In the never-ending quest to discover New Mexico’s best green chile cheeseburger, we found a contender in the tiny town of Hillsboro. Here is the Hillsboro General Store — a true general store, with everything from candy bars and soda to Native American ponchos and blankets for sale. But the main reason hungry diners make the scenic 20 miles or so drive from I-25 is for green chile cheeseburgers.
There are several different burgers available on the sizeable menu, but the version that won our hearts is the El Gordo. This is a substantial half-pound patty topped with bacon, mushrooms and green chile, then covered with a melted, mild colby/jack cheese blend to hold everything in place. The meat is more beefy than juicy and the roasted green chiles come from nearby Hatch, New Mexico. While providing only medium heat, the chiles offer maximum flavor with a subtle smokiness.
Make sure to leave room for dessert. Thick milkshakes are made with real ice cream and served in tall silver beakers. The apple pie we saw on other tables was a beauty, but those in the know order bumbleberry pie. This mixed berry pie is typically whatever fruits happen to be in season; and on the day of our visit, it was made with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and rhubarb. The combination struck a proper balance of tart and sweet, all inside an elegant crust. Pie slices are served a la mode, paired with two generous scoops of vanilla ice cream.
The building itself is an attraction, dating back to 1879. In its long, storied history it has been used as a telegraph office, phone company, post office, and even a stage coach stop.