EATERY DISPUTE Bobcat Bite managers to leave over dispute with property owner

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 8:00 pm | Updated: 8:34 am, Wed May 22, 2013.

The Bobcat Bite on Old Las Vegas Highway was bustling long past the lunch hour Thursday afternoon. The smell of grilled beef wafted through the 28-seat dining room as customers tucked into the eatery’s trademark 10-ounce green chile cheeseburgers.

Longtime proprietor and waitress Bonnie Eckre readied a to-go order while her husband, John Eckre, cleaned tables and son James Eckre, 19, manned the grill in the tiny kitchen. Outside, a couple from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took each other’s pictures in front of the iconic roadside diner, which has been in operation since 1953.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 5 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can get complete access to the online edition for $2.49 a week. If you need help, please contact our office at 505-986-3010 You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Rules of Conduct

  • 1 No Alias Commenters must use their real names.
  • 2 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 3 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. and please turn off caps lock.
  • 4 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Michael Grimler posted at 5:24 pm on Mon, May 20, 2013.

    shooter Posts: 190

    "...Once again capitalism...rear[s] [its] ugly head..."

    Yeah...where's MY portion of Bobcat Bites' profits over the years???

    How DARE they participate in a free-market economy??[wink]

  • Philip Taccetta posted at 1:22 pm on Sat, May 18, 2013.

    PhiltheElder Posts: 190

    You get what you pay for. Obviously your taste is not in your mouth, but further along the digestive tract!

  • Emil_Saure posted at 10:03 pm on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    Emil_Saure Posts: 6

    Nice place but not many can afford $10 for a soggy chile burger in a dissolving bun in this economy. Not even in SF.

  • Philip Taccetta posted at 1:47 pm on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    PhiltheElder Posts: 190

    I will certainly bring my business to the Eckres, where ever they open! As far as the scumbag Panzers, I would never set foot in that place again, even if the best chef in the country was there! In fact, I would love to see protesters and picket signs when they try to open "Bobcat Bite"!

  • aprilmay posted at 3:01 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    aprilmay Posts: 4

    The Panzers snuck behind the Eckre's backs and trademarked the name, but the business license and all other paperwork is in the Eckre's name. This case needs to be taken to court and the Eckre's need to fight for the name. The Panzers are creepy and underhanded. They have proven to the entire city how dishonest they are.

  • ReaderSaysWhat posted at 12:56 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    ReaderSaysWhat Posts: 1

    Yeah, the Panzers trademarked Bobcat bite, alright---on November 22, 2012. Seems like the Panzers were happy to let the Eckres think they owned the business for the 12 years the Eckres invested in making the Bobcat what it is today.

  • GTKJ posted at 6:58 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    GTKJ Posts: 1

    Bonnie is nice. I didn't have a checkbook or cash (I only had my VISA debit card) and I was unable to pay Bonnie that night. She let me and my friend eat there and said that she trusted me to show up tomorrow and pay her. So we showed up th...e next day with a checkbook and we ate there again it was great! I'm glad to see they plan on moving to downtown Santa Fe closer to my home! I just hope they can accept VISA debit cards in the future :-)

  • SARGuy posted at 6:05 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    SARGuy Posts: 4

    The Legal Tender is not lost - the Board of Directors of the Railroad and Historic Museum have not voted yet. Go to the Legal Tender and sign the petition!

  • Red Orgreen posted at 12:16 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Red Orgreen Posts: 14

    Greedy landlords! Not going there again.

  • santafehooray posted at 7:10 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    santafehooray Posts: 1

    Man, is this place going to be missed. I have been going there for 13 years and have eaten hunreds of great burgers.Greedy landlords will not see my face there again. With this loss and apparently the Legal Tender loss in Lamy as well, we who live at this end of town are going to be hard pressed to get our high quality food in a great and colorful venue. I will really miss the friendly greetings by name from Bonnie and crew and the super quality food that the "bite" turned out.
    I'll se you in your new location Bonnie!

