Driving around New Mexico just got tastier. That’s because the state recently put its famous chile-laden breakfast burritos on the map by way of what it calls “the New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway.”
Spanning every corner of the state, the Byway guides visitors to New Mexico’s top 50 spots for breakfast burritos, determined by a popular statewide vote.
Conceived by the New Mexico Tourism Department, the recently launched promotion wraps up a heated competition for bragging rights among 400 restaurants that were either self-nominated or nominated by customers. During the public voting period (April 21 through May 18), enthusiasts were fierce in their support, collectively casting 46,766 votes to whittle the field to the final 50.
These top 50 vote-getters became founding members and earned a coveted spot on an interactive map that serves up a delicious dilemma: where to head first? (The top vote-getter was Katrinah’s East Mountain Grill in Edgewood, a city near Albuquerque on Route 66.)
The flavorful itinerary is a fitting celebration of a humble but satisfying dish thought to have originated in New Mexico in the early ’70s. Different tellings of the story trace it back to food stands at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and to Tia Sophia’s restaurant in Santa Fe.
“When you’re traveling in New Mexico, there’s no better wake-up call than one of our famous breakfast burritos," Tourism Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson said. “Our Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is so popular that we decided to create the Breakfast Burrito Byway as a deliciously different way to showcase our beloved chiles.”
To qualify for the competition, nominated restaurants were required to be based in New Mexico and have a business license, good standing with local and state health departments, a brick-and mortar-location and breakfast burritos featured on their regular menu containing at least egg, tortilla and, of course, authentic New Mexico chile.
After all, said Nick Maryol, owner of Tia Sophia’s, “A breakfast burrito without chile is like a sky without stars.”