a love story to the Owl Bar and Cafe (in San Antonio, New Mexico) Green Chile Cheese Burger I wrote about ten years ago. I am still in love…
I was not a burger lover. For me, eating a burger was largely a matter of convenience. It’s something to eat when you have no time for a real meal… I’ve never raved about the taste of a burger … Until now. On the way back from a day trip visiting White Sands, my travel buddy suggested that we stop in San Antonio, New Mexico, (about 83 miles outside Albuquerque on I-25) because he heard from a “friend of a friend” of a little place named Owl Bar Cafe that makes the best Green Chile Cheese Burgers. I agreed to stop as it was convenient and cheap.
The town of San Antonio (just outside of Socorro) is so small you that can hold your breath and pass through the entire downtown without exhaling. The Owl Bar and Cafe feels like an old western ghost town saloon on first entrance. However, as I was about to discover, it held the secret to changing my view of burgers forever. So we order two green chile cheeseburgers and sodas. My friend complains about it being too dark inside to see the food. “Is it worth seeing,” I thought to myself. “We’re just here for a quick burger.”
The waitress returns with our order in less than ten minutes. Too soon, I thought, for the meal to be of any great merit. As I observed the burgers being placed on our table, I got my first clue that this was something special. The burger patty was flat and wide and spilled over the sides of the bun. However, it was not a frozen patty, nor was it truly a patty at all. It had the loose texture of freshly ground meat. This was a freshly ground patty that had never seen the inner walls of a freezer!
After the first bite, I knew that I had arrived at a burger milestone in my life. This was a culinary melange of truly flavorful beef, perfectly balanced with cheese, that heavenly green chile and other seasonings that took me to burger heights I never knew existed. Yes, it was that good. I ordered a second burger (the photo above shows my second burger, the first I consumed too quickly to photograph) which only confirmed what I found with the first.
I began contemplating ordering another burger “to go” to munch on later. But I was brought to my senses. “You can always come back,” said my friend.” Yes, I can. Yes, I will. This is the sort of burger I will not hesitate to drive 83 miles for. Of course, when I do drive to get a green chile cheese burger at the Owl Cafe in San Antonio, I’ll do others things as well, like visit the Bosque del Apache, or Very Large Array to round out the trip …
Owl Bar & Cafe. From Socorro, take I-25 south about ten miles to the San Antonio exit. Proceed east to the flashing yellow light at the intersection with State Route 1; the Owl is on your left. For those of you who do not care for bar crowds, please rest assured that this is primarily an eating, not drinking place. It is very popular with families. Combine dining at Owl Bar & Cafe with a trip to the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Reserve in the fall. The Owl Bar and Cafe is located near the entrance to the Bosque.