Since 1951, Bueno Foods (El Encanto, Inc.) has grown into one of the Southwest’s premier producers of New Mexican and Mexican style foods, serving restaurant and retail customers throughout the U.S.
Bueno Foods started out as a small neighborhood grocery store called The Ace Food Store. In 1946, several brothers, members of a long-time New Mexican family, had just returned from serving in World War II when they scraped together enough money to start a grocery business. At first, the small operation was quite successful . . . that is until grocery store chains started infiltrating the Albuquerque market. The Baca brothers soon found out their small “mom and pop” store could not compete with the Piggly Wigglys and Safeways of the world. They wanted to make a go of their business however, and they began to think of ideas to make their enterprise work.
At first, they started integrating their mother’s delicious cooking into their business, adding a carry-out component to the store. The homemade traditional dishes were a hit but the Baca brothers realized, the carry-out couldn’t sustain them forever.
At this time, they formed a partnership, manufacturing corn and flour tortillas on a pie crust roller, tamales and posole.
They moved their operation from Bridge, around the corner to Airway, the site of their childhood home. Then, the Baca brothers had an idea. They talked about it around the supper table with their mother and father. They talked about it day and night. It was the early 1950s and every household was getting a freezer. Birdseye frozen vegetables were becoming the rage.The brothers asked themselves two questions: “Why couldn’t they take their heritage and preserve it, so to speak? Why couldn’t they start with an autumn tradition and use freezers to make it last until the following year’s harvest?” In other words, they had the idea to take chile, roast it over an open flame as the wonderful New Mexico autumn tradition dictated, and freeze it so that people could enjoy green chile year-round.
The Baca brothers were the first to flame roast green chile on a commercial scale. There was no equipment for this kind of process, so they had to build it. There was no process, so they had to invent it. And so they did, more than 60 years ago. With a handful of products as their focus, Bueno Foods was born, founded in 1951. So, for over half a century now, Bueno Foods has grown steadily from a small neighborhood grocery store into one of the Southwest’s premier producers of New Mexican and Mexican foods, still owned and operated by the Baca family. Consistent quality and service, customer responsiveness, innovation and hard work have resulted in Bueno’s steady upward growth and success.