SAN ANTONIO, N.M. (KRQE) – Grab your appetites because a New Mexico favorite is reopening Friday. The Buckhorn Tavern closed late last year, but now, it’s getting a second chance.
The Buckhorn Burger has been featured everywhere from GQ Magazine to the New York Times, and since word of the Buckhorn reopening under new owners surfaced, some are worried it won’t taste the same. However, the new owners say not to be so quick to assume.
For months, cars have continued to pass by the Buckhorn Tavern on US 380 in San Antonio. Once a favorite spot to grab a green chile cheeseburger and past winner of a ‘throwdown’ with Bobby Flay, the restaurant closed in December 2018 after owner Bobby Olguin’s bout with cancer.
“Bobby got cancer, and he had strong, stage 3 cancer, and so life changes and things switch of what’s important,” said new owner Stephanie Sichler.
Now, it’s getting a second lease on life. The Sichler family has San Antonio roots and often visited the restaurant, known in the past as Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern. When they heard word of its closing, they knew they found their next adventure.
“Ernie’s a great cook and we’ve talked about restaurants, food trucks, we’ve talked about a couple of different ways of getting into the industry. When we heard that the Buckhorn Tavern was closing, we thought, what an amazing opportunity to save this restaurant. The history that it has, with not only San Antonio, but with New Mexico,” said Sichler. “I think this restaurant has such a good memory in people’s hearts, but we just thought, ‘we can’t let it close.'”
After working things out with Olguin, the Sichler family got to work. They’re even bringing back some familiar faces.
“We have some of the same chefs who were here before. They’ll be helping us with cooking the burger. We’ve trained extensively with everybody to make sure that same green chile cheeseburger is put on the plate for everybody,” said new owner Ernie Sichler. “There was a plate that Bobby’s dad used, then Bobby used and it was always used to smash all the burgers, and we continue to use that same plate to smash burgers to this day.”
They’ve seen a big showing of community support. They hope to continue to see familiar faces as they reopen.
“The community is amazing. That’s one thing about New Mexico, we have an amazing community feel across the board,” said Stephanie Sichler. “It’s been so much fun and we’ve had friends and family from across the state come and help us, all the way from Farmington, Socorro, Lemitar, Las Cruces, we’ve had everybody across the board say, ‘hey, what do we need to do to help you save this restaurant, let’s do it.'”
Most importantly, they want you to know they’re serving up that same beloved Buckhorn Burger the tavern is known for, fresh green chile and all.
“This restaurant has so many strong memories in so many people’s hearts, so I wanted to make sure to involve people in that process,” said Stephanie Sichler. “We’ve hired the opening chef and the closing chef, so you will have the same chef that you came into eight months ago, making your burger, along with our new crew, as well. They’ll be the ones that are helping to train the crew to make sure that recipe, the way it’s done.”
The new owners also renovated much of the Buckhorn. Those updates can be seen when they open their doors to the public. You can get your green chile cheeseburger fix today when the Buckhorn Tavern opens at 11 a.m.