YUKON — Green Chile Kitchen Route 66, 12 E Main St., sprang to life in October, but its seeds were planted almost 92 years ago and didn't sprout until 2006 in San Francisco.
Yukon's already ascending reputation as a dining destination thanks to the addition of Hensley's Top Shelf Grill now takes a quantum leap skyward with the addition of the New Mexico-inspired restaurant.
Owned by the Logan family, who have called Yukon home for five generations, the restaurant breathes life into a long-standing space with a colorful history. The menu pays tribute to local history while offering dishes rarely seen in these parts. But it might surprise you to learn Yukon's green chile gold mine also serves some of the best pie you'll ever let cross your lips.
Green chile and pie represent the collected wisdom of Trevor Logan, from his childhood in Yukon to college in Santa Fe, N.M., to owning and operating the original Green Chile Kitchen and its two sister restaurants in the Bay Area.
“I'm so glad my sister and brother wanted to open a restaurant here so that components of my other hometowns, Santa Fe and San Francisco, could be part of my original hometown of Yukon,” Logan said.
New Mexico vs. Tex-Mex
I don't know if it's cultural or what, but for some folks inclusion is akin to heresy. There will be those who go to Green Chile Kitchen and are put off by the fact that the enchiladas aren't rolled, filled with cheese and smothered in what amounts to Wolf brand chile. There will be those who will be put off by not getting a free sampling of queso that's more chicken broth than cheese. There will be those who wonder why they can't get a sizzling skillet of fajitas.
Those items are Tex-Mex staples, which describes a bastardized form of Mexican food founded in San Antonio on the idea of feeding incoming Southerners the gravy they loved with a touch of chile flavor and calling it Mexican. Whether it was Mexican is a matter of debate, but its profitability is beyond question. So, Tex-Mex rages on, and may she reign forever. But that doesn't mean the foods of New Mexico aren't great, too.
In fact, I'll take a cup of green chili stew or posole with a skillet of fajitas any time. I'd rather have an enchilada smothered in green chile than chile con carne. But I like it all.
At Green Chile Kitchen, you'll find flat enchiladas covered in red or green chile or both if you order them Christmas style. They serve tamales, flat enchiladas, soft tacos, chile relleno and carne adovada — a traditional braised pork dish in rich red chile. You'll also find a Frito Green Chile Pie — served in the bag like Woolworth's used to do it. You'll have to pay for the queso, but if you opt for the spicy green chile queso, you'll likely concur that it's money well-spent.
Rotisserie chicken is a specialty of the house, and it is served as quarters, halves and wholes. Logan said the chicken was one of the first things the original served.
“At one point, we did everything on the rotisserie because it was the only cooking appliance we had.”
You can even order Sunday Dinner, which includes two whole chickens, green chile mashed potatoes, green salad, rice, beans, tortillas and calabacitas — a mix of squash, green chile and onions.
“We're dedicated to serving food made from scratch,” Logan said.
For that reason, Logan and his team have been shepherding the menu along since the restaurant opened in October, adding things a little at a time as they've come along. They started out making tortillas in house, but Trevor wasn't satisfied.
“We'll figure it out, and we'll go back to it eventually,” he said. “And we've still got things we'll add in the future like our stuffed sopaipillas.”
That's right, folks, sopaipillas can be stuffed with something other than air and don't have to be rolled in sugar and dappled in honey. They can be stuffed with cheese, green chile, vegetables or fruit. So stay tuned for that.
“We are really committed to using local ingredients as much as possible,” Trevor said. “We just added NoName Ranch for our steak enchiladas, and we're going to be using PeachCrest Farms in the spring.”
Save room for pie
As much as I enjoyed the standard fare at Green Chile Kitchen, it's the pie that's the superstar of this show. And the superstar pie is a product that dates way back in the Logan family.
“Our pies are tribute to grandmother,” Logan said. “Her pies were amazing.”
Eloise Rose was born in February 1921 in Yukon. She married Alva Rose in 1937, and during their 72-year marriage they raised three girls: Myrna, Linda and Cherie.
Cherie married Bill Logan, parents of Trevor, Tara and Trent.