Golden Light Cafe

Diner | Hamburgers | Southwestern | Tex-Mex
Worth a detour

Opened in 1946 as a hamburger stand on old Route 66, The Golden Light Café is struck by brilliant Western rays in afternoons when the sun is low in the south. The old brick front fairly glows and the otherwise dusty interior – where décor is neon beer signs and vintage license plates – is touched with highlights wherever light beams through glass in the door and windows. The high counter chairs towards the front tend to be occupied by locals, the miscellaneous tables and booths crowded with long-neck beers and burger platters. Ambience alone is an inspiring remnant of life along “America’s Main Street” before it became Interstate 40.

The hamburger is a nice one, albeit cooked cowboy-style (well done!), served with mustard, lettuce, tomato slices, onions, and pickle chips, nicely complemented by layers of cheese and chili on top. Available extras for the burger include roasted green chilies, jalapeno peppers, and fried onions. We also like the Frito Pie (aka “Flagstaff Pie”) – a large oval plate of Fritos chips topped with the stout house red chili, cheese, and onions.

The most memorable dish in this old café is French fries: thin-cut and superbly crisp, they have a starchy savor that calls only for a sprinkle of salt to attain perfection. If you want to walk on the wild side, apply some of the pepper-hot sauce that the Golden Light makes especially for its tables. Containing jalapeno, garlic, and corn, it is a ketchup-alternative condiment that is virtual dynamite.

A notable house motto, on menu: We cook good food, NOT FAST FOOD, so please be patient. At the peak of lunch hour, it may take a while for the harried waitresses to get your burgers out, but they always manage to keep the frosty mugs of Shiner Bock coming.

What to Eat
Golden Light Cafe, Frito Pie
Frito Pie
A Southwestern favorite: Frito pie
Golden Light Cafe, French Fries
French Fries
Whatever else you eat, be sure to have some excellent French fries.
Golden Light Cafe, Cheeseburger
Single cheeseburger, well-dressed, on a nicely toasted bun
Directions and Hours
closed now
Monday11am - 10pm
Tuesday11am - 10pm
Wednesday11am - 10pm
Thursday11am - 10pm
Friday11am - 10pm
Saturday11am - 10pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
7 stops | 439 MILES | 7 hr 19 min

Fritos were created in San Antonio in 1932, but it took some thirty years before the Frito pie was born. Teresa Hernandez, working behind the Woolworth's lunch counter in Santa Fe, had the idea to slice off the top of a single-serving bag of Fritos and ladle in chili, then cheese, onions, lettuce, and tomato.…

10 stops | 360 MILES | 5 hr 52 min

The drive along old Route 66 from the Texas Panhandle to the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico is a pageant of natural splendor and unabashed roadside kitsch: garish trading posts juxtaposed with stunning rock mesas, come-hither billboards rising up in turquoise skies, long-abandoned house trailers scattered in measureless fields, and…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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