The first billboard for the McDonald’s in Lordsburg, NM is at least sixty miles to the west, somewhere in the trackless deserts of Southern Arizona. I had had only a light breakfast (a chunk of beef jerky washed down with Mountain Dew) and I was starting to have feeding urges. Another hour’s drive sounded about right.
As I approached, I considered pushing on a little farther to Deming, sixty more miles to the east. A timely gastric rumbling decided me, and I signaled to leave the freeway. McDonalds was right there – easy off, easy on.
But, what a minute… McDonalds? What the heck was I thinking? This is New Mexico. I spotted a little food shack just behind the McD’s. Much better choice. Well, it would have been except that it was out of business. Bummer. Then I noticed that in the competition between chains and local joints was far from over; the Dairy Queen had been stripped of its distinctive signage and instead just read, “Don Juan’s Now Open.” I decided to drop in on Juan.
Don Juan’s is a little place, quite obviously a converted fast food joint. There were about ten different kinds of burritos, all three dollars, all with green chile. There were tacos and stuff as well, but I scored a pair of chile reilleno burritos and a coke. Juan and I chatted about the rainstorms of last night, what a nice day it had turned out to be after all, and then my food was ready. I sat and opened my book, which I think disappointed Don Juan, but I was too busy eating some fine home cookin’ anyway. Soon after a pair of border patrol trucks pulled up, then the state police were represented, then a guy from a construction company showed up with a huge order.
My one regret: not getting an extra side order of the green. The chile he used was good, but if some is good, then more is better.
Had I seen the cops and border patrol cars there when I pulled up, I would have know already that Don Jose was the place to go. Those guys know. As it was I was lucky, had some tasty food that doesn’t happen at chain restaurants, along with friendly service. He does not offer Green Chile Cheeseburgers, however. “I used to cook burgers at the old place,” Don Juan told a Navajo couple who were in for the first time. “I’m tired of them.” Yes indeed, the American Dream right there kids, from flipping burgers to having his own place. Please join me in wishing him all the best.
If you’re down Lordsburg way, do yourself a favor and pay Juan a visit.