Hatch, New Mexico is considered the Chile Capital of the World. Every year about 30,000 or so chileheads attend the Hatch Chile Festival to celebrate red and green chiles, every New Mexican’s favorite veggies.
I’ve heard of green chile cheeseburgers, but had no idea how prominent they were in the state of New Mexico. You can find them at Sonic, Lotaburger, even McDonald’s has a version.
One of the most famed green chile cheeseburgers can be found at Sparky’s Burgers and BBQ in Hatch, New Mexico. This whimsical burger joint stands out like a wonderland in this rustic, windswept town where drivers have to swerve so giant tumbleweeds don’t crush their cars.
In front of the joint, you’ll find Sparky himself, an amazing handcrafted robot sculpture that consists of welded rusty gears, sprockets and doo-dads.
On Hatch’s main thoroughfare, you’ll see giant pig on a trailer down the road that advertises Sparky’s location. This has been the subject of recent legal battles due to issues related to the Beautification Act, initiated by Ladybird Johnson in 1965. State officials have attempted to force Sparky’s to remove the massive structure, and the town has initiated a “Save the Pig” campaign” in hopes that the state will accept an exemption to this statute.
James Wreck, weary-eyed from last night’s escapades at Chope’s, met with Teako Nunn, the owner of Sparky’s to see what these burgers were all about. Teako was glad to show us around, feed us some burgers, and tell us how it’s done in Hatch.