August is usually Hatch chile time, but it’s usually a week or two in before the New Mexican chiles begin showing up at restaurants and in stores. This year, most fests are starting around Aug. 8, but a few places have already got their Hatch on.
For the uninitiated, Hatch chiles get their name from the area where they’re harvested a few weeks a year near Hatch, a southern New Mexico town about 80 miles north of El Paso. During and after harvest time, you can smell the aroma of roasting chiles in the air practically anywhere along this part of of New Mexico. The chiles have a cult following in DFW, especially among those of us who lived in the El Paso/southern New Mexico area and long for their flavor and for the heat of the hottest ones, although mild varieties are available as one.
In addition to the list below, restaurants such as Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, Cane Rosso, Fireside Pies, Fred’s Texas Cafe, Reata and have been known to feature special Hatch items during chile season, but so far, those items are to be determined. We will update when we get word. Here’s what has been determined.
Blue Mesa Grill
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Blue Mesa, which has one of the longest-running Hatch fests, kicked off its 22nd festival at dinner Aug. 2 and will run it through September — or until the chiles run out, whichever comes first. Dishes, many of which are making returns to the menu, include Oaxaca cheese bites (chile-wrapped, battered and fried cheese, served with a mango-Hatch dipping sauce), chile wings, pozole, chile rellenos, Hatch-chile-stuffed steak. An appetizer sampler and a taco-relleno combo are available. A Hatch buffet featuring all the items is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. Aug. 22 ($18 per person, $7 children 6-11, free for 5 and younger); reservations are recommended for the buffet. 612 Carroll St., Fort Worth, 817-332-6372; locations also in Addison and Plano; https://bluemesagrill.com
The upscale grocery store also has a long-running festival, and the 23rd annual one will run Aug. 8-21. All locations will have with in-store events, cooking classes, limited-edition products and more than 330,000 pounds of the pepper itself. New products this year include locally-made Hatch queso blanco, Hatch chile mango Greek yogurt from Long Island, Hatch chile-infused coffee, and even Hatch chile ale from Mississippi. Cooking classes range from cast iron Hatch chicken fried steak and Hatch tamales to cooking seafood with Hatch and Hatch brunch. 4651 West Freeway, Fort Worth; 1425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake; locations also in Dallas and Plano; https://centralmarket.com
Chuy’s, which also does an annual fest, is starting later than other places this year; its main Facebook page has a countdown indicating that the fest starts Aug. 13, with photos of items such as the “Cosmic Combo” and the “King Carne Burrito.” 2401 W. Seventh St.. Suite 110 and 9700 North Freeway Service Road E, Fort Worth; 4001 Bagpiper Way Suite 199 (Arlington Highlands), Arlington; 1221 E. SH 114 Suite 100, Southlakel multiple Dallas/Collin/Denton County locations; www.chuys.com or https://www.facebook.com/Chuys.Restaurants
Even DQ is getting in on the Hatch chile act this year, with a Hatch Chile Hungr-Buster, served with lettuce, chilies and ranch dressing (really?) on a jalapeño bun. Star-Telegram Eats Beat columnist Bud Kennedy tried this at a North Arlington DQ that’s one of the highest-rated on social media, and let’s just say results were mixed. But if you happen to get hold of some spicy chiles, at least there’ll be some ice cream available. Multiple DFW locations; https://www.dairyqueen.com
Eatzi’s Market & Bakery
Beginning Aug. 9, the grocery-store/takeout spot will have a Hatch chile menu with more than 20 Hatch dishes, including a sausage & Hatch pepper pizza (which starts Aug 10), Hatch pepper hummus and a chorizo & brown sugar Hatch pork chop. 1540 S. University Drive No. 100, Fort Worth; 1200 W. State Highway 114, Grapevine; locations also in Dallas and Plano; https://eatzis.com
El Fenix Mexican Restaurants
The long-running Dallas-based chain was first out of the gate this year, launching its Hatch Chile Festival on Aug. 1. The menu features Hatch green chile & chicken enchiladas; roasted Hatch queso blanco; and Hatch queso blanco enchiladas. El Fenix’s festival runs through August. Multiple North Texas locations; https://www.elfenix.com