  • LoisSanta Fe posted at 9:25 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    LoisSanta Fe Posts: 1

    Bobcat Bites the Dust
    What is really sad about Bonnie and John leaving the building known as Bobcat Bite, is that another long-cherished Santa Fe establishment is being lost. I personally have been eating at BCB and the long-closed sister restaurant on Rodeo Road, Hoof and Heel, since 1982. I have never gotten beyond the green chile cheese burger. Not that everything else on the menu is not worthy, I just stick with what is the "World's Best" (I have eaten burgers around the world so I can make that claim). Bonnie doesn't need to offer me a menu. She knows what I want the minute she see me! She even reminds John that the burger is for me so, it is cooked exactly as I like.

    There is something special about taking the drive out Old Las Vegas Hwy, receiving a big hug from Bonnie as she recognizes you as a very welcomed friend-customer, saddling up to the counter to watch the wild birds eat and drink from their feeders, all the while waiting with such great anticipation for the moment when you can sink your teeth into a juicy burger that you can trust for quality and safety...always order mine RARE! Countless food and travel program coverage and being listed in the publication of America's Top 100 Burgers have spread the praises of Bobcat Bite Burgers. On any given day, out-of-town visitors converge on BCB in their quest to enjoy what us local have long appreciated. However, the building with the name Bobcat Bite is not what makes the place successful, as any new managers will soon discover. For awhile, the name association may still draw in the uninformed but, for those of us who know better, the word will quickly spread that Bonnie and John are no longer there and gone with them are the burgers which have made Bobcat Bite so famous. We, their adoring fans, will move with them and where ever they go, once again we will place our names on the board, take our seats and wait patiently for those juicy, yummy Heavenly burgers to arrive. Bonnie and John will survive and it won't take long for the TV and travel industry to follow the trail of grilling burgers and happy customers. Now that I think about it, "Bonnie and John" is not a bad name for a new place. I just might suggest this when I head out there today a noon for my burger fix!

    Lois Brichta

    Santa Fe

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 8:26 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1688


  • savannabobcat posted at 6:45 am on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    savannabobcat Posts: 1

    gun lobby? what am I missing?

  • Barbara G posted at 9:37 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    Barbara G Posts: 4

    As current neighbors of Bobcat Bite, we will miss this world-renowned "diner/drive-in an dive" landmark. Our visitors from everywhere arrive with their own request to have a Bobcat Bite Green Chile Cheeseburger! We and our friends will follow John and Bonnie into town. I think the 50's character of Garrett's Desert Inn will be just the right new location for Bobcat Bite--by that name or another. I don't expect to see crowds of diners patiently waiting for an hour or more at the original adobe diner along Old Las Vegas Highway. It is a quaint and a folkloric building, but mostly the community loves the family ambiance, service and great food over the decades. It would be nice to recreate the picture window and bird feeding station in the new home! Continued great success...!

  • HopALong posted at 5:01 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    HopALong Posts: 13

    The leaseholders obviously want to $$$$PROFIT$$$$ off the name and the fame regardless of what they serve. John, Bonnie and the rest of us LOYAL BB fans are the ones taking the shaft. I WILL NOT be patronizing the BB after John and Bonnie leave.

    People came from all over the globe to eat John and Bonnie's burgers. Shame on the Panzers. The world doesn't need any more GREED.

  • harpleblues posted at 3:48 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    harpleblues Posts: 6

    John and Bonnie will be moving their fabulous burgers, steaks, and chops to Garrett's Desert Inn. Hopeful opening date is July 1. Wishing you great success, John and Bonnie!

  • aprilmay posted at 1:57 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    aprilmay Posts: 4

    I am excited that Bobcat Bite is moving closer to town! I guarantee my family and I will be frequent customers. I never have time to drive out to the current location and have a feeling that this is a blessing in disguise for John and Bonnie and the entire community! I hope they can fight to retain the name that they put their heart and soul into to build up. John and Bonnie are the heart and soul of Bobcat Bite, not the snakes who are greedily trying to reap what they have clearly not sewn.

  • harpleblues posted at 1:19 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    harpleblues Posts: 6

    June 9th is the last day for John and Bonnie at Bobcat Bite. Let's all come out and give them a great sendoff, and have that old grill cooking burgers til it melts. Bonnie and John have pledged all proceeds on that day to Kitchen Angels, an organization that delivers food daily to those that are confined to their homes. Also, let's all make some extra trips to Bobcat Bite between now and the 9th to support John and Bonnie in their move and to show them our appreciation.[smile]

  • WPeterson posted at 11:46 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    WPeterson Posts: 44

    What is the name of their plumbing company? (So I can avoid them.)

