(2014 Update: This burger, and it’s chef / creators have moved to a new location in Santa Fe, the Santa Fe Bite, inside of Garrett’s Desert Inn – 311 Old Santa Fe Trail)
World famous, some say. Certainly you can’t be a fan of most food television shows and not have seen this place on the cable T & V. The Bobcat Bite has been around in some form or another since 1953, and has been operated since 2001 by John and Bonnie Eckre. You can hardly run across more hardworking people, this place is jammed 11A – 7:50P (????), Wed thru Sun, closed the rest of the time. Good thing I happen to roll thru town on one of those days, cause until that moment, I wasn’t aware of the operating restrictions.
Arrived at 1:45, expecting the “lunch rush” in Santa Fe to be over. Maybe it was, but tourists were still waiting for tables. Being as there were just two of us, we were allowed to amble up to empty stoosl at the counter, which was fine with me. Bonnie asked me what I wanted to drink (Diet Coke) and placed the menu in front of me. I could see John in the kitchen furiously grilling and filling orders. In addition to Bonnie, there was one other waitress, and a kitchen helper, that I could see, four people working at a restaurant whose capacity is shy of 20 patrons at a time.
The Bobcat is “famous” for their Green Chili Cheeseburgers, and that’s because apparently 99.8% of the world’s green chile production, of the Hatch variety, come from an area of New Mexico. I’m not a fan of chiles, by and by, but Portland business attorney Will Duval, is, being as his Mrs hails from these parts. They had both assured me that with green chiles, it’s the smoky flavor that enhances foods, not the heat one usually associates with chiles.
There’s a note on the menu, that reminds one that the building is small, and the proprietors can’t serve as many people as they would like, so please be patient! OK. I ordered their specialty, the Green Chili Cheeseburger, and a side of home fries. Clocked in at $12.90, including the drink.
I whiled away the time leafing through George Motz’s “Hamburger America” tome, (2nd edition now available), and the Bite’s copy showed its age and use, with dog-eared pages. The “Bite” is in the book, of course.
Twenty minutes later, my sandwich was delivered, and I took a moment to inspect it, before dissecting it.
The Bite uses ground fresh natural, hormone free beef, from whole boneless chuck, and it shows. They go for a little coarser grind than many establishments, and that suits me fine. The bakery bun was exceptionally soft, but sturdy enough to hold the burger, chiles, cheese, and sauce. The home fries, tho not finger food, were the perfect accompaniment.
I’m not a ketchup user at all, but it was a mild curiousity to me that the Bite has the standard Sysco brand and French’s mustard on the counter. Just saying, don’t care in the least. The burger was perfect without additional condiments or seasoning, as were the taters.
Bonnie had asked me about my cooking preference, and the burger came out as ordered, medium rare, perfect for my palate.
The Bobcat experience is fun, fun, fun, on all levels. Great burger, friendly folks passionate about what they are doing, and you are surrounded (or I was) with burger fans from across the country.
Santa Fe offers lots of interesting choices of activities, and dining, and my favorite B&B in the whole world, Alexander’s Inn, where I’ve had many a romantic weekend (and maybe this one!). If you’re headed that way, be sure to hit the Bite. Since one can’t eat burgers for every meal, I also like the Cowgirl for a Frito Pie, but they also have game burgers (venison, elk, and buffalo, served bunless smothered in green chilis).
Bobcat Bite Review