Bibo Bar & Grille – Bibo, New Mexico

Bibo Bar & Grille in Cibola County

There’s an old Lebanese proverb that says, “some men build a wine cellar after only finding one grape.” That proverb aptly describes the many rags to riches success stories among Lebanese immigrants to the Land of Enchantment, primarily to our state’s northern villages. Some of New Mexico’s most prominent names in business–Maloof, Bellamah, Hanosh, Ghattas, Sahd and others–embody the spirit of that proverb.

The progenitors of many of New Mexico’s Lebanese immigrants left Lebanon during the repressive Ottoman Empire, the main exodus occurring in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Escaping persecution and poverty, some arrived with nothing but aspirations, dreams and hopes. The frontier territory of New Mexico was replete with opportunity (and the prospect of freedom) for them.

The bar at Bibo Bar & Grille

Like their Phoenician forefathers had done, many of them began as door-to-door peddlers, many eventually launching trading posts or general stores in the small villages in which they settled. The “Arabes” as they are sometimes still called by Hispanics were hard workers, shrewd businessmen, community-minded and family-oriented. They fit right in with the tight-knit Hispanic communities which shared similar values–so much so that Los Arabes of New Mexico, a wonderful book written by Monika Ghattas is subtitled Compadres From a Distant Land.

In the vernacular and tradition of Hispanic Northern New Mexico, few–if any–titles were held in such esteem and reverence by elder generations as “compadre” (male) and “comadre” (female). In his Dictionary of New Mexico & Southern Colorado Spanish, Ruben Cobos defines a compadre as a “ritual co-parent; a term by which godparents address the father of their godchild and by which the child’s parents address the godfather.” That’s the esteem to which many of the Arabes were…and still are held today.

Bibo Bar & Grille Dining Room

On January 1st, 1913, a mature beyond his 22 years of age Arabe named Joseph Hanosh opened the Hanosh Brothers Trading Post in the small village of Bibo, New Mexico. Most of his customers were either Native Americans from nearby pueblos and Spanish descendents. Joseph befriended many of his neighbors, joining in holiday festivities and celebrations as well as day-to-day activities. He ran the operation until 1946 when his daughter and son-in-law purchased the mercantile in which they operated a grocery store on one side and a bar on the other. As time went by, the bar became the focal point of the family business.

Today the Bibo Bar & Grille is owned and operated by Joseph’s grandson Eddie Michael who also serves as Cibola County Commission Chairman. Surmounting a rough patch after the nearby uranium mine’s closure, the Bibo Bar has become a popular Cibola County destination frequented by motorcycle and car clubs from throughout the north. At least some of that can be credited to the food prepared and served on the premises.

Green Chile Cheeseburger and a mountain of French Fries

The green chile cheeseburger, in particular, warrants acclaim and was placed on the New Mexico Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail in both 2009 and 2011. My first visit was prompted by an email from Randall, one of the most passionate commentators on this blog. Randall made the audacious claim that Bibo’s green chile cheeseburger is even better than the one served at the 66 Pit Stop, home of the Laguna Burger. Randall might just be right!

The green chile cheeseburger is a beefy behemoth–half a pound of beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, cheese and green chile with mushrooms and bacon available for a bit more. The beef patty is hand-formed and extends beyond the six-inch buns. It’s a thick patty prepared at not quite medium-well with enough juiciness to warrant at least three napkins and so much deliciousness, it may make you swoon. The sesame seed buns aren’t quite up to the task of holding in all the contents of this burger, but on the other hand, at least you’re not choking down more bread than beef. The green chile (spelled “chili” on the menu) is pleasantly piquant. It’s an outstanding green chile cheeseburger and it’s served with a mountain of French fries.

The menu isn’t a one-trick-pony, featuring everything from grilled chicken sandwiches to Ribeye or New York Strip with your choice of corn-on-the-cob, fries or onion rings and Texas toast. Small and large enchilada casseroles are available with a 24 hour advance notice. You can belly up to the charming bar and get to know the friendly staff or you can enjoy the black-and-white photographs festooning the dining room’s walls. Beverages include a number of flavored teas as well as canned sodas, including root beer, cream soda and even RC cola.

