Burgers worth going out of the way for

By Thomas Garcia PNT Staff Writer

It may be a little out of the way and hard to find but JJ’s Burgers has been serving up family recipes for 23 years.

JJ’s Burgers manager, Pete Paiz, has been running the business, located at 708 East First Street, since he took it over from his parents 12 years ago.

“My dad Johnny and Josie (Paiz) first started this business,” Paiz said. “They wanted to offer people something different, they did not want to have a run-of-the-mill burger place.”

They used family recipes to draw in a different crowd and that practice is still used today, Paiz said.

One of those recipes that has brought Paiz’s notoriety is the green chili cheeseburger.

“Every burger is made fresh each day, no frozen patties,” Paiz said.

The meat is ground fresh and picked up every morning from Super Save, Paiz said.

Paiz said that after he completes chores every morning at 5 a.m. he makes his way to the restaurant to start the rest of the day.

“I am usually here by 6 a.m. scrambling eggs, cooking for the breakfast crowd,” Paiz said.

He said, that the decision to take over the family business came after the closure of the ethanol plant.

“I had worked at the plant for 14 years,” Paiz said. “It was either move to another plant in Missouri or take over the business. I made the right choice.”

After working for someone else Paiz found being his own boss and running a restaurant to be challenging and interesting.

“It was different to deal with the public,” Paiz said. “It took some getting used to but after awhile the customers were like friends.”

Through the years Paiz has come to rely on and trust his family when it comes to the running of the business.

“My family is my secret to sucess,” Paiz said. “My son, daughters, my girlfriend and her son all work here.”

“Working here has helped me to appreciate hard work,” Pete’s son, Sixto Paiz, said.

One thing that has helped the business to be and stay successful is that every time someone walks in they see someone they know, Paiz said.

Over the years Pete Paiz has made many customers and has many stories but one stands out to him.

“There was a man from Wisconsin whose son attended Eastern New Mexico University for six years. Every year that he came down to visit his son he would eat a green chili cheeseburger.