Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Which is Best--The Owl or the Buckhorn?

New Mexicans love their chile, and they love their green chile cheeseburgers. Ask a couple of New Mexicans where to get the best one, and you’ll get at least two (maybe more) answers. I once asked the people at the City-Data New Mexico forum where to find the best green chile cheeseburger in eastern New Mexico and was treated to a wonderful list of possibilities, encompassing the whole state.

One of the side discussions that came up in the Forum discussion was which San Antonio restaurant has the best burger—The Owl Café or Manny’s Buckhorn Bar. We had always thought of the Owl’s burger as the best in the world, so this time we checked out the Buckhorn.

We loved the Buckhorn burgers, we loved the green chile cheese fries, the service was great, and the atmosphere was very relaxed. That translated to a lot of time standing in line waiting to get in but it was a busy day, after all, as visitors were streaming into San Antonio from the twice-yearly open house at Trinity Site, 20-some miles away. Once we were seated all was well and the line had petered out so we didn’t feel guilty kicking back and taking our time. There are some really nice folks running the place there. There were a few signed dollars hanging up but the best sign was one proclaiming the Buckhorn GCCB to be “the 7th best burger in America” from a GQ article. The Owl has more seating, so you spend less time in line. On the other hand, the service is so quick that it seems you’ve been served and are on your way out the door almost before having time to savor the experience. The burgers are smaller than at the Buckhorn, but the meat has the best flavor I’ve ever tasted in a burger. The atmosphere is pure cowboy bar, as is the Buckhorn—you know you’re in the Wild West, and they aren’t putting on a show. The Owl has those great autographed-by-everybody-from-all-over dollars hanging all over the walls and the ceiling. For a lot of historical information about the Owl Café and some mouthwatering food photos, see Gil’s Thrilling Web Site, a wonderful place to roam around in search of New Mexico’s best food:

Once you’ve read that page, and before you go wandering off, please see Gil’s page on the Buckhorn at

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