Caddy snack

19th Hole Cantina

The Chubby Churger with loaded rib-eye fries.

The Chubby Churger with loaded rib-eye fries.

photo by Scott Duncan

Good for: Beefy comfort food while people-watching
Notable dishes: Chubby Churger, loaded rib-eye fries
Tex-Mex, Rosemont

19th Hole Cantina

9425 Jackson Rd.
Sacamento, CA 95826

(916) 362-1949

Under the afternoon shade, I watched a man putt countless golf balls into a hole as far from him as my burger’s buns were from one another—which is to say, a miniscule distance for a golfer but a chunky size for a burger.

The Chubby Churger ($9) suits its name, and the Yelpers are doing backflips: “The (soon-to-be world famous) Chubby Churger (Burger) gets 5 stars by itself,” writes Adam J. V. of Texas, a state that knows its Tex-Mex.

That’s what the new 19th Hole Cantina—opened this May—is all about: cowboy-friendly Mexican-American food with oodles of beef at the end of a divey golf course. On the restaurant’s outdoor tables, you can look out over the patchy greens and marvel at the languorous golfers who’ve paid less than $20 to play 18 unremarkable holes.

When my husband wears a beanie and sneakers with a suit, I call his look “scumbag GQ.” I mean this with affection: The Cordova Golf Course approximates this aesthetic with indulgent vacation vibes and well-worn equipment. You could languish for hours and briefly forget about traffic or Trump just by driving nearly to Mather and staring at some grass.

The other reason to come is that Chubby Churger. (I’d like to see a macho cowboy order that with a straight face.) The burger was stuffed with a beef-and-chorizo patty that entertained the palate with its notes of garlic and chili. The meat itself was tender and juicy, and the baked bun was crisped golden. The guacamole and tomato cooled down the hot meat and mild spice. Peeking out from the sides stretched an oversized circle of fried cheese in the style of Sacramento’s iconic cheese-skirt burger at Squeeze Inn.

The menu—designed with the silhouette of a swinging golfer in a sombrero—features tacos, nachos, burritos and quesadillas. But it also offers straight-up American food like the standard-issue burgers, chicken strips and a rib-eye sandwich as a nod to the Lone Star State. As far as this cuisine goes, Sacramento has Nopalitos, Dos Coyotes and—what—Chevy’s? But the city doesn’t have many, if any, Tex-Mex restaurants that equally embrace the Texan side.

The loaded rib-eye fries ($9) remedy that with honking chunks of succulent beef that graze a Southwestern plain of cheesy fries, scattered with acidic jalapeños. Sour cream and sweet BBQ make it craveable.

The fries reappear in the California burrito ($8). Really, follow the beef on this menu: The steak was sweet, savory and thin, and it sopped the fries with unctuous goodness.

I was only let down by the fries when they were on the side of that Chubby Churger. The consistency was crisp, but the Cajun seasoning on certain fries became an unwelcome sand hill of salty cayenne.

And yet! The 19th Hole Cantina is a relaxing getaway if your idea of a good time involves biting into fried cheese the size of your face while eavesdropping on out-of-practice golfers.