Oldest Restaurant in Amarillo Has The Best Burgers
When it comes to finding a great burger in Amarillo, there is no shortage of awesome places. Coyote Bluff, Blue Sky, Yellow City Street Food, the list really goes on and on. But there is only one place that has been serving up great burgers (and other entrees) for over 72 years.
That's the GoldenLight Cafe on old Route 66/Sixth Street. The GoldenLight is one of those hidden gems of Amarillo but is popular with many longtime locals.
The cafe was established by Chester "Pop" Ray and his wife Louise in 1946. Not only does GoldenLight hold the title of the oldest restaurant in Amarillo, but it may also be the oldest restaurant continuously operating in the same location anywhere on Route 66.
Along with great burgers, they are also well known for their chili. Although the original recipe from Pop was lost years ago, each owner since has put their mark on the place with their own chili flavor.
The building on Sixth Street is unassuming. If you didn't know what you were looking for, it is easy to pass this place by. The front isn't flashy, just a plain brick facade with a sign out front.
Look closer and you will see a bronze plaque glistening the GoldenLight on the National Registry of Historic Places. The front door is an old, metal screen door of sorts which you don't see often in a restaurant.
As soon as you step inside, you know this place is special. It's small, kinda shabby, a little greasy, and packed with people. Get there early if you want lunch, it fills up real quick around noon.
So why is this place packed every day for lunch? The food is great! I always try to get there between 11:00 am - 11:30 am to guarantee I have a spot to sit. In my opinion, it's easier to find a spot on Monday than it is on Friday.
There is a small counter by the grill you can sit, several booths inside, and a nice size patio out the back door. Unless the weather is really good, I recommend sitting at the counter if you can. To me, that is the true GoldenLight experience. You get a great view of the kitchen crew at work and there is nothing better than that grill smell when the flame flares up.
When it comes to the menu, my go to is a double burger and an order of cheese fries. Keep in mind, no matter how hungry you are, the large fry is more than enough for two people. And if you do the large chili cheese fries for your lunch, you will be taking leftovers home.
My co-worker Shannon loves the "Marc's 6th Street Special;" a hamburger patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, hot sauce, and sour cream, all wrapped up in a giant flour tortilla.
The menu is pretty basic, burgers, several sandwiches, Frito pie, and chili dishes, and a couple chili burritos. But what else do you really need? You can check out the full menu by clicking here. And don't forget they are open late for dinner too. This isn't just a lunch spot!
Now if you're looking for some live music on old Route 66, they can help you with that too. In 1996, the opened the GoldenLight Cantina right next door.
There is a great rotation of local and national acts that come through their doors. Be sure to check their online calendar to see who is coming by.
The Cafe is open Monday - Saturday, 11 am to 10 pm, and on Sundays, they open at 11:30 am. The Cantina is open Thursday - Saturday, 7 pm to 2 am.