The cheeseburger — an American icon. Many regions of America have their own special additions to our national sandwich such as pineapple, an egg, fancy cheeses and gourmet sauces.
Herein New Mexico, what makes our cheeseburgers special is the green chile.
In fact, we love our version of this classic food so much that we even have a designated Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail (a trail map can be found online at newmexico.org). It is such a popular taste that fast-food chains McDonald’s, Sonic and Blake’s Lotaburger offer green chile cheeseburgers in Taos.
But if you have the time to really sit and savor one of these hand-crafted culinary delights, any one of the following Taos-area eateries is sure to please. Then, you’ll understand why the green chile is as essential to our survival as water.
5 Star Burgers
USA Today voted 5 Star Burger as the “Best Burger in New Mexico.” The Green Chile Burger has the added punch of green chile mayo. All burgers are made from scratch using hormone and antibiotic free Angus beef that is fresh ground daily. 1032 Paseo del Pueblo Sur (575) 758-8484; 5starburgers.com. Hours: Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Abe’s Cantina y Cocina
You can’t miss Abe’s, located on the way to Taos Ski Valley on the only main road through the quaint village of Arroyo Seco. A local favorite, family-owned Abe’s serves up a classic green chile burger. 489 State Road 150, Arroyo Seco (575) 776-8516; facebook search Abe’s Cantina y Cocina. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
The Alley Cantina
Housed in one of Taos’ oldest structures, The Alley Cantina (simply referred to as “The Alley” by locals) sits in the heart of Historic Taos Plaza and is a happening social spot with live entertainment nightly. Offered up is not your typical bar fare, including a 4-ounce and an 8-ounce green chile cheeseburger. The Alley is often voted a best place for burgers and fries in the annual “Best of Taos” publication. 121 Teresina Lane, Taos, (575) 758-2121; alleycantina.com. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-midnight
The Chow Cart (Mantes)
Family owned since 1973, the Chow Cart may be light on décor but is heavy on taste. “Mantes,” as locals call it, serves up a traditional Northern New Mexico green chile cheeseburger. Every patty is formed by hand. No time to sit? The Chow Cart has a drive-thru. 402 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos, (575) 758-3632; facebook search The Chow Cart (Mantes). Hours: Sat., Mon.-Thu. 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri., 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
The Burger Stand at Taos Ale House
As its name implies, gourmet burgers are the focus. The green chile cheeseburger with Hatch chiles and pepper jack cheese is no regular old bar burger. The Burger Stand’s burgers are made from humanely raised, farm-fed Angus beef. 401 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, (575) 758-5522; taosburgersandbeer.com Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
The Gorge Bar & Grill
Set in a modern, casual dining atmosphere with a bird’s eye view of Historic Taos Plaza, The Gorge puts its own little twists on the green chile cheeseburger by offering “The ‘Gorgeous’ Burger” and the “Green Chile Cheese Melt” with an 8-ounce patty option. 103 East Plaza (Taos Plaza), (575) 758-8866; thegorgebarandgrill.com. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Mary Jane’s Home Cooking
Don’t let looks fool you — Mary Jane’s serves up a tasty homemade green chile cheeseburger. Try it wrapped in a flour tortilla for something different. Mary Jane’s is the white food truck with outdoor seating right next to Gearing Up Taos on the main drag. 616 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, Taos, (575) 770-1171.
Stray Dog Cantina
Home of the “serious chile,” Stray Dog Cantina has been flameroasting their chiles for 25 years. Also popular with locals, Stray Dog Cantina has built a solid reputation around their great burger, fun atmosphere and deliciously strong margaritas. 105 Sutton Place, Taos Ski Valley, (575) 776-2894; timsstraydog. com. Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.- 9 p.m.