Route 66: Texas and New Mexico Edition

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 crumbling sections of the old roadbed that lead nowhere but into the past. If such amazements stir one’s appetite, that’s a good thing. While much of this stretch of road offers nothing good to eat, Amarillo, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe are rich with Roadfood that is as diverse as the scenery, from goofy meals to great ones, and from humble food carts to sophisticated southwestern restaurants. Here are 11 Roadfood faves. (And yes, Santa Fe actually was on the original alignment of Route 66.)


Big Texan Steak Ranch

Eat a 72-ounce steak and all the fixin's in an hour and it's free. Nevermind the roadside hoopla; Big Texan normal-size steaks really are Texas-good.


Golden Light Cafe

A vintage 1946 hamburger cantina restaurant on old Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas, the Golden Light serves a fine Frito pie and is also a popular live music venue.


Model Pharmacy

A vintage lunch counter serving true New-Mex green chile stew, warm fruit cobblers, and soda fountain specialties, Model Pharmacy is a taste of old Route 66.

Must Eats


The Frontier is great New Mexico quick-eats: huevos rancheros, green chili stew, tacos, & burgers. Cinnamon rolls are legendary. Vegetarian options abound.


Garcia’s Kitchen

Garcia's is a fun, friendly place (7 locations in Albuquerque) that serves some of the best New Mexican food, especially breakfast, available any time.


Golden Crown Panadería

Green chile bread is worth a detour to this squat bakery near Old Town Albuquerque. New Mexico’s state cookie, biscochitos, are great, as are pizzas.


The Range

For downhome food in Bernalillo, New Mexico, the Range is best. Breakfast: huevos con queso; lunch: the Rio Grande Gorge chile-smothered burger on a tortilla.


Roque’s Carnitas

A Santa Fe, New Mexico, food truck, Roque's Carnitas wraps strips of char-cooked marinated beef with onions & chilies in broad wheat tortillas.

Must Eats


Pasqual's is Santa Fe's favorite corner eatery, serving bright, modern versions of New Mexico classics. Corned beef hash is some of the best in the West.



Brilliant southwestern flavors fuse with the cuisines of the world in the stylish Santacafe, one of the best Santa Fe restaurants.