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The next time you’re in Santa Fe and craving a good burger, drop into Five Star Burgers on Guadalupe Street. The name says it all.
The location can be a bit tricky to find because it’s part of a strip mall. However, it’s across the street from the Santa Fe National Cemetery, in a parking lot right next to Albertson’s grocery store.
The restaurant is small and simple. Gold and purple hues grace the walls, which will suit Los Angeles Lakers fans just fine. There is a TV above the bar and the tables are small, but sufficiently spaced apart.
The menu is not very extensive, but it doesn’t need to be. The restaurant does a few things, but they do them well. They offer burgers, but also different kinds of sandwiches, along with salads.
On a recent visit, the appetizer of choice was fried pickles. These aren’t your thinly sliced pickle chips. These are spears — four to be exact. They are dipped in batter and fried and served with ranch and green chile ranch dipping sauce. At $3, they might seem a bit pricey, but they are well worth it. The batter is crispy and the pickles retain their flavor through the frying process.
Other items ordered during the visit included the Taos burger (barbecue sauce, green chile and cheddar) was ordered, along with the Five Star burger (gouda cheese atop bacon) and an Old Timer (plain, no frills, you have to ask for cheese).
Each burger was cooked to order. There is a word of caution, however. If you order your burger medium or medium-well, make sure you’re prepared for it to come to you that way. There is no over-cooking at Five Star Burgers. In fact, the Five Star burger was ordered well done and it came to the table juicy, yet cooked. You don’t find that sort of burger just anywhere. Usually, if you order a burger cooked well done, you get a hockey puck.
The bacon that accompanied the Taos and Five Star burgers was apple wood smoked and you could tell. You could actually taste the wood flavor in each bite. The chile on the Taos burger isn’t your run-of-the-mill chopped green chile, either. Instead, this is what appears to be a full-size chile, dipped in batter and fried, relleno style (minus the cheese filling) and placed on top of the burger. There’s only one bad thing about the concoction: the chile has no bite whatsoever. But, it does mix well with the flavor of the beef patty, the cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce. It’s a messy choice, but worth it.
Each bite of the Five Star burger packs a gouda-bacon punch. Add mustard, pickles and lettuce to it and you have one heckuva burger.
If you prefer simple, try the Old Timer with mustard and the accompanying lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and onion slices.
Sides such as French fries are available a la carte. Fries ($3) come to the table in a cute mini deep fryer basket and are not at all greasy. They are thin, crispy and the perfect accompaniment to the stellar burgers.
The restaurant was spotless and though the restaurant was not packed, there were multiple waiters on the floor, making the rounds and refilling glasses on a regular basis. The waiters were all neat and presentable; the host was courteous and polite.
The price might be a bit on the steep side, compared to some places, but a trip to Five Star Burgers is well worth it. An order of fried pickles ($3), two Pepsis ($2 each), a Taos burger ($9.25), an Old Timer burger ($8.25), the Five Star burger ($9.25) and two orders of French fries ($3 each) came to $39.75 before tax and tip.
The restaurant also offers happy hour from 4-6 p.m., with half draft and wine specials, as well as $1.25 slider specials and burger of the month offerings.