Cortez’s Burger Boy Drive In deserves your burger-lovin’ business

by Angelica Leicht

The little burger joint in Cortez had great reviews across the board on Yelp, but I still couldn’t muster up much hope for my food as we pulled into the parking spot that would serve as our “table” at Burger Boy Drive In. This spot, right off the main drag in Cortez, had been packed every time I’d driven by it, and to be fair, it seemed like all of the Internet raved about Burger Boy’s burger prowess. Still, it seemed wise to take their collective opinions with a grain of salt. A good burger, while perhaps simple in appearance, is hard to find, and I am particular and judgmental, especially about my fast food burgers.

Part of the issue is that I grew up in Texas, the land of Whataburger, a Lone Star fast food treasure that has over the years seeped into other parts of the country, including Albuquerque. Because Whataburger was the go-to in my state, I grew up believing a good fast food burger should have a thin patty, lots of mustard and fresh onion, iceberg lettuce, pickles, cheese, and a buttery grilled bun. And, if possible, I should be offered spicy ketchup in a tiny plastic tub for my fries.

I knew I wasn’t going to get spicy ketchup at a place like Burger Boy, because as much as I tried, I could not wish it into becoming a Whataburger. And, all other attempts to find a copycat in this area – Blake’s Lotaburger included – haven’t even come close to touching my beloved burger abode. So, while the Internet may think Burger Boy was the burger bomb, I was not so sure.

Maybe I should start trusting ye old Internet, though, cause to be frank, this place was pretty delicious. I should have been less tepid.

But, to be fair to, well, me…the entire setup of Burger Boy is unlike anything I’m used to. There isn’t a drive-thru speaker or a window at this place. It’s an old school drive-in, and when you pull up, you’re greeted by a huge marquis menu boasting malts, burgers, and burritos, and a waitress – not a touch screen or speaker – takes your order on a paper pad. You can choose to “dine in” with your food, or you can get it to go in a bag. We opted for the latter.

I’d read good things about the jalapeño burger, so I went for that with a side of fries, while my friend ordered the green chili burger – as one does in the Southwest – and a malt.

Our food arrived quickly, and it was clear it had come straight from the kitchen once we lifted it out of the bag. That stuff was lava-level hot. We quickly shoveled a few fries into our mouths, and while they weren’t served up with spicy ketchup, the folks at Burger Boy did throw in a few packets of fancy ketchup as a solid. The fries really didn’t need them, though – they were just salty and crispy enough to stand on their own. And, as a bonus, they were crinkle fries, my freaking fav.

Our burgers were equally as solid. I was stoked – STOKED – to find that the patty on my burger was thin and crispy, and my bun was clearly tossed onto the grill before being sent my way. The only issue was that I’d been promised by the Internet hordes that this burger had fresh jalapeños on it, and these were definitely pickled. That’s not Burger Boy’s fault, though. That’s the fault of the Internet for lying to me.

My friend was equally as pleased with her burger and malt. She wolfed both down with the quickness, only pausing to tell me how spicy the green chili was between gulps. It looked good based on the split second I had to catch a glance of it, but I cannot attest to the taste, as she ate it before I could even ask to share.

You won’t find anything fancy at Burger Boy, and it isn’t quite Whataburger, but it’s certainly become a top-notch drive-thru contender in my book. The burgers were fresh, well-made, and so tasty, and it’s pretty cool to order with a server while just chillin’ in your car. It’s a spot that’s definitely worth a stop in, or even a drive to, Cortez. We dug it.

Angelica Leicht


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