Alibi V.28 No.25 • June 20-26, 2019 

Restaurant Review

Elote’s for Sho’tes

Burque’s Burgers and Dawgs brings color to International District

elote
Treat yourself. You’ve earned it.
Eric Williams Photography

If there’s one thing about summertime that remains a constant year to year, it’s the desire for outdoor eating. Nothing quite fits that theme as well as hamburgers and hot dogs. These staples of the summer menu are as time-tested and important as dining traditions as any other timeless American classic. There’s something about the simplicity of these meals that creates a sense of comfort, allowing one to reminisce about the good ol’ days when life was simpler, and our actions weren’t dictated by the obligations we’d made or the bills we had to pay.

Burque’s Burgers and Dawgs aims to capture that feeling with the meals they make, focusing on these two summer staples with a select handful of other items. Many have seen the location slowly coming together over the past year, waiting to see this bright yellow building come to fruition, right on the corner of Gibson and San Mateo. Located behind the iconic Chevy on a Stick, it stands out brightly in the neighborhood as somewhere worth looking.

The interior is super-sleek and modern, with everything looking brand-new and ultra-clean. Featuring a large back patio and a self-serve drink station, you immediately feel a sense of relaxation and ease within those walls. It’s a color scheme that stands out and cements itself in your mind because it’s so vibrant and unique.

The nice thing here was the simplicity of the menu. You have hot dogs, you have hamburgers and you have elote. So, with that in mind, I ordered one of each. A standard Hatch green chile cheeseburger, a deep-fried bacon-wrapped chile cheese dog and the spicy elote corn.

The burger was okay. My biggest issue with it was that it didn’t stand out on its own. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t leave me saying “wow” or itching for round two. The meat was cooked through and seasoned, the green chile was definitely Hatch and fresh, but that’s about it. This isn’t a mark against the restaurant per se, but it is something I feel is worth mentioning, as it’s half the concept of the business. I assumed if it was the main draw, it would have been something worth mentioning, but all in all, it’s a fairly straightforward hamburger.

Next came the hot dog. This was a super-long dog drenched in chile and cheese (I went with their red chile blend for this one, but you are offered the choice) and wrapped in bacon. Add deep frying to the mix, and there’s literally no way this can be bad. There was a huge upfront flavor to it, and the hot dog was high quality in the meat department. It was an enormous pile-on of ingredients that was intimidating to approach, but once you dug in, it was hard to stop. The chile in particular was excellent and really elevated the rest of the hot dog, with just the right amount of heat to make your eyes open a little wider.

Finally, the elote. Growing up in New Mexico, you become accustomed to good elote as a treat for a celebration or a job well done. There’s competition all over the place for the best elote, so there was definitely a challenge to surpass here. Thankfully, they found the right combination of over-the-top to mix with tradition without losing the spirit of what makes elote so good. The corn here has a secret ingredient, something that has been on the scene for a while but hasn’t made it into most people’s mouths yet: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The vibrant color of red on yellow is an immediate match for the restaurant itself, and it kicks your tongue in the cojones to get it rolling and ready. Topped with cilantro and cotija cheese and served with lime, it’s exactly what you want from an elote without being one of those over-engineered creations you tend to see in random internet videos. It’s done simply with the right ingredients to make it worth sitting down and enjoying properly.

It’s standard fare on the drinks side with sodas and water plus an offering of iced tea (regular and sweet) to round out the accompaniment. I will also say I ordered a side of cheese fries, though much like the hamburger, they weren’t bad, but they weren’t really unique either.

Burque’s Burgers and Dawgs has a chance at some strong success. They are a bright dot on Gibson that is hard to miss and has a good foundation of food to grow from. Many people forget that Albuquerque is a foodie town, and that the love of good food can make or break a business. Maybe it’s the growing pains of a new business finding its footing and gearing up for full-scale service, so I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the hamburgers, that they will reach a level that makes them worthy of going out for. But for sure, you don’t want to miss out on the elote and hot dogs, because these two items are carrying the weight of responsibility for this establishment right now. So often we find ourselves hunting for the next great creation of food and flavor, yet we ignore the comforts of familiar food created with love. In this regard, Burque’s Burgers and Dawgs has found their niche and will hopefully continue to grow within that for a long time.

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2025 Ridgecrest Dr SE
505-508-2630
http://burquesburgers.com

Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:30am-3:30pm
Vibe: Relaxed casual dining.
Alibi Recommends: The elote. Seriously. This’ll pop your eyes out.