Green Chile Cheeseburgers

In the Land of Enchantment, the ubiquitous green chile cheeseburger can be found in restaurants, drive-ins, diners, dives, joints, cafes, roadside stands and bowling alleys.  It’s the centerpiece of many a party and social function.  It’s our favorite fast, casual food.  The list below includes my very favorite green chile cheeseburgers, some of which are not on the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, but all of which are visit worthy.  By clicking on the name of the restaurant for which you wish to know my opinion, you will be magically transported directly to my review of that restaurant.

Sparky’s Burgers, Barbecue & Espresso (Hatch)
New Mexico Magazine‘s “best eats” award winner for 2011 denoting the state’s best green chile cheeseburger.  Most piquant green chile of any green chile cheeseburger on this list.  A no frills burger for which the chile is grown just minutes away.
The Shop Breakfast & Lunch (Albuquerque) Albuquerque’s very best green chile cheeseburger (called The Shop Burger) is relatively new to the pantheon of New Mexico’s best, having been introduced in 2018 as part of The Shop’s “Late Shift” menu.  It’s now available for lunch every day.  Every day is how often I’d love to have it!
Rockin’ BZ Burgers (Alamogordo) Winner of the 2012 Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge at the New Mexico State Fair, Rockin’ BZ’s “The Champ” is just one of many reasons to visit the desert hamlet of Alamogordo. Outstanding green chile cheeseburgers aren’t solely the domain of Northern New Mexico.
Counter Culture Cafe (Santa Fe)
Several years ago, we discovered one of the three or four best burgers (the Ambrosiaburger) we’ve ever had at a Big Sur restaurant named Nepenthe.  The Counter Culture comes closest of any New Mexican restaurant to duplicate that magic.  Better still, you can have it with green chile.
Monte Carlo Steakhouse (Albuquerque) As with the aforementioned Santa Fe Bite what makes this green chile cheeseburger stand out is the beef, a full third-pound of glorious steak ground into a moist, delicious burger patty.  This is Albuquerque’s very best, an exemplar of quality and deliciousness.
The Owl Bar & Cafe (San Antonio) One of the top ten burgers in America according to  Likely inventor of the green chile cheeseburger, serving it since 1945.  Double-meat, double-cheese, double-green chile is the best.  Seventy years of experience making it is really telling.
Blades Bistro (Placitas) This burger emphasizes beef as in eight to ten ounces of Angus reserve beef, a moist, juicy and delicious beef with the inimitable flavor of steak. Chef Kevin Blades is a seafood savant who can prepare anything well.  At the 6300 foot altitude of Placitas, this burger tastes even better.
The Buckhorn Tavern (San Antonio)  Rated America’s seventh best burger by GQ Magazine.  Charismatic proprietor Bobby Olguin won green chile cheeseburger throwdown over Food Network glitterati Bobby Flay.  He parlayed that win into a short-lived television show, but it wasn’t as big a hit as his burgers.
El Farolito (El Rito)  Featured on Gourmet Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Rand McNally‘s “best of the road” and many other publications.  Charming setting in bucolic village draws in guests from throughout the world to this cash-only Lilliputian establishment where the green chile cheeseburger reigns supreme.
Sugar’s BBQ & Burgers (Embudo) One of America’s top ten drive-ins according to Gourmet Magazine serves one of New Mexico’s very best green chile cheeseburger as well as some of the best barbecue in the state.  The drive through the snaking highway is spectacular.  So is this burger.
 Benny’s Mexican Kitchen (Bosque Farms)
New Mexico’s best green chile cheeseburger according to Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine.  The “Benny King” burger marries green chile and guacamole in an incomparable manner.  You’ll want to wash it down with the best milk shake in the Albuquerque area.
 The Frontier Restaurant (Albuquerque)
The Adam Bonanza (named for Man Vs. Food Nation host Adam Richman) is a double meat, double American cheese, double green chile, double bacon extravaganza.  A single Bonanza exists on the menu, but why have a single when two is better.
Bode’s General Mercandise Deli & Bakery (Abiquiui)
Saveur wrote “Bode’s may make the world’s best cheeseburger: a half pound of ground steak smothered in fresh New Mexico green chiles.”
 El Parasol (Española)
Quite possibly the best green chile cheeseburger in Rio Arriba county.  Green chile actually bites back.  Best with double meat, double cheese.
 Home of the Laguna Burger (Albuquerque)
Cooked to order from 100 percent, never frozen ground beef (an 80/20 blend), it is a half-pound of pure deliciousness.  Though the Laguna Burger is available in three locations, the very best (by far) comes from The Pit Stop about ten miles west of Albuquerque.
 Rex’s Hamburgers (Albuquerque)
 85 percent lean and 15 percent fat, the time-tested optimum balance for optimum flavor.  Real meat, never frozen, formed into a ball and flattened on the griddle with a spatula then allowed to cook slowly to retain the beef’s natural juiciness
 Harry’s Roadhouse (Santa Fe)
Harry’s has such a vast and diverse menu that it’s not known for its green chile cheeseburger, but perhaps it should be.  It’s one of the very best in Santa Fe.
 Five Star Burgers (Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque)
 All natural, antibiotic free 100 percent Angus beef fresh ground daily and char-grilled to order with an intriguing selection of condiments to adorn each burger.
Spinn’s Burgers & Beer (Albuquerque) Third-pound of fresh ground Angus beef that’s never been frozen cooked medium-well unless otherwise requested, it’s a multi-napkin mound of juiciness and flavor.
Perea’s Tijuana Bar & Restaurant (Corrales) Charming old-world New Mexican restaurant crafts one of the very best burgers in the metropolitan Duke City area, a juicy behemoth with pleasantly piquant green chile.
A&B Drive-In (Truth or Consequences) An old-fashioned drive-in straight out of American Graffiti, A&B has mastered truly outstanding green chile cheeseburgers, prepared fresh to order and dressed with every condiment you could want.

