Juicy, greasy hamburgers have been a part of the American diet forever. Easily accessible and customary to the culture of the nation, the common dish varies in build across the U.S.—from smashburgers to burgers smothered in 1000 island dressing. New Mexico has managed to conjure up its own version of the sandwich. Infusing the homegrown product of green chile, the green chile cheeseburger has caught national recognition. You can visit the official state burger trail here (newmexico.org), but let’s break down the top five Albuquerque selections.
Lucky Boy Restaurant
First up to bat is the staple green chile cheeseburger from Lucky Boy, a mom-and-pop featuring Asian and American food. The two sides collide in the burger itself, with sharp-tasting condiments giving the burger a pop in each bite. This diner has made a prominent presence in the food scene since arriving decades ago. It holds a special place in my heart. This was the spot if you were a student at UNM and needed something fattening and cheap. The first time I ordered a green chile cheeseburger from here, I figured out why this hole-in-the-wall diner thrived for so long. It’s an interesting concept when a restaurant incorporates two different genres of food under one roof, but it delivers every time. If you’re up to it, definitely make it over to this little joint and order a spicy burger. You’ll probably be ordering another second one.
Lucky Boy Restaurant
3521 Constitution Ave NE
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
Phone: (505) 268-2785
Considering its fame as a steakhouse, it took me some time to order a green chile cheeseburger from Monte Carlo. I could never stray away from ordering one of its classic steaks. The first time I decided to was when I got dragged into going with some friends after I had been there the day before—you know that feeling. Thus, I ordered away from my usual. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised to taste something so succulent. The meat was perfect, and it makes sense when you’re ordering a common meat-based dish at a famous restaurant whose sole focus is beef. The chile had a bite and the garnish was crisp, two combos that really make or break a hamburger. I highly recommend you try this on your next visit, and trust me I know you’re asking yourself, “Why would I order a burger at a steakhouse?” It’s because it’s that good.
Monte Carlo Liquor & Steakhouse
3916 Central Ave SW
Phone: (505) 836-9886
El Bruno’s Restaurant y Cantina
I’ve written about El Bruno’s before—a good place to sip on some margaritas and eat some hearty Mexican grub—but did you know El Bruno whips up a mean burger as well? Of course you did. With its fiery green chile, why wouldn’t El Bruno throw it on a patty? Placed between two buns and topped with fresh veggies, El Bruno’s burger is something else. It’s also a plus when you get to eat in a classic New Mexican environment with a drink in your hands. I’ve talked up El Bruno’s for having a great selection of New Mexican classics, and it doesn’t get more classic than their green chile. Head over to Los Ranchos, grab a bite and immerse yourself in a good time. Why wouldn’t you?
El Bruno’s Restauranté y Cantina
8806 4th St NW
Neighborhood: Los Ranchos
Phone: (505) 897-0444
Another fan favorite in the Albuquerque food scene, the Owl Cafe is a diner many of us have visited during our childhoods. Heck, I’m not even from Albuquerque, but every visit we stopped in. Whether it’s for the desert or the food, Owl Cafe packs a punch with its green chile cheeseburger. And you know I’m going to be ordering a shake to combat that spicy chile. It’s a good ensemble for a cheat day. The primary perk of eating at the Owl is experiencing the old-school ‘50s diner scene. Some may find it cheesy, but it’s a pastime in American culture I refuse to forget. What restaurants deliver a side of beans for the table topped with green chile? Only one comes to mind.
800 Eubank Blvd NE
Phone: (505) 291-4900
It would be heresy to leave Blake’s off the list. It took me years to actually eat here. I have no clue why, but when I had my first green chile cheeseburger, my mouth was on fire. I had a chile burger from all of these places before, and Blake’s without a doubt contains the hottest one. I was panting with a fury, sweating an uncomfortable amount; yet I couldn’t stop myself from taking another bite. Alongside Blake’s burger are its crispy onion rings. Can’t forget the sides. The ring and burger combo is crucial when placing your order. It’s cool to see Blake’s expand outside of the city. Others across the state get to experience this painful, delicious mess of a burger. Better believe all of New Mexico will know the spiciest burger they’ve eaten came right out of Albuquerque.
301 Carlisle Blvd NE
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
Phone: (505) 880-9628