Culture / Travel

The Insiders’ Guide to Marfa: Restaurants, Bars, Coffee Shops and Galleries You Need to Know

BY // 11.18.15
photography William Laird

Marfa, the popular West Texas desert haunt that continually draws oodles of celebs to its remote yet charming environs, recently played host to the 29th annual Chinati Foundation weekend, during which art lovers from around the globe gathered for three days of special exhibitions. On hand for the festivities: Casa Dragones, who sought out several Marfa influencers to discover what these esteemed locals consider must-visit eateries, hotels and secret spots in their beloved town.

Susannah Lipsey
Owner, Freda
“I love to have a Mexican Martini at Maiya’s, then head over for a burger at Jett’s Grill in the Paisano hotel. You also can’t go wrong with driving the loop between Alpine, Ft. Davis and Marfa — it’s a wonderful way to clear the head and stare out into the beautiful beyond.”

Simone Rubi
Owner, Do Your Thing
“I like to pick up a cold-brew coffee and snack from Do Your Thing, then hit the 2810 Ranch Road for a drive to experience the huge sky here in Marfa. I might stop into the gallery and shop the Wrong store to see what Camp Bosworth is working on and dish with Buck on the way.”

Virginia Lebermann
Marfa legend
“I think the perfect moments I have in Marfa are at Vicente and Ramona’s Friday night taco stand in Ramona’s garden behind Marfa Burrito. That’s a proper taco! Another favorite spot is on 2810: Just after the road turns to gravel and just before Pinto Canyon, there is a spot on the road where you can pull off the main two lanes and the sunset there brings your heart back to life.That’s the real deal!”

Jamey and Constance Garza
Garza Marfa
“Constance and I spend a lot of time at our showroom/workshop and are often there throughout the evening. But when we do leave work at a decent hour, we like to go to Maiya’s, sit at the bar and drink tequila on the rocks, enjoy a casual dinner and see who walks in … the best part of our community!”

Matthew Goudeau
Chinati Foundation
“Perhaps the best way to spend a Saturday morning in Marfa is at the Lumberyard. Here, I can pick up local vegetables and eggs at Farmstand. And although the line is always long at Ganka Kostadinova’s table, I’m overwhelmingly rewarded for my patience with the best croissant in all of West Texas, which I wash down with a really good coffee from Do Your Thing … a simple but magnificent start to my weekend.”

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  • Bering's Gift's June 2024 Grill Masters
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Tim Johnson
Marfa Book Co.
Favorite food: “For me, it’s a tie between the date pudding at Cochineal and the chicken fajita burrito at Mando’s.”
Favorite drink: “A glass of Laphroaig at the Paisano courtyard in honor of Donald Judd, who also drank it.”
Favorite thing to do: “Studio tour at the Judd Foundation, or the sunrise at the Chinati Foundation.”
Favorite shopping: “Tied between Freda and Mano — both would be considered great shops in any city.”

Meghan Gerety
Local Artist
Favorite Marfa activities: “Going for a long walk at the Dixon Water Foundation Ranch; browsing the cool rocks, crystals and fossils at the Moonlight Gemstones rock shop; and walking Judd’s concrete blocks at the Chinati Foundation.”

Zeke Raney
Marfa resident/architect
“At night: Ping pong, darts and the occasional Cumbia night at Planet Marfa. Can’t beat a game of air hockey and live music at Padres. Lastly, one of my personal favorites that most people don’t know about: Marfa and Ft. Davis are some of the darkest places in America, and nothing beats stargazing on 2810 Ranch Road. It’s known as the alternate viewing area for the Marfa lights — just don’t be surprised when border patrol rolls up wondering what you’re doing!”

Inspired by all things magical in Marfa? Recreate the weekend’s signature cocktail, a blood orange-habanero margarita dubbed La Mordia, using this recipe (courtesy of Krista Steinhauer of Marfa’s Comida Futura):

1/2 cup blood orange juice 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 
3 tablespoons habanero simple syrup
7 tablespoons Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila
1 tablespoon salt-sugar mixture
Splash of Topo Chico Aqua Mineral

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, juices and habanero simple syrup. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled. Place salt-sugar on a plate. Press the rim of a chilled rocks or wine glass into the mixture to rim the edge. Strain into the glass filled with ice. Top off with splash of Topo Chico.

Habanero simple syrup
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
2 quartered habanero peppers

Boil water in a small saucepan, slowly adding sugar and stirring until dissolved. Lower the heat to medium low and add habaneros. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and remove chiles.

Salt-sugar mixture
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Blend together, et voilà!

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