11 thoughts on “Green Chile Cheeseburgers

  1. I know!!! I don’t know what disgusted me more: That Fuddruckers was allowed to compete or that they won. TWICE!!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

  2. Oso Grill in Capitan as won the judging & People’s Choice at the State Fair for best GCCB 2018 & 2019. Wanted to give it a shoutout!

    1. YEEAHA!!! Though, I was rooting for High Point Grill. Am I the only one who thinks a national chain (I’m looking at you, Fuddruckers!) should not be allowed to compete and it should be local establishments only??

        1. Alas Sarita and Nestor RE: If you will permit me a bit of Historical Perspective RE e.g. Fuddrucker’s , but also a National competitor. Possibly on the positive side: Having a National Chain in the competition and despite facing local judges who I presume are blind to a GCCB’s ownership anyway, gives it a bit of sweeter comeuppance when a Local wins, i.e. over the National? 
          Alas, I may have a bias as I flipped a burger or two in my youth in LA in the days when many burger chains like Big Boy and Big Mac were just finding their way…starting out, i.e. in contrast to what kids think today: they’ve always existed, haven’t they?!!!! The place I worked was of a local Guy who created his nicho using an Alpine look…we wore lederhosen type uniforms…and cooked over an open flamed grill behind a glass Guests walked by in the ordering line. We served some of the burgers on a double-sliced Kaiser Roll in an Alpine structure with picnic table seating. I like to think…as part of his competitive challenge….he was a forerunner of Fuddruckers by having a D-I-Y condiment bar with bowls of tomato, pickle and onion slices along with mustard and ketchup and…unique at the time….a bowl of Thousand Island Dressing! He also had a D-i-Y bar for Sundaes. To this day, Seasoned Folks reminisce about the combo of 1K Dressing AND….chopped nuts on their burger!!!! Eh! diced Green Chile was eons away from LA at the time where so many foodie franchises of today sprung forth! Oooeee…it wasn’t till the Maloofs of ABQ brought Garduno’s to their first casino…The Fiesta in outer Las Vegas in the mid ’90s!!!! did Vegas learn of Green Chile!!! While it might have had an au haute In-n-Out Burger just before then, it did not have a Green Chile Cheeseburger!!!!
          (Lest I be conspiratorial: Why are the Best GCCB along State Road 380, i.e. San Antonio and Capitan on the way to Roswell

  3. In Albuquerque, the Rustic is a relatively new place located in Green Jeans Farmery on the North side of I-40 at Carlisle definitely deserves a look. The Day of the Dead burger with diablo puree is spectacular.

    1. When we go to Green Jeans, the burgers and fries from Rustic look SO GOOD. We keep telling ourselves we’ll try it next time, but keep opting for Bocadillo’s instead…not a consolation prize by any means!

  4. I assure you, Bill, that excluding the Santa Fe Bite is an oversight. As with its predecessor, the Santa Fe Bite belongs on any pantheon of New Mexico’s very best green chile cheeseburgers.

  5. Hi Gil,

    As my Sweetie and I will be spending October in Santa Fe, I am preparing by going over your fantastic website reading your reviews. Is there somewhere new in the Land of Enchantment that I want to try? I appreciate that you have listed your highest rated restaurants by category. I had not seen that before, and it will help us choose where to dine (in addition to The Shed, Santa Fe Bite, Rancho Chimayo, El Farolito, etc….)

    I went over your GCCB list and noted that I have eaten cheeseburgers at 9 of those locations. I see there are several more to check out.

    However—where is Santa Fe Bite? As you say in your review, it is a wonderful burger. It seems like it should be on your list by your own standards.

    1. Bill,
      Santa Fe Bite is the reincarnation of the famous Bob Cat Bite.
      After a dispute with their landlords and also finding out that they didn’t own the name Bob Cat Bite they moved to a new location and changed their name. Same great burgers new name and new location.
      Same large crowds enjoying the famous burgers.

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