Rex’s Hamburgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico

From 1988 through 2005, Rex’s Hamburgers stood practically alone in offering Duke City consumers an alternative to the homogeneous gobble-and-go offerings of deep-pocketed fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. Rex’s earned and retained the hearts of Albuquerque diners for nearly 20 years. During its halcyon days, it garnered the long defunct’s Abq magazine’s “Best of Albuquerque” honors for several consecutive years. The reason Duke City patrons were so loyal to Rex’s was because Rex’s was at the diametric extreme opposite of the chain restaurants. Whether ensconced in a strip mall or housed in a single tenant edifice, Rex’s offered real sit-down service at a relaxed and reasonable pace. Moreover, it served hamburgers the way they are intended to…

66 Diner – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Known as “America’s Highway” and celebrated by author John Steinbeck as the “Mother Road,” the legendary Route 66 meandered across 2,448 miles of the fruited plain, crossing three time zones and eight states as it traversed from Chicago to Los Angeles. For many—especially destitute sharecroppers fleeing Oklahoma’s devastating Dust Bowl—Route 66 held the promise of a better life. For others, Route 66 brought a sense of connectedness with parts of America previously considered difficult to reach. For them, Route 66 engendered a frontier spirit of adventure, greatly expanding their vacation options and travel opportunities. For hundreds of communities strewn along the two-lane blacktop, Route 66 was also an engine of economic prosperity, creating tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs large and small.…

Laguna Burger (12th Street) – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“The best stories are like the best burgers: big, juicy, and messy.” ~A.D. Posey, American Author For men of my generation, a Big Mac was a rite of passage, a graduation from Happy Meal cheeseburgers to a real adult burger…an event akin to transitioning from training wheels to a ten speed bike.  We had grown up singing the jingle “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun” and finally got to experience one for ourselves.   I had assumed all parents would, when their sons had proven worthy, introduce them to the Big Mac.  You can imagine my surprise upon reading a 2016 Wall Street Journal report that only one in five adults between…

Upscale Burgers & Shakes – Albuquerque, New Mexico

My friend Schuyler used to joke that every meal we enjoyed together was “upscale” because “up” was the direction his scale climbed when we finished our marathon meals.  We were quite the trenchermen in our youth, bona fide threats to any all-you-can-eat buffet in town.  Back then–as impoverished junior noncommissioned officers in the Air Force–ten dollar meals were near the upper end of we could afford with an occasional fifteen dollar splurge.  Back then, some thirty years ago, you could get quite a bit of food for ten dollars.  Fast forward a few decades and the term “upscale” has a different meaning for both of us.  We have both been able to reap the harvest of our hard work and…