El Patrón Café wins Best Green Chile in New Mexico

Cocina Azul, El Farolito, Owl Bar and Cafe and Cowgirl BBQ in top five

Cultivated chile peppers were introduced to New Mexico (and what is now the United States) as early as the 16th century. Today, chile is a part of the state's identity and is a staple of both the cuisine and the economy. Dine in New Mexico, and you're bound to be asked the age old question, "red or green?" While there isn't a wrong answer (and "Christmas" is an option as well), it's the green version of the pepper that's most closely tied to New Mexican cuisine, whether chopped and piled on top of a cheeseburger or stewed into a sauce to top enchiladas or breakfast burritos.

  • The Shed
    Santa Fe

    Situated just east of Santa Fe Plaza, The Shed specializes in Northern New Mexican fare, including fine green chile that comes in the form of stew with potato and pork or a sauce for smothering enchiladas, burritos or huevos rancheros.
    Photo courtesy of Jeremy Noble / Flickr

  • Chope's Bar & Cafe
    La Mesa

    Family owned and operated since 1915, Chope's Bar has long been a favorite in La Mesa for its fiery fare. Green chile takes many forms, including atop rolled enchiladas, stuffed sopapilla or crispy fried chile rellenos. 
    Photo courtesy of uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs / Flickr

  • Sparky's Burgers & BBQ
    Hatch

    What better place to get Hatch green chile than in the town of Hatch, where the best New Mexico chiles are grown? Famous for its BBQ and decidedly funky exterior, Sparky's World Famous Green Chile Cheeseburger is made from scratch with local green chile, cheese and meat. Green chile here knows no bounds – diners find it in sweet corn, cheese fries, lemonade and even in a green chile chocolate shake.
    Photo courtesy of Sparky's Burgers & BBQ

  • Chaco Grill
    Cuba

    Blink and you'll miss Chaco Grill, located within a gas station in the equally small town of Cuba. But a stop here is well worth it for the excellent New Mexican fare. Grab a handheld burrito with green chile inside for the road, or enjoy it smothered over huevos rancheros, enchiladas, french fries or a fry bread taco. It's equally good in a bowl with beans and warm tortillas for scooping.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / JannHuizenga

  • Sadie's of New Mexico
    Albuquerque

    Sadie's has been satiating New Mexico's chile cravings for more than five decades. Famous for their seriously spicy red and green chile, Sadie's menu offers green chile on just about everything, including their excellent green chile cheeseburger. A local favorite is the Roberto's Special – a hamburger steak atop a bed of beans and papitas, smothered in chile con queso and green chile.
    Photo courtesy of Sadie's of New Mexico

  • Cowgirl BBQ
    Santa Fe

    Barbecue gets a Southwestern twist at Cowgirl BBQ in Santa Fe. Green chile enjoys its due prominence on the menu in many forms: smothered over chile cheese fries, baked inside creamy mac and cheese, truffled on a cheeseburger or ladled over more classic New Mexican dishes, like chile rellenos and huevos rancheros.
    Photo courtesy of Cowgirl BBQ

  • Owl Bar and Cafe
    San Antonio

    The famous green chile from Owl Bar and Cafe in the town of San Antonio is made fresh each day using locally grown green chiles. The sauce is simmered all day to meld the flavors. While the chile is delicious in all its forms, Owl Bar is best known for its excellent green chile cheeseburger, made from a fresh, hand-formed beef patty, grilled and topped with green chile, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mayo. A classic!
    Photo courtesy of Owl Bar & Cafe

  • El Farolito
    El Rito

    El Farolito, a charming hole-in-the-wall in an adobe building in tiny El Rito, easily has more fans than the town has residents. The menu of authentic New Mexican fare is highlighted by a very traditional green chile cheeseburger, served on a real hamburger bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and mustard. Green chile also comes on the usual suspects – burritos, enchiladas, tamales and stuffed sopapillas.
    Photo courtesy of El Farolito

  • Cocina Azul
    Albuquerque

    The green chile that smothers the authentic New Mexican food at Cocina Azul in Albuquerque is a little different than the usual. Following a family recipe, the Hatch chile pods are soaked in spices before getting blended and strained into a smooth and creamy sauce.
    Photo courtesy of Cocina Azul / Facebook

  • El Patrón Café
    Las Cruces

    The Hatch green chile coming out of the kitchen at El Patron Cafe in Las Cruces is certainly spicy, but not overpowering. The brisket nachos are a house specialty, smothered in green. Diners also find green chile in the house made posole, atop chicken enchiladas and even for dessert in the form of a green chile pineapple upside-down cake.
    Photo courtesy of El Patrón Café and Catering

The top 10 winners in the category Best Green Chile in New Mexico are as follows:

  1. El Patrón Café - Las Cruces
  2. Cocina Azul - Albuquerque
  3. El Farolito - El Rito
  4. Owl Bar and Cafe - San Antonio
  5. Cowgirl BBQSanta Fe
  6. Sadie's of New MexicoAlbuquerque
  7. Chaco Grill - Cuba
  8. Sparky's Burgers & BBQ - Hatch
  9. Chope's Bar & Cafe - La Mesa
  10. The Shed - Santa Fe

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Steve Larese, Nicholas Peña (Food Tour New Mexico) and Lydia Schrandt were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the state's food scene.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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Steve Larese

Steve Larese

Nicholas Peña

Nicholas Peña

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt