New Mexican
One of the best

A passing police officer was suspicious when he spotted us loitering outside of Nellie’s one morning before the cafe’s 8am opening.

“We’re waiting to eat,” we responded to his inquiry about our intentions.

Good answer. He broke into a big grin and said, “Best chile in town!”

In Las Cruces, the heart of chile country, such an avowal is no casual observation.

Inside the cozy cinderblock and glass brick restaurant, a sign on the wall confirms the kitchen’s priorities: “A day without chile is like a day without sunshine.”

Danny Ray Hernandez, Nellie’s son, makes vivid salsas using five to seven different types of chile and specializes in such eye-opening breakfasts as huevos a la Mexicana (scrambled with jalapenos) and eggs with chile and meat. For the latter you can get red or green or a side-by-side duet of both, known as Christmas. The red tastes of pure pod; the green is hot enough to require tongue-tamping with the kitchen’s pulchritudinous sopaipillas. Mr. Hernandez speculated that dry growing conditions over recent years have produced chiles in which the heat is more concentrated.

Years ago, Nellie’s and its offspring, Little Nellie’s Chile factory, served dinner. Today it is strictly a breakfast-and-lunch eatery.

What to Eat
Nellie’s, Eggs with Chile and Meat
Eggs with Chile and Meat
Here's an eye-opening morning meal: sunnyside-up eggs hugged by dual servings of red chile (hot stuff) and green chile (very hot stuff). The red and green combo is known hereabouts as Christmas.
Nellie’s, Huevos Rancheros
Huevos Rancheros
Huevos Rancheros -- ranch-style eggs -- come with green chile, sided by refried beans and rice.
Nellie’s, Green Chile
Green Chile
A close view of Nellie's four-alarm green chile. It is a star at both breakfast and lunch.
Chips and Salsa
Nellie’s, Sopaipillas
New Mexico's favorite breadstuff: puffy sopaipillas, so hot from the fry kettle that they're a little hard to handle when you want to pick one up, tear it open and pour honey inside. Sopaipillas are great for mopping the last of the chile from a plate.
Nellie’s, Fajita Burrito
Fajita Burrito
The fajita burrito doesn't really look like a fajita or a burrito, but made a fine breakfast anyway.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Tuesday8am - 3pm
Wednesday8am - 3pm
Thursday8am - 3pm
Friday8am - 3pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 76 MILES | 1 hr 40 min

The Mesilla Valley in southern New Mexico is chile central, where the best are grown and where the hot pod is enjoyed at every meal. If you want to savor the state's official co-vegetable (with the pinto bean) at its finest, check out this all-chile itinerary. Have breakfast at Nellie's, where the motto is "A…

13 stops | 347 MILES | 5 hr 56 min

The Royal Road

One of the most delicious American Byways is El Camino Real ("The Royal Road") through New Mexico. In addition to spectacular natural beauty, travelers will encounter all kinds of opportunities to savor one of the nation's most distinctive regional cuisines, much of which is based around the state's two official co-vegetables: the…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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