At some point, most residents and visitors find themselves crossing New Mexico on one of our interstates. If you find yourself on this kind of long-distance drive, you’ll need to grab a bite to eat. However, road tripping doesn’t have to involve meals purchased at fast food restaurants or gas stations. With a little guidance, you can transform a pit stop into a delicious dining experience. Here are 12 amazing restaurants that are less than five miles off of I-10, I-40, and I-25.
1. El Jacalito Restaurant, 2215 Missouri Avenue, Las Cruces
El Jacalito Restaurant is just off I-25 but also close to I-10. This restaurant serves unique burgers that are a mashup of American and Mexican fare. If the prospect of the relleno cheeseburger doesn't intrigue you then the chorizo burger certainly should - the patty is half ground beef and half chorizo. Although burgers are technically portable, it's a good idea to grab a table rather than eating in the car because these ones are massive, juicy and gloriously messy. Service is usually swift so you can get back on the road promptly.
2. La Parrilla, 120 N Granite Street, Deming
La Parilla is a family-owned restaurant situated close to I-10. If you're passing by in the morning, pick up one of the house cinnamon rolls or a breakfast burrito. The gorditas are another yummy yet portable option. Pair them with fresh horchata - so much better than your standard road trip beverage.
3. Don Juan’s Cocina,
118 Manzanares Avenue E,
If you're driving along I-25, Don Juan's is a convenient spot to fill up on New Mexican cuisine. Service is typically speedy, so snag a table and chow down on sopaipillas stuffed with carne adovada, a bowl of posole, or chicken flautas.
4. Kiva Café, 1500 Willow Drive, Milan
Milan is a tiny town off I-40, next to Grants. This restaurant's location - in a travel plaza - may not be scenic but it sure is convenient. The food ranges from classic American to New Mexican. Sometimes the two are combined as is the case with the enchilada burger and also the sopaipilla burger. Pick up an order of fry bread for a road trip snack - just accept that your steering wheel will be dusted with powdered sugar!
5. Camille’s Sidewalk Café, 306 S 2nd Street, Gallup
Camille's Sidewalk Cafe is another excellent dining option for travelers along I-40. Think you can't load up on veggies while traveling? Think again. Camille's offers an array of healthy yet portable dining options such as wraps or smoothies like the peach breeze or tropical kale. Heartier dishes are available as well and meals are generally served promptly.
6. Pizza Barn, 13 Plaza Loop, Edgewood
Your passengers will thank you for stopping at the Pizza Barn where they can choose between 22 different beers to accompany their pizza or calzones. If you're driving solo, cruise through the drive thru and be back on I-40 quickly, with a hot slice in hand. Spice fans will love the barn burner pizza which features three different types of peppers.
7. La Cita Restaurant, 812 S 1st Street, Tucumcari
Big eaters will appreciate the generous portions of New Mexican food at this kitschy-looking Tucumcari restaurant. The Mexican hat alone is worth a detour! If that's not enough to convince you then the chile rellenos should win you over.
8. The Grove Café & Market, 600 Central Avenue SE Suite A, Albuquerque
The Grove is right next to I-25 and also fairly near I-40 in Albuquerque. The long lines might make you itchy to get back on the road, but orders come up pretty fast (with the possible exception of Sunday brunch). At this restaurant even simple things like oatmeal and pancakes burst with flavor. It must be all those organic, artisan ingredients. Although The Grove excels at breakfast, the roasted turkey sandwich on the lunch menu is memorable. Don't leave without grabbing some cupcakes for the rest of your drive.
9. Freight House,
200 S Camino Del Pueblo,
You're somewhere along I-25, far from home, and craving comfort food. You could munch on typical diner fare... or you could see what happens when a chef who regularly wins cooking contests adds his own personal touch to down home dishes. Have you ever sampled lobster tater tots with sriracha sauce while on a road trip? Thought not.
The sight of all that craft beer and cider may make you curse your status as driver, but there is also nitro-infused cold-brewed coffee that'll keep you peppy for the miles ahead.
10. Loyal Hound, 730 St Michaels Drive, Santa Fe
The Loyal Hound is a smidge further off I-25 than some of the other restaurants on this list. It's also hidden in a strip mall behind a Fedex store, but bear with us. This restaurant is deceptively awesome. Order either the fried olives with marcona almonds or the piping hot German pretzels as soon as you're seated and you'll be dipping your pretzel in cheesy sauce and wondering why you never paired this combo with apple before. Once you've taken the edge off your hunger, try the ever popular beer-battered fish and chips or the chicken and waffles.
11. El Fidel Restaurant,
510 Douglas Avenue,
You won't be bored with the creative menu at this popular Las Vegas restaurant off I-25. If you like your food seasonal and appreciate unexpected pairings, you'll love El Fidel.
12. Sweet Shop,
1201 S 2nd Street,
Before you zip into Colorado, make a pitstop at the Sweet Shop. Its unassuming appearance belies the quality of the food. The fusion burger, topped with bacon and green chile, is a standout on this menu.