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
The August “Brew Series” burger starts a little late this month because the Austin-based burger chain has been waiting for its Hatch chiles to come in. Well, they’re here, and the “South-n-Peppa” burger starts Wednesday. It’s a beef-blend patty with bacon, pimento cheese spread and cracker gremmolatta, topped with a Hatch chile/IPA chow chow, between two egg buns.. 2300 W. 7th St. Suite 140, Fort Worth; 1200 Chisholm Trail Building E1 (Glade Parks), Euless; 1230 Main St., Southlake (Southlake Town Square); https://www.hopdoddy.com
Jake’s Burgers & Beer
If you like your Hatch chile with lots of poppy seeds, try the August burger of the month at Jake’s (which should be docked a notch for spelling it “chili” on the website): double meat, Hatch green chiles, caramelized onions, pepperjack, chipotle mayo, all between the signature poppy-seed buns. 515 Main St., and 6600 N. Freeway Suite 100, Fort Worth; 529 S. Main St., Grapevine; 3540 E. Broad St. Suite 132, Mansfield; locations in Dallas, Flower Mound and Frisco; http://jakesburgersandbeer.com
The Dallas-based burger chain, which has one Tarrant location. just launched its latest “Give Back Burger,” so called because a dollar from each sale is donated to a nonprofit. And it’s the “Hatch Bac Burger.” Sure, that read like “hatchback,” but the “Bac” is for bacon, and you know what the rest is. Specifically, though, it’s a beef patty mixed with roasted Hatch chiles and chopped bacon, then topped with a house-made Hatch salsa and, yes, more bacon, plus Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and garlic aioli. It’s ten bucks, and a dollar will go to Dallas 24 hour club, which provides sober transitional living for homeless people trying to get away from alcohol and drugs. 8917 N. Fwy Service Road E. Suite 119, Fort Worth; locations also in Dallas, Allen, Richardson, Irving, Carrollton and Frisco; http://givemelibertyburger.com
This Hatch fest runs Aug. 8-Sept. 3 and features pork tamales with Hatch green chiles, Hatch chile white queso, grilled chicken Hatch tacos, Hatch chile giant shrimp brochette with beef & chicken fajitas, Hatch chile chicken quesadillas, pulled pork Hatch enchiladas and fire-roasted Hatch chile rellenos. 2704 W. Freeway, Fort Worth; 321 W. Road to Six Flags, Arlington; locations in Dallas and Richardson; https://pappasitos.com
Swiss Pastry Shop
In New Mexico, enchilada plates that use red and green chiles are known as “Christmas,” so maybe that’s what Swiss Pastry owner/chef Hans Peter Muller has in mind with this plan for a Hatch special: a quarter-pound Wagyu beef hot dog topped with red chile pulled pork and green-chile queso on house-baked buns. Swiss Pastry’s special items do not tend to stick around very long, so get this while you can (but don’t try on Monday, when the restaurant/bakery is closed). Ask for “The Hatch-It Man.” 3936 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth, (817) 732-5661, https://www.swisspastryonline.com
Another fast-food chain gets into the act, and not for the first time. Four special menu items: a Hatch chile chicken taco, chicken quesadilla, chicken chimichanga platter, or $5 chicken taco meal. Or you can add Hatch chiles to any menu item for 50 cents. Multiple DFW locations; http://www.tacobueno.com
Tom’s Burgers & Grill
The north Arlington restaurant, a perennial contender in our Burger Battles, posted on Facebook Monday that its Hatch chiles are in and will be smoked over the pecan-smoking grill through September as long as they’re in season. And Tom’s, which is in a sleek chrome diner, doesn’t just do burgers, so it’s a good bet they’ll be putting these chiles to a lot of use. 1530 N. Cooper St., Arlington, 817-459-9000, https://tomsburgersandgrill.com
Whole Foods Market
Not to be outdone by rival Central Market, Whole Foods will do its own fest from Aug. 8 through Aug. 28. Some of the special offerings include a Hoxie Hatch watermelon white-wine spritzer, a Hatch chile chocolate baby cake (described as a “tiny dessert [with] dark chocolate and Hatch chile in one perfect offering”), “HatchBrowns,” a Hatch green-chile shrimp burger, and Hatch Mergeza lamb sausage. 3720 Vision Drive (Waterside), Fort Worth; 801 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington; 4801 Colleyville Blvd., Colleyville; several Dallas-area locations; https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com
Star-Telegram correspondent Celestina Blok contributed to this report.