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Iconic NM Restaurants: Joseph's Bar & Grill

Created: 12/27/2013 4:09 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Route 66 continues to provide New Mexico with a past that many of us cherish.  Joseph's Bar and Grill is one place that's bringing the past to the present.

"It's amazing when people come through and they go I remember that. I remember when we used to see that. I remember seeing that back in the 1950s and 60s. Just like the music we play all the time..it's all 60s."

Jose Campos, Jr. took over the family business back in the mid 80s. He has kept the family tradition in place that his father, Jose Campos, Sr., started after stints in other fields right after the Great Depression.

His first business after the Depression was to get into the gas station business, which led into an auto sales business, and then a hotel business, and finally in 1956, he got into the restaurant business.

His last business has brought customers from across the country and around the world. One particular woman had Jose Jr. star-struck.

"I was 11 or 12 years old and here's Lynda Carter, Wonder Woman, right in front of me. My father had to push me out of the way because I was stuck," Jose said laughingly.

A more familiar face for the people of Santa Rosa is the face of the restaurant. The world famous "Fat Man" whose identity remains a mystery even to the locals. Campos has his own theory.

He says that he's talked to quite a few people, especially people that had done billboards back in the 1940 and 50s, and they said it was a caricature of Phillip Craig.

Craig was the owner of another restaurant in Santa Rosa called Club Cafe, which closed down in '91.

Campos wanted to keep the image as a symbol of the town.

He also kept the family recipes of great New Mexican and Americana food to accommodate everybody that comes through.

The most popular dishes at Joseph's are the Carne Adovada plate,  the Ranchero Chicken Fried Steak with green chile and gravy, and the Steak Ranchero with green chile and melted cheese on top.

Joseph's was the dream of Jose's father and he's glad that he can keep the dream alive.

"I'm thankful to be able to have an opportunity to be in business and do what I love a lot and that is cooking, sharing food with my friends, and having a good time, and every once in awhile, sneak in the World Famous Blue Hole Margarita," Campos said.

More: New Mexico Culinary Treasures


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