assessment based on having seen another poorly photographed burger isn’t nearly as satisfying and validating as the tactile, olfactory and gustatory sensations of actually enjoying a fine green chile cheeseburger at the Arrey Cafe. It’s neither dry nor is it lacking in cheese or green chile.

  3. I suppose when travelling that area, I just hold out for Hatch and Sparky’s, or San Antonio and the Owl. Might have to give this one a shot though.

  4. I took a look at the picture of the sign and it doesn’t look like it’s screaming anything at all. There’s not even an! On it

    1. From Seinfeld:

      Elaine: Well, I was just curious why you didn’t use an exclamation point?

      Jake: What are you talking about?

      Elaine: See, right here you wrote “Myra had the baby”, but you didn’t use an exclamation point.

      Jake: So?

      Elaine: So, it’s nothing. Forget it, forget it, I just find it curious.

      Jake: What’s so curious about it?

      Elaine: Well, I mean if one of your close friends had a baby and I left you a message about it, I would use an exclamation point.

      Jake: Well, maybe I don’t use my exclamation points as haphazardly as you do.

      Elaine: You don’t think that someone having a baby warrants an exclamation point.

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