alibi online
Weekly Alibi PodcastFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.13 No.51 | December 16 - 22, 2004 

Chewing the Fat

A New Owl Café is born on I-25

Ski Martin and the original Owl Café's cousin, twice-removed

Ski Martin (left) and his partners in the new Owl Café

Two decades ago, Ski Martin purchased the franchise rights to the original owl Café in San Antonio, N.M. and opened another Owl on Eubank NE. Now, Martin has joined with Frank Marcello and his partners, who own Copeland's and ZEA franchises, to open another version of the famous burger restaurant in the Shops at I-25! We recently chatted with Martin about the long journey of the famous Owl burger.

How is this new Owl Café similar to yours?

They're doing the famous green chile cheese burger, the malt, the french fries, the chicken sandwiches. Basically, they do a very abbreviated version of our menu. They're taking the best of what we do.

How is it possible to transport your burger to a new restaurant?

All the cooks were trained here. They were all here training in my kitchen, under my supervision. I had them here for about two weeks, doing nothing but burgers. Then, last week I was down there working with them everyday.

What makes your green chile cheeseburger so special?

Ours is the best in Albuquerque. We grind our own meat and make our own patties by hand. We cook our own chile and add our secret ingredients.

Mmm hmm. And the cheese? Is it the traditional slice of American cheese?


Very good for meltability.

Right. We shared everything from processing the meat to how it's cooked, on a flat top griddle. Our burgers are not thick and not big. Our claim to fame is not the biggest burger, it's the best.

So, when Marcello came to you, were you like, "No way! You can't take my burger somewhere else!"

No, not at all. My first reaction was a positive one. I mean, as long as we're training the cooks, then I feel comfortable. And this is a real partnership. They're comfortable with me coming down there and checking in on them. If we feel like it's necessary, then we'll retrain the cooks.

So, what is your connection to the Owl Café in San Antonio?

We bought the name and the rights from them, 19 years ago. We have the right to do what we want with the name. But they still have their place and we are under contract with them to cook the burger a certain way. I trained with them.

The way the new place's cooks trained with you?

Yeah, exactly. So we can't open up a restaurant in Socorro County, but other than that we have the rights to open up anywhere.

Why hadn't you done it until now?

We wanted it to be perfect. They [Marcello and his partners] have a good reputation and they're good guys. We felt comfortable with trying one and seeing how it goes.

And if it goes well, what then? Worldwide domination?

Maybe! [Laughs.] But maybe it'll be 19 years before we do another one. Who knows.

The new Owl Café is located next to Krispy Kreme, on the west side of I-25, just north of the Jefferson exit. It is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day. Call 344-9964 for more information.

Tomorrow's Events

Albuquerque Wine Festival at Balloon Fiesta Park

Public Domain

Sample wines, live music, food trucks, jewelry and crafts.

Meet the Farmer: Bumper Crops at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm

Los Ranchos Growers' Market at Los Ranchos Village Hall

More Recommended Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Kombat Kitty@SierraBlanca
    Kombat Kitty@SierraBlanca5.27.2016