In Terlingua, ya gotta eat somewhere

As most of you know, if you were paying attention, Ann and I spent four days in the Study Butte and Terlingua area last week.  We stayed in the little casitas at the Far Flung Adventures.  Now you are not going to find 5-star restaurants anywhere near there.  But the local establishments can give you great eating fare.  The following places were where Ann and I enjoyed the most.

Starting in the morning, we stopped at the Roadrunner Deli.  Frank Jones opens his place of business at 7:30AM.  If you are a few minutes early, heck, the door probably is open for you anyway.  He has the coffee hot and ready.  For me and Ann, we think it is the best breakfast around.  The deli is located about a half mile east of downtown Study Butte, on the way to Big Bend National Park.  Indoor or outdoor seating.

Roadrunner Deli

For lunch or dinner, if you like Mexican food, the place to be is Rio Bravo Cafe.  It is located next door to Far Flung Adventures, so that was convenient.  We just walked over there a couple of evenings.  It is a small, plain looking place with about six tables inside, plus some more outside.  Authentic Mexican food.  We had the Red Enchiladas.  They fix them flat instead of rolled.  The Mexican way.  We had them put a fried egg and chopped onions on top and they were fantastic.

Rio Bravo Cafe

If you drive further south on Hwy 117, just a couple miles south of the Terlingua Ghost Town, you will see Long Draw Pizza on the left.  If it is after 5:00PM on Wednesday through Saturday, do not pass this place by, as Ann and I did for a number of years.  This has the best pizza I have tasted in many years.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it is a different world.  Go on in, and Nancy will serve you the coldest beer around and cook your pizza to order.

Long Draw Pizza

Another fun place to eat in the evenings is the La Kiva Restaurant.  Yep, they have a web-site.  It is partially sunk in the ground, giving the impression of being in a cave.  In actuality, it is built right into the bank of Terlingua Creek, that is behind the restaurant, so when you enter, you step down a few steps.  Entrees are pricey, but the portions are so huge, it is wise to share with your partner.  During happy hour, great margaritas for 2.00.  Tuesday nights are for Karaoke.  I have been known to sing a bit there, myself. 🙂

La Kiva Restaurant

As you can see, the above four places all have one thing in common.  On the outside, the don’t look like much.  But that is the nature of the area. There is no need for them to all look gussied up and fancy.  But as I have said, don’t judge a book by the cover.  Trust me, these are all great places to eat.

In Terlingua Ghost Town there is the Starlight Theatre Restaurant.  This old building is a remnant from the old mercury mining era of the early 1900s. When the quicksilver ran out and the mine closed, it went into dis-repair.  The roof went astray along with the movie screen, etc.  In later years, someone got hold of it replaced the roof, and turned it into a restaurant.  It is quite popular with the tourists, and priced accordingly.  However, on Mondays they have 2 for 1 hamburgers and you can get a good deal then.

There are a number of other small eating establishments scattered around the area, but Ann and I didn’t sample them.  As far as appearance, you must remember that Study Butte and Terlingua are in a very remote and desolate part of the state.  For Ann and I, it is the perfect place to get away from it all.

Update:  The birds in yesterday’s post have been identified as, first, an Eastern Phoebe, as I assumed it was.  The second one had me fooled, as I was thinking about a smaller bird such as a sparrow.  But I misjudged it’s size from the distance, and it turned out to be a female Red-winged Blackbird, which is slightly larger.

24 thoughts on “In Terlingua, ya gotta eat somewhere

  1. This is a nice compliation of places to eat in Terlingua, TX but you missed one. We have always enjoyed y poco mas, tiny little place which sits about 100 yds. east of the Starlight Theater almost in the same parking lot. This place is great for a quick snack or refreshment all prepared on site and homemade. Try it next time you’re out that way.

  2. I love little hole-in-the-wall restaurants with good fool! And those pesky female RWBB’s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mistaken them for something else. Sheesh!

  3. Another great post, Bob. Half of the adventure of being on the road is finding the hole-in-the-wall places that serve great food. Thanks for posting it–it’s going straight to my Big Bend research folder.


  4. Hi Bob,
    Maria & I want to thank you for your wonderful comments about our little restauraunt The RoadRunner Deli we enjoy having people from other places visit us it’s educational and interesting to get other points of view. We’ve had visitors from over 2 dozen countries and every state and look foward to adding more countries..
    Thanks Frank & Maria Jones

    • Thanks so much, Holly. I really enjoy writing about those places, too. If I can make you and my other readers feel like they are traveling to them, then I guess my job is done. 🙂

  5. Great stuff as always, Bob. BTW, are you familiar with the photographer Jim Bones who did a number of pictorial Texas books years ago? He was some kind of guide out in Big Bend and a wonderful photographer. I don’t know if he’s still around. I interviewed him when his first book came out, published by A&M Press, when I was reporter in Bryan-CS. That was probably early 80s but I remember spending a couple of delightful hours talking with him as he was a very interesting guy.

      • Yeah, google him up; looks like he’s in New Mexico these days and has done well, but his first book was the Big Bend and El Paso, when he was a guide on the Rio, which I have in my library somewhere but maybe boxed up. He also did Texas wildflowers book and maybe others. Also see his books, or books illustrated with his photography, in bookstores, often in the Texas regional sections.

  6. Oh how I do miss REAL authentic Mexican food!!! The stuff here in Alabama is horrible! What i wouldn’t give for a good shredded beef taco, fried in a real corn tortilla! Yeah, I know it isn’t diet food, but who says it has to be for every meal? Mmmmm…
    ~ Lynda
    (Guess if I want it I will have to make it myself… Breaking out the cookbook and going to the market for some beef to prepare and shred. Thanks for reminding me!)

  7. Bob you should be running tours and make a lot of money! 🙂 You describe the places very well. One day I hope to have a chance to go there, sounds very inviting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s