It’s entirely possible many readers have never heard of Bibo, New Mexico. Bibo can be reached by taking exit 114 off I-40 then heading 11 miles north of Old Laguna on Highway 279. The scenery along the route is spectacular…and so is the green chile cheeseburger.

Bibo Bar & Grille
Mile Marker 11 Highway 279
Bibo, New Mexico
(505) 552-9428
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 11 June 2014
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: N/R
COST: $$
BEST BET: Green Chile Cheeseburger, Fries, RC Cola

Bibo Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

View all posts by Gil Garduno →

32 Comments on “Bibo Bar & Grille – Bibo, New Mexico”

  1. Hmmm….Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Prime Time…one of those freebie publications…as it had Bocadillos’ Marie Yniguez on the cover. Therein was an article: “Solomon Bibo: Acoma’s Jewish Governor”…I don’t know how long this will be viable, but go here: http://www.ptpubco.com/current-issue.html or, at a later date, look for Past Issue of March, 2019. You need to click the > to page 8; click + to enlarge; move page up/down with mouse while holding down Left button.
    “Some of their children returned to New Mexico, and at least one was initiated as a member of the Acoma tribe. Their descendents still live in the area. The little village of Bibo, near Cebolleta*, preserves the family name.”
    * Google Maps spells that as Seboyetta. http://tinyurl.com/y37ebjsv

      1. Alas Ruben,
        Sorry for putting you in a quandary. For sure, you are not alone as others also have noted their confusion with my blatherings. I thought/hoped my referencing the article might add to Gil’s review of the restaurant’s historical background and particularly because the name Bibo is actually in the “people’s” restaurant’s name. Also, thought it interesting…well to me…about the blending of our cultures as a bit of diversity back then which is so prominent in today’s cultural discourse.
        Alas, I sometimes get caught up with such stuff and coincidentally and as an example, his first name was Solomon which reminds of this Guy’s last name http://tinyurl.com/okv2gs5 who saved our como se llamas way back when. Oh well, pardon for wasting your time Ruben!
        “Ciao!”

  2. Working in N.Mexico..!! 6yrs. Ago,, Went Into Bibos off 1-40 . The Crew of Work, Had To Stop in 2× a Week.!! THE BEST GREEN CHILI CHEESE BURGERS!!! EVER!! Good Staff, Alot of Fun, Nice Atmosphere and Not 1 of Us are From New Mexico.!! We All Go Back Every year, You Can’t Get Enough of Them!! They Are THE BEST!! Thru The U.S. KEEP UP THE PERFECT WORK,,Eddie, Remember Claude and Many Others in Bibos. !! YOU PEOPLE ARE GREAT!! AND YOUR BURGERS ARE TO PERFCTION.!! See You Again and Again. With Respect Barb

  3. Speaking of great minds, has anyone else noticed that Suzie Queue hasn’t commented since she was outed as Bruce Jenner…er, either Bill Resnik or Nate D? And that Randall’s tender, loving commentary began when Suzie’s ended? Methinks there’s something fishy there.

  4. Schuyler, you are a true genius. I know this because as I read Dilbert all I could think of was Randall.

    As the old saying goes, “Great minds think alike” though I have always suspected that the opposite is true.

  5. At this point, I am considering listing all suggestions, cutting them up separately, wadding them up and putting them in a hat or similarly bowl-shaped object, and having my objective (couldn’t care less) teenaged daughter pull one.

  6. I remember eating here way back in ’78 when I was employed by your friendly neighborhood electric company looking for a pumped storage site at Seboyita. There were no green chile cheeseburgers, just burritos, etc. It has been a long time so I can’t give a valid review on the food but I distinctly remember that the guy I was with didn’t like it. You had to go a long ways to get something better though.

