Libby’s el Rey Cafe

Bill & Joe’s Cafe- Late 1930’s

Bill & Joe Cafe as it existed in the '30's

Libby’s el Rey Cafe – mid ’40s – Present

Libby’s El Rey Café, still a landmark in the Globe-Miami area for their great Mexican food, is located at 999 N. Broad, which was the original home for Bill & Joe’s Café in the late 1930’s, owned by Bill O’Brien and his wife, Kate.  O’Brien was also a partner in Miller’s Café in downtown Globe.  Later, the café was known as the Okay Café, but it was when Viviano and Marian Bracamonte bought the property that it began a long journey to the prominence it now has.

Viviano Bracamonte was born and raised in Miami, while Marian was a native of Superior.  After they were married and started their family of four children, they became involved in the Mexican food business, first owning the Silver Front and La Paloma in Miami. In 1947 they sold those and bought the property where the Okay Café had been and renovated the building on Highway 60 in Globe, making many changes and adding stucco on the outside.  It then became the El Rey Café and was to enjoy a long history as one of the most popular restaurants in the state.

The El Rey, over the years, has received accolades in books and listings of cafes across the country, for having the best Mexican food in Arizona.  The restaurant was listed in a book, “Road Foods of America” written for travelers about where the best places were to stop, in “Sunset Magazine” and in “Arizona Highways” four times.  In fact, during the 1970’s it is known that a nationwide insurance company based in Illinois would have a Board of Directors’ meeting in Arizona each year, so the board members could drive to Globe to enjoy the Bracamontes’  food.

The story of John Wayne & Viviano

Libby also tells of the time her dad was bowling over at the Copper Hills Lanes and when a group went over to have a drink after bowling, John Wayne was there.  She says her dad didn’t drink, but enjoyed have a good visit with his friends.  That evening, the guys were visiting with Wayne and Danko Gurovich, owner of the Copper Hills and a friend of the movie star and as it got late, they started talking about food, do Viviano said he could open the El Rey.   So he opened the place up and they went in and cooked up a bunch of food for the gang.  She said her dad was friends with John Wayne after that.

She remembers  Alan Ladd and his family came there when he was filming near Globe, Richard Gear ate there,  the people from “Great White Hope” also enjoyed their food, as do the crews from Channels 3 and 12 when they are in town filming.

As Viviano and Marian  raised their family, the children all helped out at the restaurant until, after they retired, their daughter, Libby, became owner of the restaurant. To avoid being confused with other El Rey restaurants around the state,  the name was changed to Libby’s El Rey.  In addition to the restaurant, Libby has assembled a “moveable” kitchen that she can load up and take to the county fair or to cook for special events.

Libby's was on hand for the 2010 Cinco de Mayo Celebration

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