If you've never lived in New Mexico, you've probably never even heard of a green chile cheeseburger, and you may never have eaten one. Just take my word for it, once you've had hot green chile on your burger, you'll never want any other kind. We became addicted to the burgers at the Owl Cafe in San Antonio, New Mexico back in the 1990s when we lived in Las Cruces--the beef was the most flavorful I had ever tasted and the New Mexican chile (never chili, that's something different) just couldn't be beat. The Owl is an old cowboy bar where the patrons sign dollar bills and stick them up all over the walls. Every once in a while the dollars are all taken down and donated to the charity voted for by the regulars. From Las Cruces, it was a two hour drive that we gladly made for a special Saturday lunch.
Now that we've moved to Clovis, the Owl is over 300 miles away. I was sure that there had to be a decent green chile cheeseburger somewhere closer, so I asked the regulars on the New Mexico forum of the City-Data.com at http://www.city-data.com/forum/new-mexico/. They are a great bunch of people, always willing to share their knowledge of this part of the country. I originally asked for "the best green chile cheeseburger in eastern New Mexico," or even west Texas, just so it was within reasonable driving distance of Clovis. There were plenty of opinions and a lively discussion and, before I knew it, we were talking about the best in all of New Mexico. I have summarized our findings, and here they are.
Statewide: Blake’s Lotaburger (great onion rings, too). 76 locations—see them at Lotaburger: Welcome
Alamogordo: Hi-D-Ho Drive In
Cerrillos: Mine Shaft Tavern
Clovis: Bill’s Jumbo Burger; Kelley’s Bar and Grill
Los Lunas: Benny’s (also in Bosque Farms)
San Antonio: The Owl; Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern
Santa Fe: Blue Corn Cafe; Bobcat Bite Restaurant
Texico: Town and Country Food Store
Timberon: High Country Lounge and Grill
Great article about the best burgers: Six Sinful Burgers: ¡Sabroso! Southwest Dining & Entertainment - Las Cruces, New Mexico - Culinary Traveler. The article was about hamburgers in general—but those with a star were praised for their green chile cheeseburgers. Here are the places mentioned.
Carrizozo: The Outpost*
Las Cruces: Dick’s Café*; Day’s Hamburgers
El Paso: The Charcoaler
San Antonio: The Owl Café*; Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern*
For more about chiles, if you just can't get enough: NMSU Chile Pepper Institute: http://www.chilepepperinstitute.org/. You can become a member, receive a newsletter, or just read the web site, which is full of information about chiles and growing them. Check out their online catalog to order seeds, books, posters, or t-shirts.