When we walked into Big D’s Downtown Dive in Roswell, it was about 2 pm in the afternoon, way past lunch hour rush time.
Yet the line to the front counter was at least 6 people deep.
This being our first time at the restaurant, I wondered whether lines were typical for the place.
But I didn’t have to wonder very long.
Because Counter Guy flashed us a smile of greeting both warm and genuine. And when he learned this was our first time at Big D’s, the smile got warmer.
But then, without batting an eye, he informed us we’d have a half-hour wait for our food.
If you’re guessing he didn’t see us blink either, you’d be right.
Because we were hungry.
So fine. We said we were alright with the wait and Counter Guy gave us menus and invited us to take a seat.
I found one on the bench in the middle of the room, one of the few seating areas left, and L. sat across from me.
What’s the ambiance like @ Delicious Big D’s?
The place was alive with conversation. From the sound of it, a mix of townies and others from elsewhere in New Mexico and beyond.
The group sitting next to us hailed from Idaho and were on their way to Houston. We always stop at Big D’s on the way down, they said.
Judging by a wall full of New Mexico license plates near the counter, a good number of New Mexicans have stopped at Big D’s Downtown over the years as well.
So many that I decided it was time to order and see for myself what they had stopped here for.
What’s on the Menu?
Big D’s Downtown Dive menu focuses on snacks, soup + greens, specialties ~ imagine your dream sandwich here ~ and burgers.
Under each listing, you find a delicious variety of ingredients you don’t expect to find in your sandwich or salad but are happy you when you do.
Like Crab Cakes with “spicy jalapeño mayo, pico de gallo and arugula” and Chicken Tortilla Soup with “chipotle, lime, avocado, aged cheddar, and cilantro.”
Ingredients like these make you want to go “Mmmm,” right?
Yet, certain ingredients intrigued me more than others:
- stone ground mustard dressing
- toasted pecans
- pecan smoked bacon
- pecan smoked bacon
- pecan smoked bacon
You get the picture.
Several menu items include one or two of these foods, what I came to recognize as Big D’s Downtown Dive signature ingredients.
Trying to decide what to order, at first, felt as if I were playing tug of war. This looks so good, but so does that . . .
So imagine my excitement when I saw all three of my favorites together in the same dish:
the Smoked Salmon salad.
Plus, it contains arugula, the peppery salad green that is now a regular in our home thanks to having eaten it often on a recent trip to Italy.
Eureka! I had found it!
Meanwhile, Hubby L. had decided on a “Good Old Reliable” burger with sweet potato fries.
And a Black Cherry soda.
Then he got up to put in our order.
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait (No, really.)
That’s the silent yell that rose from my throat when I saw Hubby take a place at the end of the counter line, now longer than before.
Now, I won’t lie. I actually tried to will him “with my eyes” to cut in at the front of the line and tell the Counter Guy, “Excuse me . . . we’re ready to order now.”
Because I was hungry, remember?
But L. kept staring at the menu and looking at everything BUT me and my eyes, so it didn’t work.
Counter Guy wasn’t about rushing anything either. Not even with the couple he was talking to now, though he could see the line of hungry people standing behind them.
From their gestures and the few words of the conversation I overheard, Counter Guy was giving the couple the lay of the land inside Big D’s as well as directions to somewhere they wanted to go on their way out of Roswell.
They, too, it seemed, were here for the first time. Very cool.
Would all four of us find our meals worth the wait?
The thought made me smile and I settled back onto the bench. I decided to relax and to kick that New York state of mind to the curb. The talking and eating going on all around me helped.
Before I knew it, L. slid back into the seat across from me. He had his bottle of black cherry soda in hand and as soon as he opened it ~
I took the first sip!
Talking with L. and ogling plates piled high with good food going to other people’s tables kept me entertained until our plates arrived.
Then, at last, it was our turn.
Whose Fries Are These Anyway?
L’s burger and fries arrived first. That’s the plate you see in the featured image WAY up above.
I got to his fries before he did, too. Thin and perfectly crisp, not a one overdone.
But that’s as far as my sampling of L’s meal went ~ I knew enough to leave the man’s burger alone. So please accept my relaying of his report, “Good burger,” as review enough.
It will have to do.
Within seconds of my eating a third sweet fry, the server arrived with my salad, the Smoked Salmon.
Slices of sweet Gala apple lay on top.
And underneath the apples, I could see the arugula, pecan, bacon, and the brown speckled mustard dressing, as well as generous clumps of dusky bleu cheese ~ just as the menu promised.
What a beautiful sight!
Likely L. rejoiced, too, relieved I had some food of my own to eat.
The flavors merged happily in my mouth as if the apple, arugula, pecans, and friends were always meant to be together.
When I finally sliced into the still warm slab of smoked salmon in the center of it all, I felt like Indiana Jones, unearthing a hidden treasure. Once I bit into it, I knew that’s exactly what I was doing.
The way the flavor of the salmon melded with all the bleu cheese-laced goodness surrounding it was out of this world.
And frankly, the only kind of otherworldly experience I had come to Roswell to find.
Hungry Me found this salad filling enough to satisfy all on its own and one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
Delicious Big D’s Smoked Salmon is why I’ve been brainstorming reasons to travel back to Roswell ever since.
And why I recommend you visit Big D’s Downtown Dive your next time near Roswell.
Don’t even think about running off to another eatery where the line might be shorter. Or where there’s no line at all.
Go ahead, put in your order.
Then entertain yourself as you wait. Peruse the license plate wall, talk back to the people at the table next door when they talk to you. Or try to decipher the New Mexico map fragments that decorate your tabletop.
Because Big D’s Downtown Dive is no ordinary dive and the food is worth the wait.
Very nice review, Melodie.
In 2014, TripAdvisor, a travel review site, scoured through millions of user reviews and comments to compile their list of the 10 best burger joints in the U.S. Big D’s placed eighth on the list. Hubby L. has bragging rights–he’s tried one of the ten best burgers in the U.S. Big D’s is probably the main reason aliens continue to visit Roswell.
Coming from someone who KNOWS New Mexico’s eateries like you, Gil, I do appreciate the “thumbs up.” Now, regarding the data you shared about Big D’s burgers being in the top ten, I have two thoughts: 1) It figures. If the salad served in this “burger joint” is that delicious, then, yes, the burgers must be amazing, and 2)
Maybe, just maybe, I should have asked for a small portion of L.’s burger after all. 😉