Hatch chiles are about to blaze into season next month, but that won’t change menu items all that much at Hatch-It: Green Chile Burgers & Tacos — a new, cozy, family-run eatery on Seventh Avenue. That’s because at Hatch-It, the celebrated New Mexican peppers are recognized year-round.
They come from a fifth-generation Hatch, New Mexico, farm that sells 20 million pounds a year.
They come roasted — perhaps soon, roasted just outside the eatery.
Gary Emineth, co-owner of Hatch-It, compares Hatch chiles to coffee or grapes. When pinpointing what sets Hatch chiles apart from standard Anaheims (Hatch chiles are Anaheim chiles grown in the town of Hatch, New Mexico), Emineth sounds like a vintner or globetrotting coffee baron. “It’s the climate,” he says. “It’s the soil. It’s the length of the growing season — all that makes for unique flavors.”
Emineth co-owns the eatery with his sister, Kathy Blackwell. His son, Austin, also works in the shop, having recently moved back to town from North Dakota to help with the family business.
Gary was part-owner of a burrito company in Las Cruces, New Mexico. for the better part of a decade. Earlier in life, he had no connection to New Mexican food. But after a few trips to the state east of Arizona, Gary found himself tasting chiles, mentally noting sauces, and planning.
“While I’m a North Dakota kid, I’ve got some 3 million miles traveling and eating around the world,” he says. “And New Mexico is at the top of my list.”
In a low-key room with an open grill area, burrito-rolling station, and some walls painted unripe-chile-green, the family focuses on a few simple plates. Burgers. Burritos. Tacos. Each in a few iterations, with a few sides like street corn and chips and salsa.
Burgers come in a few versions, two reveling in chile heat. A red chile Chimayo burger draws some spice from a blend of ancho and chorizo. A green chile burger highlights a New Mexican-style green chile and lots of house guacamole. Patties get a crispy toasting on the flattop.
There are a few burrito options. The green chile beef, a menu cornerstone, comes jammed with shreds of the stuff and just about nothing else inside the tortilla to distract from them. You’ll also see and taste soft, brown-skinned wedges of potatoes almost camouflaged among the pieces, a New World addition also made to the burritos in Las Cruces.
Tacos form the third menu pillar. You can choose from a few proteins for the tiny double tortillas, but if you’re looking to mash that green chile pedal, there are beef (ground) and pork (pulled) options.
“What we’re really after is to bring really good, authentic New Mexican food to Phoenix,” Gary says.
And so they simmer roasted Hatch chiles into a green chile sauce, right in the old Mucho Macho Taco spot. This green chile doesn’t have a ton of heat, but has a certain homespun quality to it, the kind of soupy comfort you want when you order a burger, beef tacos, or a meat-filled burrito the size of a flat football.
Hatch-It works with medium-spiced chiles. If you crave more heat, the option is covertly on the table. Gary and his family stock hotter Hatch specimens, available if you ask. Gary’s son Austin rolls with the standard medium Hatch chiles, which are almost too spicy for him.
"I would say I'm not a huge spicy person,” he says. “But I would say green chiles are an exception, they're something special."
Hatch-It: Green Chile Burgers & Tacos.
5341 North Seventh Avenue; 602-607-5036.
Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Sunday.
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