“The Trail appeals to people’s sense of fun but has a serious intent, too,” said Martín Leger, Advertising Manager for the Department. “Today’s travelers frequently cite culinary attractions as a major reason to visit a destination. The Trail showcases the state’s beloved green chile cheeseburgers, in addition to the state’s unique food heritage, and encourages visitors to enjoy this iconic burger and other dishes.”
On-line nominations on the Department’s website (www.newmexico.org/greenchilecheeseburger) will run February 1-March 1, 2011, followed by the voting for New Mexico’s most beloved burgers March 7-25, 2011. The new Trail and interactive map will be posted on the website later this spring.
Nominations are open to New Mexico-based restaurants with a business license, that are in good standing with the NM Health Department; and that have a bricks-and-mortar location. Indoor seating is not required. New Mexico-based chains are eligible for consideration. Green chile cheeseburgers must be a regular part of the restaurant’s menu. A burger must include at least one patty of ground beef, bison, or veggie mixture, green chile, cheese, and a bun or other bread. Full guidelines can be found at www.newmexico.org/greenchilecheeseburger, the site for nominations and voting, as well.
Some four dozen restaurants with nearly 100 locations were included on the initial version of the Trail, launched in 2009. All are welcome to apply again, as are other burger establishments statewide. Voting will be overseen by a panel of non-restaurant culinary experts, who may include additional establishments, to make sure all areas of the state have representation on the Trail.
The green chile cheeseburger has been a staple on menus here since the middle of the last century. Burgers gained in popularity during the glory years of American road travel, when the asphalt ribbon Route 66 first bisected New Mexico from west to east. Many lay claim to the idea of adding the state’s chile to the classic cheeseburger. What’s known for sure is that the burger’s early esteem was fired up by decades-old hotspots like The Owl Café and Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, Bobcat Bite and Bert’s Burger Bowl in Santa Fe, Day’s in Las Cruces, and Blake’s Lotaburger’s original Albuquerque location.