American, BiteClub, Burgers, Santa Rosa, Where to Eat Now

Bibi’s Burgers is the Santa Rosa burger spot that should have been

Downtown Santa Rosa's newest burger bar, Bibi's, is a solid contender in the Santa Rosa burger wars.

Cabernet Burger at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (Heather Irwin)
Cabernet Burger at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (Heather Irwin)

I’m a stickler about properly cooked burgers. If you’re going to ask me how I want it (medium rare, please), then it should be nice and pink in the middle. Not raw, not grey, but pink and juicy.

Which is why I was pretty bummed on my first visit to Bibi’s Burger Bar in downtown Santa Rosa when my medium rare turned out well-done. The well-done burger we ordered?  Medium rare.

Thai burger at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (courtesy photo)
Thai burger at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (courtesy photo)

But on a second, less busy visit the burgers weren’t just properly cooked, they were, as my exacting chef friend described them, solid. And not just solid, in my opinion, but memorable.

The mega parmesan burger at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (courtesy photo)
The mega parmesan burger at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (courtesy photo)

Bibi’s Burger Bar is the restaurant that should have always existed in this high-traffic downtown space. Stocked with a full bar, creative cocktails, milkshakes and a lengthy list of burgers, fried spuds, salads and a few entrees, Bibi’s Burgers stakes its claim on beefy patties topped with everything under the sun: from Thai coleslaw and portobella mushrooms to a pile of homemade chili or just a plain old bacon and cheddar (or nothing at all).

S'mores milkshake at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)
S’mores milkshake at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)

The restaurant’s consulting chefs seem to have put their stamp on the menu with bun-to-bun care, using toasted Franco American buns, fresh produce and creative twists like smoky Gouda on The Smokey ($12, with chipotle mayo, bbq sauce and bacon), or the towering Parmigiana ($14) that includes a breaded burger, marinara, an onion ring and mozzarella on buttered sourdough bread.

Nachos at BIbi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)
Nachos at BIbi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)

A vegetarian burger is in the works, and we think a turkey alternative would work beautifully as an alternative to some of the heavier burgers. Here are some of our favorites:

• Thai Burger ($11): Chili lemongrass coleslaw, lime mayo, carrots and daikon radish. We’d love this with a turkey or veggie option.
• Cabernet Burger ($13): Local Carmody cheese, portobella mushroom, horseradish sour cream and mustard. Can be made vegetarian without the beef patty.
• Connecticut Style Steamed Cheeseburger ($12): Classic burger taste that’s so juicy you need extra napkins and a trough. Comes with aged white cheddar and needs to be cooked medium-well for consistency.
• Bibi’s Nachos ($9.50): Homemade chili, and the usual fixins surprised us all with just how good nachos could be.

Fried green beans at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Courtesy photo)
Fried green beans at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Courtesy photo)

• Crisp Green Beans ($7): Pretend you’re getting your green for the day.

Rhubarbarian cocktail at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)
Rhubarbarian cocktail at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)

• Rhu-Barbarian cocktail ($8): Sky strawberry vodka, lime, strawberry, rhubarb bitters, cilantr-oh-my-goodness so yummy.
• Smore’s Shake: You will not want to share. Nutella, Graham crackers, torched marshmallow.

Birdseye view of the Thai Burger at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)
Birdseye view of the Thai Burger at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa. (Heather Irwin)

Our take: A solid Santa Rosa burger.

Bibi’s Burger Bar: 630 Third St., Santa Rosa, bibisr.com. Open for lunch and dinner daily.

Thai Burger at Bibi's Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (Heather Irwin)
Thai Burger at Bibi’s Burger Bar in Santa Rosa (Heather Irwin)

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Comments

21 thoughts on “Bibi’s Burgers is the Santa Rosa burger spot that should have been

  1. Bibi’s reminds me of the racist, fascist dictator of Israel, horrible name…enough to keep me from going. The food looks good though!

    1. Actually not accurate. I love superburger with a passion but the burgers are about the same price when u factor in fries (sold separately at superburger)

  2. I thought restaurants refused to cook medium rare burgers due to bacteria risk. Glad that’s not the case. But many only do medium or more, get the pink out. There was a Healdsburg chef that said he used 30 percent fat ground beef to keep it from tasting dried out. It is better to not overcook it.

    1. The easiest way to ruin meat is to freeze it — like McDon’s, Jr. Karl, Boxer’s, and myriad bars that serve burgers cooked from pre-formed patties.

      One owner of the “One and Done” burger bar club told me she had never tasted her burger because she didn’t eat red meat.

      Every day should be Thanksgiving here in the U.S. — we have so much — we are so lucky — especially in Northern California and the west coast!

  3. The comments on this post read like a Portlandia sketch. Glutton Free buns and veggie patties are nice additions, but it is a hamburger restaurant. There are plenty of pretentious hipster joints where you can go to be seen questioning the staff on the nature of the cows life, and it’s death by natural causes before being deconstructed in a relaxing and spiritually aware environment.

    1. James – your comment left me laughing on the floor. And like most good comedy, there is more than a bit of truth to it.

      Hipster – “how was the cow raised”
      Staff – “in a bucolic meadow where Yo Yo Ma serenaded the herd with his cello on a daily basis until an animal psychic as the cow if it was ready to surrender its life”
      Hipster – “wow – that is great. Now I can consume it without having to feel guilty about my carbon footprint.”

  4. “my medium rare turned out well-done. The well-done burger we ordered? Medium rare”

    Perhaps instead of not knowing how “properly cook” a burger, the orders got switched.

  5. Do they have a gf bun option? Another super important thing to have around here. And no, a lettuce wrap doesn’t count.

  6. Searching, searching, searching for a classic, fresh (not frozen) cheeburger & fries that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    Lettuce, onion, tomato & mayo., good beef, good cheese, Franco-American BUN (I’ve been wondering which restaurants are serving these!! – I don’t know if you can even buy them at the bakery – retail) … so I’m hoping these burgers will be awesome!!!

    First I’ve heard of anyone doing the steamed Connecticut-style — gotta try that! Thanks! Sounds delicious!

    1. Check out Flavors too. They have the best burgers I’ve had in Sonoma County so far. I loved Flipside so I hope that Bibis sticks with the all fresh made items and stays away from the frozen junk.

  7. Why does the PD focus on the same restaurants? Do the writers ever venture beyond downtown SR, HB, or SO?
    Burgers like pizza can be found in great variety all over town. Ausiellos, Hey Misstur, and even In-And -Out burger offer varieties of burgers which are great.

  8. Went early, they had no veggie burger, a huge oversight for a business opening in this century in Sonoma County. Hopefully the rectify this soon.

    1. So I talked to the chef this morning. They are working on a vegetarian option, but they really want it to be great, and they haven’t come up with anything yet.

    2. Gee I wonder if I could go to a vegetarian restaurant and insist the chef pander to my desires and put a double burger on the menu?

  9. Heather. What is a solid Santa Rosa burger vs. any other burger? The review really doesn’t sound like the burger is that great.

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