The chile con queso you realize finest could also be a jar of tomato- and chile-flecked processed cheese. But it surely will also be a factor of unparalleled magnificence, a deliciously messy, fiery, skinny salsa capped with molten cheese meant to be pinched with recent tortillas.

It’s possible you’ll not study this model till you go to southern New Mexico — residence to the well-known, lengthy inexperienced Hatch chiles — and begin asking round about the place to eat.

“Have you ever been to Chope’s?” the locals say. “You gotta attempt their chile con queso.”

Situated within the small farming neighborhood of La Mesa, N.M., about 20 miles south of Las Cruces, the state’s second-largest metropolis, Chope’s City Bar & Cafe includes two buildings on a gravel lot alongside Freeway 28: a Nineteenth-century adobe residence turned restaurant, which opened in 1909, and a whitewashed bar that opened 40 years later.

Contained in the bar, households, farmers and leather-clad bikers chat over the jukebox, which performs a mixture of ’80s rock and thumping reggaeton. The chile con queso is deceptively monochromatic, a white bowl stuffed with melted white Cheddar and served alongside heat, foil-wrapped flour tortillas. Clients tear off bits of tortilla and plunge them via the thick cheese layer to unearth diced roasted chiles simmered in their very own tangy, spicy liquor.

“That’s the normal Mexican preparation fashion,” mentioned Josefina Garcilazo, Chope’s head chef, in Spanish. She represents only a handful of people that have been entrusted with this 80-year-old recipe, which dates to the household’s forebears in Copper Canyon, Mexico.

“Queso Velveeta is,” she mentioned, “gringo.”

Ms. Garcilazo works from a small galley kitchen contained in the restaurant, ‌ the previous residence of its founders, Longina and Margarito Benavides. They named Chope’s after their son, José ‌Benavides, nicknamed Chope for his uniform of overalls, or chopos. Chope Benavides and his spouse, Lupe, the originator of the chile con queso recipe, took over within the Forties. Their daughters, Margarita Martinez, Amelia Rivas and Cecilia Yañez, now personal the restaurant.

D.J. Martinez, Ms. Martinez’s son and a fourth-generation supervisor along with his brother Michael Martinez, mentioned he feels as obligation certain to safeguard his grandmother’s recipe, as he does Chope’s thick-battered chiles rellenos and durable enchiladas.

To him, they’re extra than simply recipes.

“Are you aware what sazón means?” Mr. Martinez mentioned. “Sazón means, like, the tradition, the custom, and the fashion of cooking all come collectively and create the flavour. That’s form of what it means; that’s why it tastes so good.”

An El Paso native, the chef John Lewis grew up consuming at Chope’s, a straight shot up Interstate 10, each different Saturday. And each meal started with queso. “Chope’s model precisely interprets to the way it’s learn: It’s chiles with cheese.” He has tinkered with the easy dish for years and now serves a model at his New Mexican restaurant, Rancho Lewis, in Charleston, S.C.

Chope’s chile con queso begins with meaty, Anaheim-esque Joe E. Parker inexperienced chiles, that are grown and roasted in Las Cruces and Hatch — the middle of chile manufacturing in New Mexico. Mariana Amaya, an assistant prepare dinner who has labored at Chope’s for 35 years, peels and dices them earlier than simmering them — maybe with rooster inventory or onions?

Ms. Amaya makes all of Chope’s salsas, together with three five-gallon containers per day of the bottom for its chile con queso and chili con carne. She is the caretaker of an industrial grater that’s additionally been right here for 35 years, on which she grinds 50-pound blocks of white Cheddar day by day earlier than heaping a towering pile atop every bowl of salsa, the identical approach she has for many years.

“The prepare dinner is what makes the chile con queso particular,” Ms. Amaya mentioned, in Spanish. “I like my job.”