Above: Sparky’s Restaurant. Photograph Courtesy of Sparky’s Restaurant.
Colonel Sanders relaxes with Uncle Sam below a rooftop family of giants wielding mugs of root beer next to some Chernobyl-size dancing chiles. Here in the red-and-green-growing capital of Hatch, Sparky’s Burgers, Barbeque & Espresso delivers legendary green chile cheeseburgers in a building that drips with statues, including Yogi Bear, a burger-balancing robot, a white rooster, and a pink pig. Teako Nunn, who owns the joint with his wife, Josie, ties his addiction to an A&W Root Beer “mama” he bought 15 years ago. “I don’t drive fancy trucks and cars, so my crazy money goes to these pieces of Americana.” His T. Rex is currently homeless, but “I know a guy who wants to buy Yogi, so maybe he’ll take Yogi, and I’ll put T. Rex there.” This month, he and Josie plan to open the old Hatch Mercantile next door as a museum, with antique autos, gas pumps, neon signs, jukeboxes, and all the kitsch that doesn’t fit. At 70, Nunn can’t slow down. “Sparky’s is too much fun,” he says. Besides, he just heard about a 20-foot-tall Hansel and Gretel.
From I-25, take exit 41 to NM 26 and follow it south into Hatch. Sparky’s, open Thursday through Sunday, sits on the main drag at 115 Franklin Street.