Wild Game Bistro & Market is Open in High Rolls, NM

Ruidoso wild game

In the mid-1800’s, members of the Niffenegger family came to America from Switzerland. Today, their progeny resides in a corner of the Sacramentos called High Rolls, NM, just below Cloudcroft on Hwy 82.

Who are the Niffenegger’s?

Ruidoso wild game
Bill Niffenegger in front of one of his paintings in the upstairs gallery.

Bill and Beverly Niffenegger are entrepreneurs with a passion for New Mexico Americana. Both are graphic designers/digital and traditional artists. Their careers include commercial and fine arts. Beverly has published 17 children’s books.

Bill published the first Photoshop special effects book in 1993.

“We moved here in 1994,” he says, “this rural area had the best WiFi speeds because of Sunspot.” (National Solar Observatory)

The Old Apple Barn was originally going to be a computer graphic training center. Then, the couple was called away for software development.

The Apple Barn

Today’s Apple Barn is based on Midwestern barn locations. “Over time, it’s grown quite handsomely,” Bill continues.

The Barn has hand dipped ice cream and root beer floats, a bakery and fudge factory, souvenirs and more. With 19 different departments, there is something for everyone.

Ruidoso wild game
Visitors can explore the property and enjoy an expansive view.

But these guys are just getting started! Two years ago, the couple bought the ajoining property. One cabin was converted to a clothing store.

“It’s designed like an alpine ski lodge, but with reasonable prices for locals and our tourist guests.”

The other building was gutted and renovated.

“The philosophy here is a little bit different,” Bill remarks as Willy Nelson’s “Hello Walls” plays, “people think of log lodges, wild critters and hikes when they come to the mountains.”

The Wild Game Bistro & Market is designed to fulfill that fantasy. “Now people can come and say, ‘This is what I hoped was here!’.”

The Wild Game Bistro & Market

Ruidoso wild game
The Bistro kitchen is open!

The Wild Game features a patio with a great mountain view. Three weeks into the project, the Niffenegger’s have added elk and bison burgers, six sausage sandwiches (two chicken and four wild game: boar, bison, elk and venison). For “those who don’t want to be so wild!” they offer two chicken sausages.

Lots of drinks including slushies and southern ice tea are available. Also, in the market, they sell frozen game meats, so shoppers can take it home to the grill.

“The idea is to give locals some place to gather, to keep our visitors happy, and especially appeal to Holloman Air Force Base.”

The pending beer and wine license will feature New Mexico breweries and vineyards in keeping with the Old Apple Barn’s support of local produce including apples, cherries, etc.

Check out their Facebook page for what’s happening at the Apple Barn. And visit their website to find out all they have to offer.

-Blake Martin

For another place for good eats, check out Tina’s in Ruidoso!