Our Best Burgers of the Year
We ate a lot of burgers this year. Heck, it’s late in the year and we are still eating burgers. We traveled a lot too — from New Mexico to Alabama (a couple times) and from Florida to Ohio and back again. Plus, there were a ton of day trips around Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Frankly, we did so much traveling that sometimes the hope of finding the next great burger was what kept us driving. For now, we focus on best burgers New Mexico. (It’s a great state. If you haven’t been, you should get there!)
Best Burgers of New Mexico
6601 4th Street Northwest, Albuquerque, NM
— The first part of the year, we were still based in New Mexico. Now, 1,500 miles away, I still miss Papaburgers. Their burgers are the smashed kind, with that crisp caramelization you get from a flattop grill. It doesn’t hurt that onions are mixed right into the meat. Add a thick slice of New Mexico green chili and you have a mouthwatering mix of flavor, heat and heart. This strip-mall joint also has killer chile-cheese fries and flavorful hotdogs.
Sugar’s BBQ and Hamburgers
1799 New Mexico 68, Velarde, NM 87582
— Sometimes it’s more than the meat that makes a great burger. Sugar’s has a fresh, drippy, good burger, but add in a laid-back scene and scenic out-of-the-way location. We spent one long, lazy afternoon sitting at one of the outside tables (it’s a walk-up place) enjoying an almost perfect burger experience. Sugar’s is one of those hole-in-the-places that the locals know about. Hours vary at this seasonal biz, so call ahead (505-852-0604). Read more about Sugar’s on Trip Advisor.
Santa Fe Bite (formerly Bob Cat Bite)
311 Old Santa Fe Trail – Santa Fe NM 87501
— We must mention Santa Fe Bite. Before this little burger joint grew up, changed it’s name and moved to town, it consistently made “best of” burger lists across the nation, and with good reason. While we could wax poetic and claim we were eating at “Bobcat” Bite before it had a porch or a paved(!) lot, we will just say the burger is still a hunk of juicy awesomeness. It stays the Best of the Best Burger List. Go to Santa Fe and eat a burger at Santa Bite. Until then, read an interview with Santa Fe Bite owner, John Eckre, at Serious Eats.
More Burgers of Note in NM
700 Central Avenue SE, Albuquerque
— Thick, well-flavored upscale burgers, an amazing veggie sandwich and thick, rich shakes that are a meals on their own. Skip the sweet potato fries, and try the zucchini fries instead. (Sides are enough to share). Holy Cow provides a satisfying experience for burger lovers and their gluten-free and veggie friends too.
(West Albuquerque) — Basic burgers done right. Fresh and hot, Add green chile! Heading down I-40, there is one inside the Pit Stop 66 gas station, in each direction. DO NOT reply on your GPS to find these. Just keep your eyes peeled for the signs. Said a local food writer, the Laguna Burger is a “half-pound of pure deliciousness.”
5300 Sequoia Road, Albuquerque, NM 8712
— Yep, a true neighborhood bar with one of the most under-rated burgers in Albuquerque. Nothing fancy, but, juicy and full of flavor, served with fries or onion rings. Either are a good choice. It’s a bar, so don’t expect ambiance. However, the friendly locals and great staff make it a fun experience.