And they better be hungry.
Gov. Susana Martinez and Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson on Monday unveiled the New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway, a new online map designed to pique visitor interest by plotting the 50 best burrito bets across the Land of Enchantment as determined by popular vote.
The map, found online at newmexico.org, represents a diverse cross-section of restaurants. There are ubiquitous names like Blake’s Lotaburger and Flying Star as well as small-town haunts like Shotgun Willie’s in Red River.
The New Mexico Tourism Department designed the byway as a sequel to the enormously popular Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, a 2009 initiative that Jacobson said continues to serve as valuable publicity tool. Nearly five years later, journalists still call about the trail, and Jacobson said following up with the Breakfast Burrito Byway can keep the spotlight trained on New Mexico and its food.
“We know people do make travel decisions based on cuisine, and this helps us answer one of the most popular questions we get, which is ‘Where should we stop to eat?’” Jacobson said during a news conference at Tim’s Place in Albuquerque, which made the list.
Martinez told the crowd that she and first gentleman Chuck Franco were likely to make good use of the map themselves.
“Chuck, as you know, is a good eater, and I have no doubt that when we get that up on my laptop in the car he will want to stop at every corner as we travel the state and enjoy every single stop,” she said.
The public helped the state create the byway by casting a total of 46,766 votes that whittled a list of 400 nominated restaurants to the final 50 “founding members.”
Katrinah’s East Mountain Grill in Edgewood finished as the top vote-getter.
Not surprisingly, central New Mexico has the highest concentration of map-making restaurants. Albuquerque has 18, including Dos Hermanos, Frontier, Garcia’s Kitchen, Little Anita’s, The Burrito Lady and Sadie’s.
The Range Café also made the list, and owner Matt DiGregory said having his restaurant highlighted on the tourism department map could be a boon for his business since travelers actively look for information about good restaurants when on trips.
“I think it’s a very cool thing,” he said.
Annette Esquibel, owner of Annette’s Café in Roy, said she hopes her restaurant’s new byway designation means “more people coming through” the rural northeast New Mexico outpost.
“It would be nice,” Esquibel said.