  • Maggie may posted at 10:53 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    Maggie may Posts: 2

    I have had the un pleasure of having to deal with Mr. Pranzer when I had a plumbing problem. He quoted a ridiculous amount of money to do a job and when I declined he came on a Saturday with a friend of his and red tagged my propane tank and disconnected it.
    I could not believe it. Run Bonnie and do not look back! You have the support of the community behind you and you will do amazing in your new location!

  • WPeterson posted at 10:30 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    WPeterson Posts: 44

    As one reader posted below, the Panzers trademarked the name Bobcat Bite in November of last year. Wow, how shady. Clearly a calculated move to steal a thriving business. Very stupid move, Panzers. What, you think the word of your shady dealings won't get out? This will be all over Yelp and the other online review sites. Whatever business you try to operate there will not stand much chance of success.

    If the Eckres can't reclaim rights to the name, just call the new place something like "The Real Bite". They'll get way more business being downtown. I know I will certainly go more often.

  • Stella Guadalupe posted at 8:20 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    Stella Guadalupe Posts: 6

    I love it that Wikipedia was used as a source in this article. Now THAT's journalism!

  • Chimayóso posted at 6:37 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    Chimayóso Posts: 6

    I'll give you my natural, hormone and antibiotic-free, USDA choice whole boneless chuck 10-ounce green chile cheeseburger when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

  • James Fitzgerald posted at 1:14 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    Jim Fitzgerald Posts: 21

    In this day and age, when you buy a business, an understand, a sellers word, or a handshake mean absolutely nothing. Too bad but thats the way it is. Every last detail must be in writing. All the "T's crossed and the i's dotted. I must be reviewed by a at
    least one lawyer or more. Then you sign in blood and pay your money and hope to
    hell it has all been done right. Anything less and you've got these kind of problems.
    I wish 'em well in their new venture. I will sure give them a try.

  • 2005ob posted at 11:37 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    2005ob Posts: 1

    We should all let the readers of yelp and the like know not to bother with the bobcat after Bonnie and John's departure in June! I hate to see them leave old lv highway but look forward to eating a great burger downtown.

  • Miss Posey P posted at 8:11 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    Miss Posey P Posts: 1

    I adore Bobcat Bite, but won't patronize the old place under these circumstances. I will however, follow Bonnie & John to their new place. It's an old story (and a big diservice to the community) -- greedy landlords trying to profit from the sweat and creativity of others, doomed to failure I'm betting. At least they won't get my dough.

  • LuceeBeaGoosea posted at 5:43 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    LuceeBeaGoosea Posts: 4

    Once again capitalism and the gun lobby rear their ugly heads.
    Social and economic justice denied!

  • Nettie posted at 3:56 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    Nettie Posts: 1

    Sounds like pure greed and it seems like the Pranzers are making the poorest decision of their lives. We will always go where Bonnie and John are because they are the Bobcat Bite.

  • mark mocha posted at 3:22 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    brnfre47 Posts: 210

    Wow!!! its kinda sad that readers have to do investigative journalism for the reporters. That being said it looks like my first guess was not far from the truth. Greedy landowner swindling successful buisness man and woman and taking over busy restaurant. I rarely wish bad things for people but if this is true I hope his new endeavor crashes and burns so fast he gets a whiplash watching his investment pass him by.
    can't wait for the real new place to open.

  • Mark Miera posted at 2:14 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    magic84 Posts: 38

    Great food. Must visit before June 9. Will miss the Kitchen diner feeling[sad]

  • karl hardy posted at 1:09 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    karl hardy Posts: 42

    Those who can DO, those who can't take away from those who do.- I will be a regular at the new place - grateful they did not shut down completely - and grateful it will be in town and easier to get to. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but sorry for the loss of atmosphere

  • Wartell posted at 1:02 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    Wartell Posts: 3

    Begin typing here...

  • harpleblues posted at 12:47 pm on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    harpleblues Posts: 6

    Kim, yes, I don't want to be the one to see him cry either :)
    But on the other hand, John and Bonnie will be serving the same burgers at their new place in town. Much closer!