    1. Just stumbled across this site and your comment. I worked for Stone & Webster in 1980 when we drove a test adit for the PNM pumped storage project you referenced (dumbest idea ever). But the highlight of my day was going in to the restaurant for Mrs. Michael’s stuffed sopapillas. I’ve never found anything as good since. Ultimately wrapped up that project and they sent me off with a large jar of their homemade salsa.

  7. OK, I just could not wait to organize a motorcycle ride out to Bibo. Took the wife last night and it was pretty darn good. On par with Laguna Burger – too close to pick one over the other at this time. A little disappointed in the fries, but the onion rings were more than up to the challenge of complementing this fine GCCB.

    We most assuredly will be back. They say the fun is in the journey not the destination…in this case, the destination is pretty darn delicious!

    Off topic: Really enjoying your blog Lauren – all one day that I have read it anyway 🙂 Looking forward to trying some of those recipes.

    1. Next time, top those plain fries with chili & nacho cheese. If you’re really adventurous try adding some bacon on top.

  8. We live near the Bibo Bar & Grille, and love the aromas of the delicious food being grilled daily. We attended the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Bibo Bar last year, and many of the next generations of the Hanosh family were there. Try it, you’ll love it!

  9. The Bibo Burger is WONDERFUL (and so are the Onion Rings)! We live in Florida, and can’t wait for our annual trip to New Mexico for the beautiful scenery, friendly people and awesome food at the Bibo Bar & Grille.

    1. So you can confirm they are open on Sunday, Jen? After reading this review, the wife and I were planning on getting some friends together and taking a motorcycle ride out there. Only problem is one couple works on Saturdays, so it would have to be a Sunday. Figured we’d call, but if you went on a Sunday, then we can suggest this as a ride. Thanks!

      1. Actually, the manager told me that they have to wait until 12:00 on Sunday to open their doors because they are also a package liquor store.

    1. While the autocorrect fairies are probably fans of the Hobbit and Bilbo Baggins, I’m afraid the movie put me to sleep after only eighteen minutes. It is most definitely Bibo. Thank you for pointing out my misspelling.

  10. What a delightful post! I did not know the history of the Hanosh family, nor was I aware of the existence of Bibo. The prospect of finding yet another outstanding GCCB on your blog is exciting – you’ve never steered me wrong. This calls for a drive out west!

    1. Hi Shawne

      The Hanosh family influence extends well beyond Bibo. Joseph’s brother John left Bibo in the 1920s and moved to Mora where he opened one of the largest mercantile businesses in Northern New Mexico (it was open into the 1980s). He also reopened Mora’s historic St. Vrain Hotel which operated into the 1970s. Growing up on the “other side of the mountain” from Mora, I was acquainted with the Hanosh family of Mora as well as several other “Arabe” families, especially the Sahds.

      Two years ago the Sahd matriarch Patty passed away at a very youthful 98 years of age. Patty was my mom’s best friend and like a third grandmother to me. She became widely known in New Mexico as the “superfan of the Lobos.” We miss her so much every day and remain ever grateful for our friendship with the wonderful Arabes of New Mexico (a great book, by the way).

      I know you recently enjoyed the Laguna Burger and will be very interested to know your opinion on how Bibo’s green chile cheeseburger compares.

      Gil

      1. Thank you for your sweet note about my Grandma Patty. I miss her tons. You’re mother was a great friend to her and I know our family will always be thankful for their friendship. My grandma loved Katie dearly! She even got her to agree to be baptized! ?

        1. Hi Michelle

          From 1995 when we returned to New Mexico until one week before she left us, we had Sunday lunch with Grandma Patty every time we visited Peñasco. There isn’t a meal in which we don’t recall something Patty ate, did or said. We miss her tremendously.

          I also mention your great uncle George in my review of The Trading Post in Ranchos de Taos and without mentioning her by name, in my review of El Patron, share an anecdote about working for Patty at Sahd’s.

          Patty wasn’t only a wonderful grandmother and friend, she raised two of the finest men I’ve ever met. Your dad and your uncle Randy are true gentlemen, emphasis on the word gentle.

          Gil

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.