Iconic NM Restaurants: Buckhorn Tavern

Created: 04/11/2014 6:31 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

San Antonio has been known for decades as having some of the best burgers in New Mexico, but it was a single magazine article that put this restaurant in the national spotlight.

"In 2005, GQ came into the picture and they did 20 top burgers in America to eat before you die. We were number 7 in America."

Those signs still hang proudly on the walls of the Buckhorn Tavern and the namesake for the restaurant can still be seen inside.

"My dad was a big hunter and when you came in here we used to have all sorts of deer heads and stuff like that. I think he opened up the business and said, hey, let's call it the Buckhorn."

Meet Bobby Olguin. He's been manning the tavern for twenty years, but it's been the family since 1918. Olguin's father, Manny, took over in the mid 40s and added live bands.

"He cooked a mean burger but he loved music. This old place used to have a gas station. We still have music and we had music then. People like to come and drink and have a burger and get some gas and mosey on down the road," Olguin said.

Now Bobby is the one that cooks the meanest burgers with only the freshest ingredients, but it's his secret ingredient that has pushed the Buckhorn to the top: Love.

"I've found out through my time of experience that anytime you're cooking and you love it, the product shows it. It just gives it this immaculate flavor that you just can't find anyplace else," he stated.

That and beating a celebrity chef on the Food Network back in '09 may have helped too.

The many first responders that come to visit the Buckhorn always remind Bobby of that.

"I love the ones that come from New York because they know Bobby Flay. They go back and give Bobby Flay a hard time. They say 'hey, we just ate at that restaurant and we know why he beat you'," Olguin jokingly said.

Even with the recognition across the country and even worldwide, Olguin is humbled and proud of what his burger means to the Land of Enchantment

"During the times when I had the fame with Bobby Flay, and being Grand Marshal, I was able to be part of bringing revenue to New Mexico just through the chile world,and the chile world in New Mexico, that's the ultimate to me. To be part of that..that's incredible," Olguin said.

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