Bobcat Bite, a old Route 66 restaurant on the edge of Santa Fe, N.M., famous for its green chile cheeseburgers, is moving its operations to a downtown location by late July and will be renamed Santa Fe Bite, according the Albuquerque Journal.
The newspaper said John and Bonnie Eckre’s restaurant will be inside Garrett’s Desert Inn at Old Santa Fe Trail (aka Route 66) and West Alameda in Santa Fe.
The Eckres’ departure after 12 years of running the Bobcat Bite results from a dispute with Mark Panzer, owner of the rustic Bobcat building on Old Las Vegas Highway that originally was a trading post. Panzer’s mother, Mitzi Panzer, first opened the restaurant in 1953 and it has passed through other operators over the years.
Panzer said last month that, with his mother in ill health, he had no immediate plans to find new operators for the Bobcat.
The little mom and pop eatery regularly gets attention when foodie magazines and TV shows attempt to determine the country’s best burger.
The Eckres said they plan to keep much of the old menu and add a few items as well.
Customers crowded the Bobcat Bite during its last days of business, reported the Santa Fe New Mexican.
When the doors opened at 11 a.m. every one of the eatery’s 29 seats were filled. Those who came in the next wave were told to expect a wait of an hour or more. By noon, the parking lot was overflowing with cars, and burger lovers loitered outside waiting patiently — one even brought a book — for one last chance to eat one of The Bobcat Bite’s famous green-chile-cheeseburgers at that location. […]
The Eckre’s say all but one of their employees (about 4 people besides themselves and their son) will come with them to the new restaurant. The only one who won’t — their long-time friend Gail Lampert who came in to fill a shift 12 years ago and never left — is retiring.
The original grill that was installed by the Panzer’s will stay in the building. But a second grill built by John Eckre in 2001 will be moved to the new location which the Eckre’s say they hope to have opened by mid-to-late July.