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Table Talk

Burger Trail: Sparky’s lives up to reputation

A family of skeletons looks down over the lunch room at Sparky’s in Hatch.
(Photo by Elva K. Österreich)

Often my confession was met with some sort of combination of slack-jaw disbelief or a sad, rueful, slow shake of the head.

“You’ve lived here how long?”

I was asked that often.

“You’ve never been to Sparky’s?”

Sure, I have been to Hatch a fair amount of times. Sure I’ve always heard how good Sparky’s was and I even drove past a time or two and noticed the restaurant’s, shall we say, eclectic décor. When work required me to take an excursion to Caballo Lake recently – dang that work – I told my beautiful wife, Terri, “We’re stoppin’ in Hatch and I’m going to have a green chile cheeseburger at Sparky’s” If for some reason you are not familiar with the eatery, Sparky’s welcomes customers at 115 Franklin St. in the Village of Hatch, a municipality of about 1,600 people 40 miles or so north of Las Cruces.

Just take I-25 north until you see an overpass with one green and one red chile affixed to it; exit there.

spark's 2
Brook Stockberger relishes his burger, prepared
the way he loves it at Sparky’s. (Courtesy photo)

When you arrive at Sparky’s, you are welcomed by life-sized statues of fast food icons Ronald McDonald and Col. Sanders. There are a variety of large figures on the roof too, including a rooster and space aliens.

My 5-year-old, Grant, found the whole scene stimulating. He ran around the front, looking at different elements and then started with the ques-tions.

“Why do they have the McDonald’s guy?” “Who is this guy?” “How did they get the chicken on the roof?” “Why is there a chicken on the roof?” “Have you ever been here before?” “Why not? Don’t you like it?” “Are we going to eat here?” Once Grant was finally corralled, we headed inside. This was before noon, and the place was just about half full.

The business’ website reports: “In the works for more than 20 years, Sparky’s was born from one couple’s combined dream. Josie Nunn’s love of design and handcrafted coffee, and her husband Teako’s desire to make exceptional wood-fired barbeque and made from scratch, green chile cheese-burgers.”

The burgers are “world famous” according to the words stretched across the front of the building. The website www.tripad-visor.com reports that Sparky’s has one of the best green chile cheeseburgers in Hatch and is the best restaurant in the village.

You order when walk in you and then you find a seat in the dining room or in the adjacent room, known as the Green Chile Room. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. In the Green Chile Room you might be treated to live music on a Friday or weekend afternoon.

But I found that room to be a little stuffy and hotter than the main dining room.

I like to eat in moderate-to-chilly environs. If the air conditioner is at full blast, I’m a happy man.

Still, when the green chile cheeseburger arrived, a minor complaint about temperature was lost in the enjoyment of the goodness.

I had ordered sliced sausage — in the kielbasa type — and was already floating through a nirvana of food delight. My first bite of burger elicited a smile and a moan.

“You like it,” Terri asked.

“An understatement,” I told her. So now, after nearly two decades in southern New Mexico, I’m a Sparky’s fan. Sure, you can get some wonderful green chile cheeseburgers here in Las Cruces. I have multiple favorites.

There is something fun, though, about taking a road trip, visiting another town and having good food, good music and a few pops — wink — to wash it all down.

Check out the eatery’s website, www.sparkys-burgers.com, for
menu options as well as the schedule of musical performers.


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