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Eats & Drinks


The Tamale Lady
While this section covers the restaurants you can expect to find, and each with its own pro tip, it's important to us to first include a mention of Maria, THE Tamale Lady, and this is maybe the best pro tip of them all. Maria drives a maroon Nissan Xterra all over Terlingua and Study Butte daily with a cooler full of the best fresh, handmade hot tamales you'll find anywhere.


She typically offers pollo (chicken) and puerca (pork) and they are $12/dozen, cash only. They are the perfect snack, already wrapped for travel, and delicious hot or cold. She's probably the hardest working woman in the Big Bend, and if she doesn't find you first, look for her parked at the Big Bend Motor Inn gas station, the post office, or anywhere people are.

Open daily until she runs out.

Starlight Theater
This former movie theater from the mining boom era is located in the heart of the ghost town and offers a full bar and live music every night of the week (they do not serve lunch). It has a great menu with steaks, salads, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, brisket, Terlingua chili, and more.


The bar and its patio will give you some of the most legit people-meeting or watching experiences you can get out here—highly recommended. 

Open daily from 5PM–Midnight, 1AM Saturdays
Happy Hour from 5–7PM
Brunch on Sundays 11AM–3PM (seasonally October–May)

Long Draw Pizza

Under new ownership as of 2022, a few miles west of the Ghost Town. The place is loaded with photos and past chili cook-off memorabilia and is a favorite of many locals and regular visitors alike. Alcohol is served as well. Dang good pizza. 

Open 4PM–9PM Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri and 11a-9pm Sat/Sun. Closed Tuesdays. 

Chili Pepper Cafe
Located adjacent to the Terlingua post office just off 118 in Study Butte, Chili Pepper is your go-to for traditional Mexican food for breakfast, lunch, and early dinner. Look for breakfast favorites like migas and chilaquiles as well as omelets and pancakes, or tacos al carbon and enchiladas for later in the day, although most of the menu is available as long as they're open. 

Open 7 days a week from 8AM–9PM

High Sierra Bar and Grill
The closest thing to an Old West saloon you might find out here. Interesting decor, quirky service, and a kitchen staff who knows how to make some great Mexican food. The Los Gringos Alambre tacos are one of our staples, and they make a great chicken-fried steak. 


Open daily from 12pm-2am 

Rio Bravo

Food truck located on 118 in Study Butte across from the Cottonwood grocery, Rio Bravo serves up their traditional Mexican food, including some vegetarian dishes, and some of the best Chile Rellenos around. 


Open Mon–Sat 6am-9pm.


DB's Rustic Iron BBQ

If you are looking for a delicious, authentic Texas BBQ experience, DB has got you covered. DBs recently moved to the ghosttown at 10 Terlingua Ghost Town Rd into a brand new building (with AC). Brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork and daily specials like smoked burgers and loaded baked potatoes, along with the proper sides like potato salad, coleslaw, and beans. He now serves beer as well. Check their facebook or instagram page for specials. 


Open Tuesday through Sunday 11AM until at least 10pm and Sunday from 3-10pm. 

Canyon Brew Coffee 

Located on the front of the Far Flung Outdoor Center main office, this coffee shop is staffed by a revolving cast of FFOC employees and river guides who know as much about coffee as they do about the Río. Open early in the morning and until things get slow,Open daily from 7AM until they close, typically around 11AM

Little Dipper Food Truck

Located off 118 in Study Butte at the Paisano Village RV park, the Little Dipper serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Serving breakfast burritos, Mexican food, chili, burgers, etc. Has quickly become a local favorite. 

Hours can vary but usually open 7am-2pm 7 days a week. Check their facebook page for current hours. 

Big Bend Motor Inn Restaurant
Classic diner fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and daily host to many longtime locals. It’s located inside the Big Bend Motor Inn gas station and store in Study Butte, and you'll enter the doors to the left of the gas station counter. This place is old school, so seat yourself, don't be in a hurry, enjoy your meal, then pay at the counter and tip at the table. Also, this is the only place to get gas outside of the National Park or the Lajitas General Store. They have grab n' go food as well. 

Open daily from 6:45AM–9PM, but restaurant hours vary by season.

Tivo’s Restaurant
Quiet little Mexican restaurant located about 10 miles north of Study Butte on TX 118 at the Longhorn RV Park. Great spot if you are staying at or near Terlingua Ranch and don't want to drive all the way into town. Pro tip: CASH ONLY, no ATM.

Call ahead at (432) 371-2133 for hours and info.

Bad Rabbit Cafe - Terlingua Ranch
Burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and more. This is the only restaurant out in Terlingua Ranch, and is located adjacent to the Ranch office and Lodge. Inexpensive, cold Lone Star, incredible murals on the walls. Great spot way out there. Also, you can swim in the cold springwater pool for $5 if you’re not a guest at the lodge.

Tuesday    7AM–7PM
Wednesday    7AM–9PM
Thursday    7AM–9PM
Friday    7AM–9PM
Saturday    7AM–9PM
Sunday    7AM–2PM
Monday    7AM–7PM

Candelilla Restaurant/Thirsty Goat Saloon
Lajitas, TX

Located at the Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa, about a 15-minute drive west of Terlingua, just past the Big Bend Ranch State Park Barton Warnock Visitor Center, on the south side of the highway. Upscale, more pricey than Terlingua, but great food, good service, and great views. Full bar, lunch and dinner menus, awesome queso. Typically a nice getaway, very different from Terlingua. Pro tip: ask about the rowboat at the old 17th hole on the golf course.

Open every day for lunch and dinner, call ahead at (432) 424-5033.


Cottonwood General Store
Maybe you forgot a few things, want to make your own dinner, or need snacks and water on your way to the National Park. The only grocery store around is located in Study Butte on TX 118, a few miles before the BBNP main entrance. It is truly an amazing place with everything from fresh produce to frozen foods and ice cream, beer, wine, ice, eggs, firewood, and even power tools and horse feed. If they don't have it, you probably aren't getting it here. If you are vegetarian or vegan, Cottonwood does carry some selection, but your best bet is to bring what you like or stop at Blue Water Natural Foods in Alpine on your way down south. Some vegetarian options are available at a few of the local restaurants. Pro tip: no ATM here, but a good place to break a $100 bill.

Open Monday–Friday 7AM–9PM, Saturday–Sunday 8AM–9PM

Shot Time Liquor
In Texas, liquor by the bottle can only be sold at a liquor store, not in a grocery store or convenience store like many other states. Yes, it’s an antiquated law that does cause some inconvenience, but with knowledge of this and proper planning, you’ll be sipping tequila with not a care in the world. Shot Time Liquor is the ONLY liquor store around, and luckily for you (and us!) they keep a great selection of spirits, beer, and wine on hand and they’re happy to sell it to you. Along with the booze, you can also grab ice, cigarettes, light snacks, and more. 

Open daily 10AM–9PM, closed Sundays

Big Bend Ranch
State Park
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The 'other' great park in the Big Bend.

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 Casa Patron

Possibly the most luxurious lodging in Terlingua.

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Many times, talking to a local is the best way to get either the most accurate information or a bunch of directions that you think you understand but then try to navigate and realize you have no idea how to interpret.


Terlingua is full of friendly people, and they love telling you their favorite spots and stories of the history of this place and their time in it. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if you find yourself lost or confused. Most will be glad to oblige.

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