Buckhorn Tavern

Review by: Michael Stern

The Buckhorn can be maddeningly crowded, but if you are on a mission to eat New Mexico’s top-ranked green chile cheeseburgers, it’s a must. The meat itself is a wide, rugged patty about 1/2-inch thick, cooked medium so it is moist but not dripping juice, redolent of beefy flavor. While several burger variations are available, including a barbecue burger, a taco burger (on corn tortillas instead of a bun), and an Atkins plate (hold the bun), it is the big, juicy, fully dressed green chile cheeseburger, here titled the Buckhorn Burger, that has put this ramshackle tavern on the map.

Buckhorn’s Frito pie is a very good one, another example of multiple-ingredient poise. When you order it, you must choose between green chile, red chile or the combination of both, known as Christmas.

Considering how popular this place has become thanks to copious coverage on the TV food shows, it is a good idea to show up very early in the lunch hour. Several years ago when the Roadfood.com tour came through town, we made a point of arriving at 10:40am. When the door opened at 11, we were seated right away. By the time we left, just before noon, a crowd of eager eaters was outside waiting to get in.

Directions & Hours

11am - 8pm
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

What To Eat

Buckhorn Burger

DISH
Frito Pie

DISH
Chile Cheese Fries

DISH

Buckhorn Tavern Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Buckhorn Tavern?

4 Responses to “Buckhorn Tavern”

Richard Rowe

March 30th, 2012

Having driven in from Tucson that morning, I was tired, hungry, and a little bit cranky, so my expectations weren’t all that high. I was on my way to the Fiery Foods and BBQ show in Albuquerque, so it was sort of on my way, especially since I’d stopped in Hatch to pick-up a new ristra of hot New Mexican Reds for our kitchen back home in Illinois.

Holy Mother!!! I want to move the Buckhorn to Illinois.

My Green Chile Cheeseburger was other-worldly. It was so good, that even though I NEVER eat two burgers at one sitting and even though I also had the “Christmas fries” (tasty, but could have been cooked a bit longer), I was compelled to down a second burger. The flavor was outstanding and my burger was cooked to perfection.

I’ve a feeling that I’ll find my way back here in the not-too-distant-future. Next time, though, I’ll have an early lunch here, take a nap and then head on over to the Owl, just so I can do a fair comparison.

Reply

Carol Bayer

April 22nd, 2011

“This is what a burger should taste like!” says my husband, who generally disdains burgers in general, as he scraped up the last bits of his meal. Arriving mid-afternoon meant that we were able to sit down immediately, and we enjoyed fast service.

The burgers appear to be made from freshly ground meat, without any trace of excess fat. They hang over the sides of the bun and have just the right amount of everything on them. They come sliced in half for easier handling and are way more than enough food for the ridiculously low price.

Our only complaint: the noise level. Judge Judy playing loudly in the bar and the music from speakers all over the restaurant make for an unpleasantly loud and distracting environment.

Reply

Donald Skipwith

August 23rd, 2010

I pass through San Antonio regularly on my drive from my home in Albuquerque to my house in the Sacramento Mountains. I used to alternate between The Buckhorn and The Owl for my green chile cheeseburger fix. Both places have good representations of New Mexico’s signature burger, each different from the other.

However, when it comes to service, the Owl is MUCH FASTER and more attentive and therefore I only stop at the Owl now. The Buckhorn’s service should be described as, at best, consistently indifferent. By the time you’ve waited to be seated and placed your order at the Buckhorn, you will already have been served your food at the Owl, where you seat yourself, and you’ll be diving into a delectable representation of the green chile cheeseburger. By the time you are served your burger at The Buckhorn, you’d already be back on the road if you had stopped at the Owl. If you think that a dysfunctional dining experience is part of the local color, then by all means go to The Buckhorn. If you want to skip the BS, then go to the Owl.

Reply

Cliff Strutz

October 3rd, 2009

The 700 or so citizens of San Antonio, New Mexico just might be the luckiest people in the entire Southwest. They have not one, but two, excellent sources for green chile cheeseburgers in town. The Owl Bar is already famous for their green chile cheeseburgers and they are undeniably delicious. But the Buckhorn Tavern, across the street and a quarter mile closer to I-25, doesn’t need to take a backseat to its more celebrated neighbor.

The Buckhorn Burger (what they call their green chile cheeseburger) is above average in size and delivered from the kitchen cut in half for easier handling. To us, the chile used here is milder in heat from the version at Owl Bar, but has a stronger, sharper chile flavor. The meat is lean, but still has the necessary big, beefy taste. A small amount of American cheese and onions mix well with the chile on top of the burger, while layers of tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and mustard separate the meat from the bottom bun. Messy, yes, and it all combines into a memorable burger.

The rest of the menu is filled with the usual bar food or Mexican choices and they even offer homemade pie. Unfortunately, the burger filled us up and those will have to wait until our next visit.

Bob Olguin runs the Buckhorn Tavern, built in 1943 by his father Manny. Bob is a big, friendly bear of a man, who happily spent a half hour discussing green chile cheeseburgers with a couple of strangers. Eating here was an all-around great Roadfood experience!

Reply

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