A group of food blogging friends and I had just spent hours roasting in the summer sun, stumbling from stall to stall at the Taste of Santa Fe, so the idea of driving to the city’s outskirts to eat a green chile cheeseburger was met with groans (and worse). However, trusted authorities like Roadfood founders Jane and Michael Stern previously proclaimed Bobcat Bite‘s burger an absolute must when visiting Santa Fe, so despite the resistance, I insisted, and I’m happy I did, since it resulted in one of our weekend’s definitive eating experiences.
Bobcat Bite is located on the south side of town on Old Las Vegas Highway, a remnant of Route 66. The former trading post and gun shop has operated as a restaurant since Mitzi Penzer transformed the space in 1953. The owners used to feed bobcats scraps of food out back. According to current owner Bonnie Eckre, who’s owned Bobcat Bite with husband John since 2001, the scraps now go to customers’ dogs. However, bobcats still troll the hills out back, along with coyotes and red fox.
Bobcat Bite features options like a ham and cheese sandwich, rib eye steak and pork chops, but their most popular dish, by far, is the green chile burger.
Bobcat Bite’s green chile burger ($8.40) centers on a plump 10-ounce patty of fresh ground chuck that – if you don’t desiccate with a “well done” order – arrives rosy at the center, with an outer sear, minced green chilies that pack some punch, and (if you’re smart) a molten mix of Swiss and American cheese. The bun originated at Fano bakery in Santa Fe and held up to the weight of the meat, and the juices. The red plastic basket also contained a single tomato slice, a leaf of romaine and a a bed of crunchy potato chips.
It was a relief that Bobcat Bite’s burger lived up to the staggering hype. Otherwise Pat Saperstein (Eating LA), Esther Tseng (e*starla), Fiona Chandra (Gourmet Pigs) and Matthew Kang (Mattatouille) probably would have forced me to walk back to town.
UPDATE: Now called Santa Fe Bite and located at 311 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501