The Frito Pie Burger

The Lunch Counter Delight

As if our native green chili isn’t enough, New Mexico also lays claim to another must-have gastronomic tongue-pleaser, the Frito Pie.

Capitalizing on local popularity of the treat, Silver Zubia, co-owner of Papaburgers,  topped his already spectacular burger with Fritos, chili and melty nacho cheese.

Frito Pie Burger
Frito Pie Burger, from Papaburgers, (ABQ., NM)

Mentioned along with national food icons like the Philly cheesesteak, lobster rolls, and banana splits, USA Today called the Frito Pie one of the foods that make America great.

Like a lot of great foods, the exact origin of the recipe is uncertain – but as they tell in the Land of Enchantment — the Frito Pie was created in the 1960s, at the Woolworth’s lunch counter on the Santa Fe Plaza, when Teresa Hernandez, ladled some red chili into a small bag of the chips, and topped it with cheese.

You can still get a Frito Pie at the same Santa Fe lunch counter, now called Five and Dime General Store.

[To be fair, we should mention that the Frito Pie casserole was most likely created in 1932 (in Austin, TX), by Daisy Dean Doolin, mother of Frito creator, Charles Elmer Doolin. At any rate, Fritos published a recipe for “Fritos Chili Pie Casserole,” prior to the 1960s.]


On the Side: Check out NPR’s story, The Birth of the Frito, and
Anthony Bourdian’s infamous slam on the Five & Dime Frito Pie.

Papaburgers – Albuquerque, NM

Papaburgers, one of Best Burgers in Albuquerque
Inside Papaburgers II

Papaburgers
(4.5 / 5)
6601 4th St., NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Phone: (505) 345-0255

Papaburgers II
7200 Montgomery, NW
Ste P (west end of plaza)
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Phone: (505) 433-3545

Note: Both locations closed Sundays
Web Site
Price Range: $$ (Papa Cheese Basket [w fries] & soda $8.64 +tax)

Quick Take: This is our “go-to” hometown burger.  The basic Papaburger is more than respectable, but once the fresh beef and chopped onions are married on the grill, the burger patty can still stand up to fat strips of New Mexico green chile and American cheese — or whatever creations the burger chefs at Papaburgers put together.  

Andre, green chile cheese burger
Recommended –Fresh ground beef with green chile & American cheese

“Good Old Fashioned Hamburgers”
There are fancier burgers in Albuquerque, but this strip mall burger joint consistently provides fresh burgers (fresh meat, cooked to order) that always satisfies that craving for a good burger. Some burgers rely on fancy dress to make them taste good, but not the Papaburger. Beef and chopped onions are flat-top seared to a perfectly crunch outside while staying moist inside. The topping are also fresh and crispy. Standard Papaburgers come with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and mustard, but diners can add fresh slices of avocado, green chile, bacon or more meat. Continue reading Papaburgers – Albuquerque, NM

Bama Burger v the Buckeye

As some of you know, earlier this year Best Burger Review moved its home base from New Mexico to Alabama. I quickly found out that next to God, football is the state religion. When JT, a fellow burger blogger from the BurgerGuyz, in Ohio asked, “You know there’s a football game coming up, right?!,” I knew a little Bama / Buckeye Sugar Bowl trouble was brewing…

“I was thinking we may be able to have a little fun for charity,” said JT. “Maybe you can talk to a bar & grill in your area and see if they are interested in accepting a challenge.” Accept they did…

Burger Bet to Raise Money for Food Bank

December 29, 2014 – While University of Alabama and Ohio State face each in the Sugar Bowl, this New Year’s day, two restaurant owners –one from Alabama and one from Ohio – will face off to see who can raise the most money for a local food bank. In the spirit of the sport, the outcome of the football game will determine which food bank gets the cash.

Continue reading Bama Burger v the Buckeye