  • Kimberly Walker posted at 11:52 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    KWalker Posts: 2

    [crying] I don't dare forward this to my husband. It will ruin his day. He is greeted by first name at Bobcat Bite, and I have no doubt we will be supporters of the new restaurant.

  • harpleblues posted at 10:48 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    harpleblues Posts: 6

    Check this out ... the Panzer's trademarked the name in November 2012. http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4810:2eehv8.2.1

  • happygirl posted at 10:42 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    happygirl Posts: 2

    WOW. Honor and trust ~a victim of the times? or just plain Greed? Someone's success is a guarantee, others will feel the "bite" ....Stealing something like this is not owning it. Karma is not mocked!

  • harpleblues posted at 10:21 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    harpleblues Posts: 6

    The Wikipedia page was modified on February 27, 2013 to list the Panzers as the owner of the name. Since the inception of the page, John and Bonnie were listed as the current owners of the name and business. Something stinks here. I don't know what the Panzers are thinking. You can't just throw out the creative force that made an award winning business and expect to reap the profits. I would travel far for John and Bonnie's burger, no matter what shingle hangs above it. It's not the sign, it's the people. I'll be one of your first customers on the day you open your new place, John and Bonnie, and I will continue to return.

  • Eva Prada posted at 9:36 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    Eva Prada Posts: 1

    It's a sad day in Santa Fe and the small communities that surround Bobcat Bite. I will miss the burgers, but most of all I will miss the kindness and hospitality that my family and I receive when we walk through that squeaky screen door. It's not everywhere the waitress knows her customers' by name. I will wait patiently for Bonnie and John to open their new place. The Panzers better serve some excellent food or they won't last very long, especially since their place is somewhat out of the way for some people. See you before June 9th, Bonnie.

  • jato posted at 9:34 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    jato Posts: 1

    Perhaps the "owners" of the property crave for a gas station, liquor store, telephone store or chicken coop on the former site of Bobcat Bite.

    Take a perfectly functioning, long term, profitable establishment with a solid customer base predicated upon brand loyalty, quality of food and folksy atmosphere and turn it into a loser.

    Typical New Mexican logic. -0-

  • northy989 posted at 8:58 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    northy989 Posts: 1

    @brnfre47 - totally agree - unless they get someone else in that location that is as good or better, nobody is going to drive way out there. I barely drive out there a few times a year, for what I consider the best burger in town. If it's not as good, I'll never make a special trip out there. And tourists will discover soon enough and word will get out if the quality slips at the supposed "Bobcat Bite" that the building owners own the trademark for. I'll go to the new location, whatever it's called.

  • Elizabeth Wooster posted at 8:30 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    woosterek Posts: 5

    This makes me indescribably sad. I hope you take that lovely, squeaky screen door with you and hang it in your new place. It's always made me think of home.

  • Andrew Lucero posted at 8:30 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    Andrew Lucero Posts: 133


  • Mike Palaima posted at 8:12 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    pressman Posts: 34

    Bye Bye Panzers.

  • mark mocha posted at 7:24 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    brnfre47 Posts: 210

    Yet another example of greedy commercial owners trying to capitalize on others successes. You see it time and time again when hard working people build up a business increasing traffic to that location only to have some greedy (i'm quite sure there are those who would call them savvy buisinessmen ) owner jack the rent to an unmanageable amount to get the old tenant to leave only to rent to a new tenant at a higher amount. This happens because there is no, or almost none commercial renters rights.
    I think come June i'll satisfy my burger fix elsewhere. Watch out Panzers, me thinks your grab for the gold is gonna backfire and many people are going to discover that the drive to your eatery is just a bit too far. I can hardly wait to see if good old Marky will dare to rebut these comments.

  • Donald Sure posted at 5:54 am on Fri, May 10, 2013.

    Older and wiser Posts: 91

    We will continue our regular visits to Bobcat Bite until the 9th. After that we will wait until the new restaurant is opened and spend our evenings there. There is such a thing a loyalty, and this is very typical of building owners. They let others build a reputation as a great place to eat, and the owners run them off with sights on a bigger slice of the pie.

    Good luck to the Eckres, and to the Panzers, I hope you get what you get. Tenant after tenant.