The 66 Diner looks like a Mother Road classic, and in some ways it is. You can come here and eat a hamburger or a sloppy Joe with French fries and an expertly made milk shake. Or have a pounded-tender chicken-fried steak smothered in cream gravy with mashed potatoes on the side – both examples of immemorial roadside fare. There is a different blue-plate special every day, including chicken pot pie on Tuesday and hot turkey sandwiches on Saturday. The meat loaf is dandy, the liver ‘n’ onions is a truck-stop delight. The black and white tile floor has a built-in hopscotch game, and bright red ceiling lamps hang over aqua-blue counter stools. The staff of uniformed waitresses breezes through the dining area to the beat of rock-and-roll hits from the Elvis era blasting on the juke box.
Beyond its hash-house qualifications, the 66 Diner also is a good place to taste food unique to New Mexico. First and foremost is the green chile cheeseburger, in which chopped-up spicy green chilies supplement the usual package of meat and melted cheese. You also can have enchiladas made with chile, and good ol’ green chile stew, served with wheat tortillas on the side. On Saturday and Sunday (the only days of the week breakfast is served), the menu features huevos rancheros, egg burritos, and cheese omelets supercharged with green chile.
We definitely recommend getting something from the soda fountain. If the “rich thick shake” so accurately described by the menu is too much and your appetite is waning, the kitchen also offers an item billed as the “teeny-weeny hot fudge sundae.”