Last week, Huffington post published America’s 10 Best Burgers, According To National Geographic on their site. They were working their way through The Ten Best of Everything, by Nathaniel and Andrew Lande (published by National Geographic). The third edition of the book was released in April.The eclectic volume, which works its way through a lot of bests around the world, has a list of the best burgers in the US. New Mexico’s chain, Lottaburger, made number four on their list. We found that choice interesting. Lottaburgers fine, but we’re not sure how or why they’re on they landed on a national best of list. Full disclosure; we haven’t read the book. We’ll chalk it up to one of those “let’s agree to disagree” things. The list got us thinking. Here are our picks for 9 Great Burgers in Santa Fe (in alphabetical order):
(Of course, being Santa Fe, the most popular burger is the Green Chile Cheeseburger. If you like heat, add the New Mexico State Vegetable to your burger.)
Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery, with both a downtown and Southside location has great burgers and micro-brews to go with them. The hand-made patties are formed from local Angus beef that’s been certified antibiotic, pesticide, and hormone-free. They also offer tortillas, a popular local favorite. Instead of a bun, the burger is wrapped in a tortilla and then smothered with the green or red chile. Burgers are served with a choice of hand-cut fries, smashed potatoes, jicama-lime slaw or calabacitas, a local dish of summer squash, corn, onions and green chile.
Bobcat Bite, (read before you go) opened n 1953, has been on all sorts of best burger lists from food and travel magazines such as Bon Appetit, the now defunct Gourmet,. The New York Times and Travel + Leisure. They also made Epicurious.com’s Top Ten Burgers in America list. Personally, I think two things make their juicy burgers great. The meat (choice whole boneless chuck) is ground fresh daily and they’re cooked on a vintage griddle. There’s almost always a wait at this popular joint which has a handful of tables and counter seating. Just put your name on the board and wait patiently. As of June 9, 2013, Bobcat Bite as we know it will be no more. Current owners Bonnie and John Eckre will be gone. If someone takes over the location, they will have to prove themselves. We’ll check it out if and when there are new owners. Meanwhile, the Eckres will be opening downtown. If the new spot delivers that same delicious burgers as Bobcat, it will be on out list.
Burt’s Burger Bowl, 235 N Guadalupe Street, (505) 982-0215, is another old timer has been serving up burgers since 1954. Order at the counter of this mid-century drive-in and wait patiently for your burger (allow 12 minutes cooking time for the made-to-order burgers) or order ahead). In warmer weather, you can eat at one of their outdoor concrete tables..Local lore has it, Bert’s came up with the local icon, the Green Chile Cheeseburger, but it’s unconfirmed and others, such as the Owl Café in San Antonio, NM lay claim to this title as well. The burgers come with mustard, pickle, lettuce, tomato and onion. If you’re a purist and only want cheese and green chile, speak up. If you’re tired of the same old beef burger or want to try something different, Bert’s offers bison, Kobe, lamb and pork burgers. If you’re not a carnivore, try the veggie burger. Burgers come in both quarter-pound and half-pound.
Del Charro, who bills itself as “Santa Fe’s Waterhole,” is a loud, bustling local hang-out a few blocks from the Plaza. The place is almost always packed, especially on weekend nights when it’s a popular drinking spot. The menu is small and most people order the well-priced burger, one of the least expensive non-chain restaurant burgers in town. It’s their top selling item and the crowd loves them. They use premade chuck patties delivered in cryopacs to maintain freshness. Try the beer-battered fries with them. While not the best burger you’ll find in Santa Fe, you can’t beat the price.
Rio Chama on historic Old Santa Fe Trail offers two burgers, both available on the lunch, dinner and bar menus. Their signature Angus & Prime Rib Burger, is made with trimmings from the prime ribs they serve mixed with chuck (both cuts are from Angus cattle). The meat is ground fresh daily. Also on the menu: the New Mexico Buffalo Burger made with locally raised, natural meat. There is an array of toppings to choose from, including the ubiquitous green chile. You can opt to dine in their upscale dining room, the casual bar or in summer their secluded back patio.
Second Street Brewery started out, as the name implies, on 2nd Street. They now have a branch in the up and coming Railyard District located in the north end of the Farmers’ Market Building. The micro-breweries’ menu reflects their casual pub philosophy. Burgers are made from all-natural Harris Ranch beef that arrives in pre-made 8-ounce patties. You can also opt for a buffalo burger made from local LaMont’s Wild West Buffalo meat. They are one of the vendors at the Farmers’ Market, adjacent to Second Streets Railyard branch. Burgers are served on cornmeal dusted Kaiser rolls.
San Francisco Street Bar and Grill and their sister restaurant, Santa Fe Bar and Grill offer a southwest influenced pub menu at reasonable prices. Owner Rob Day opened the San Francisco Street location over 25 years ago and the DeVargas Mall outpost over 10 years ago. Day built his business and reputation on burgers. Their half-pound patties, a combination of chuck and sirloin, are premade, by a local distributor, from fresh ground, meat. They are then sealed in cryovac packing to maintain freshness. The popular burgers, which are the top-selling item at both locations are served on sourdough buns..
SantaCafe, offers a great burger in a more upscale setting. Everything on the plate with their Green Chile Burger is made in-house, including the bun, the catsup and the potato chips. The 8-ounce patty is made from house-ground Angus chuck. In summer, opt for the outdoor courtyard seating.
Tune-up Café, 1115 Hickox Street, (505) 983-7060), took over the spot that belonged to a funky local icon, called Dave’s Not Here, in 2008. (The story behind that name is a Santa Fe legend). They quickly gained a following and then, shortly after opening, were discovered by the Food Network’s Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives. The tourists came. Their 7-ounce Tune-up Burger is made from house ground, New Mexico raised organic chuck and served on a garlic mayo slathered brioche bun from Fano’s an artisanal Albuquerque bakery. .
We could actually go on and on. There are a lot of great burgers in Santa Fe. Who’s your pick for great burgers in Santa Fe?
For more about great burgers in Santa Fe read Santa Fe restaurants on the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburer Trail.
As former hotel concierges, owners of a travel concierge and trip-planning business and in Santa Fe, the writers may have at some time been guests of business or services mentioned in this post or may be guests in the future. These experiences do not influence this post in any way.