Above: The very first Blake's Lotaburger in Albuquerque. Courtesy of Blake's Lotaburger.
It was 1952. World War II was seven years in the rearview mirror. And Blake Chanslor, a veteran, moved to Albuquerque from Borger, Texas, to open the first Lotaburger on the corner of Southern Avenue and San Mateo Boulevard. The spare menu included a Lotaburger, only 35 cents, the more petite Itsaburger, and a bag of chips. A vending machine around the corner sold soda, if you wanted to wash it all down. An astute observer of his customers, Chanslor realized that many brought their own green chile to smother accordingly. Inspired by those classic New Mexicans and chile connoisseurs, Chanslor added the green stuff to his fare. According to restaurant legend, he was the first establishment to market a green chile cheeseburger, now a staple of the state. Blake’s Lotaburger has since expanded to 74 locations in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. Their burgers and bags appeared regularly on the television series Breaking Bad. And their chile? You bet, it comes straight from Hatch.
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Blake’s has 74 locations, mostly in New Mexico, with outliers in Tucson, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas. Map it out at lotaburger.com.