Laguna Burger: great green chile cheeseburgers

If New Mexico had an official state food it would probably be the green chile cheeseburger. We love our green chile and that American food favorite, the cheeseburger. What better than merging them? This food is so popular in The Land of Enchantment that there are contests, rivalries and even a New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail. The original, introduced in 2009 had a lot more entries than the current one, somewhere along the line they changed the rules. We’d discovered Laguna Burger several years ago while watching Kelly Urig’s (the Chile Chica) Emmy Award-winning The Chile Film. In 2016 it was named the best green chile cheeseburger at the New Mexico State Fair. Heading west on historic Route 66 passing through Lagun Pueblo we knew we had to stop. True to the essence of Route 66 there were a few Harleys parked out front when we arrived.

We finally get to Laguna Burger

The very 50s looking Laguna Burger, photo Steve Collins

The very 50s looking Laguna Burger, photo /Steve Collins

It was the tail end of lunch hour when we arrived at the deco-looking burger joint, set in the end of the Pit Stop convenience store.  Our timing was good; even then all the tables were taken. There are about a dozen plus stools at the counter and along a second counter in the front window). The grill was filled with cooking burgers; but they were all spoken for. We had to wait for the next batch of grilled-to-order burgers; it was worth the wait. The half-pound burgers are made from fresh meat. The grill cook puts the balls of 80/20 meat on the grill and flattens them. They take a while to cook and by the time ours was ready we were pretty hungry. We ordered the hand-cut fries and an order of onion rings so we could try as much of the menu as we could. The burgers, served on buttered buns, come with lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard and cheese or choose what you like.

Cooking those green chile cheeseburgers to order

Laguna Burger - Matthew working hard at the grilll, photo Steve Collins

Matthew working hard at the grill, photo Steve Collins

Matthew, the grill cook wearing a black tee shirt emblazoned with the motto “Is it the beef or is it the love?” had an efficient system down for cooking and assembling the burgers. Once he had the burgers flat and cooking it was time to butter and grill the buns. After putting the fixings on the buns he added the burger.The cheese is put on top of the cooked burger when it’s coming off the grill; the heat of the meat melts it.

The burger

Laguna Burger - Laguna's green chile cheeseburger, photo Steve Collins

Laguna’s green chile cheeseburger; fries and onion rings on the side , photo/Steve Collins

When our burgers were ready they called “Steve” and we went up to the counter to get them. The thick burger is almost too big to get your mouth around. The burgers were tasty, with a decent bite to the chile. If you’re a moderate eater, share a burger. I got through half of mine. I wish they’d offer a quarter-pound version, though the burger would lose its pleasing thickness. The fries were, disappointingly, not as crispy as we like them. The commercial onion rings were tasty. A burger was $5.99 (add a drink and fries for an additional $2.00). The menu also offers Frito pies, chicken tenders foot long hot dogs, chili cheese dogs, corn dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches on Texas Toast as well as chile cheese fries.  Prices are really reasonable. Most people come here for the burger. They also offer breakfast from 6 to 10:30am when lunch starts. The lunch and dinner menus are the same.

Sated we hit Historic Route 66 heading west. Laguna Burger, we’ll be back.

If you go: There are now two other Laguna Burger locations: at the Pit Stop next to the Laguna Pueblo’s 66 Casino at I-40 exit 140 and at the Dancing Eagle Supermarket at I-40 exit 108.

Here’s an article on the history of Laguna Burger.

We ate at Laguna

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2 Responses to “Laguna Burger: great green chile cheeseburgers”

  1. Paul Durante
    August 6, 2017 at 5:07 pm #

    The style of this restaurant reminded me of the Five Guys restaurant somehow. I like this style of restaurant. The burgers are more homemade, and the place seems cozier than at Mc Donald. I haven’t eaten burgers for long since I started my diet. But after my golf games this weekend, perhaps I will give it a try. Gonna pin point this restaurant. Thanks for sharing!

    • Billie Frank
      August 21, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

      Five guys doesn’t have green chile- probably the only burger place in NM that doesn’t. They have jalapenos- but not the same. Laguna Burger makes their own burger patties from fresh meat- McDonald’s is not in the same class. Laguna isn’t fast food!

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