Breakfast at The Frontier in Albuquerque is a heap of fun, especially if you haven’t been to bed the night before. Located on old Route 66 across from the University of New Mexico, this landmark eatery is closed for only a few wee hours of the morning. Wait in line until a green light flashes, indicating someone is ready to take your order. “Bingo!” the counter man calls as our turn comes; and 120 seconds later, the food is ready for us to carry to a table. The famous Frontier sweet roll is hot and gooey with a cinnamon sugar glaze; the breakfast burrito is a lovely tan flour tortilla wrapped around scrambled eggs, melted cheese, hash browns and hot green chilies.
Lunch and supper also are great examples of quick-eats, New Mexico-style. There is fine green chili stew by the bowlful, there are big broad enchiladas that can be had with beef or vegetarian-style with meatless green chili, cheese, and onions; there are chalupas and tacos and some excellent blue-plate hamburgers. We like the Frontier burger special, a big goopy sandwich made with hickory-flavored sauce, cheese, and 1000 Islands dressing, served with French fries on the side.
The Frontier is huge: a multi-room, block-long mess hall decorated with a collection of art that includes John Wayne portraits, antique rifles, steer horns, and romantic paintings of soaring eagles, bold stallions, and Pueblo pottery.
The Frontier is a classic that continues to please. The menu is displayed above the large counter where you place your order. Once you have decided on your selection from the extensive menu you step up to the next open spot (with the blinking green light) and tell the very polite man or woman what you want. Your drinks are served at the counter and you are given a number for the rest of your order. Select a place to sit in one of the rooms and wait for your order number to flash on the screen. We’ve never had to wait more than five minutes for our food to appear and it is always piping hot and delicious.
The french fries here are some of the best I have ever had. They are crisp, crunchy and fluffy all at once. I’ve even been known to order them at breakfast just because they are so good. The breakfast burrito is one of the best in town (and that is saying something). If Albuquerque has a single representative food, the breakfast burrito is it. It is smothered in red or green chile (and if you can’t make up your mind, you can always order it “Christmas” – some of each). The contents within are a distinctly Southwestern blend of eggs, hash browns and cheddar cheese and green chile. If you wish, you can add bacon, or sausage, or carne adovada.
You can count on the Frontier at any time of day or night to satisfy your cravings for good Southwestern food.