When planning a trip to Bend Bend, figuring out what you’re going to eat is just as important as mapping out what you’re going to do. From where to stop on your way in or out of the park to what foods to pack and bring along, we’ve got all your hunger bases covered.
Where to Eat
Craft brews and barbecue—what meal could be more Texan? The most remote brewery in the entire country, Brick Vault is truly an oasis in the Chihuahuan Desert. With brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and more, washed down with a pint or two of the six beers on tap, this nano-brewery is the spot you’ll want to visit for a full belly before or after Big Bend. 102 Northwest 1st St. #90W, Marathon, TX 79842
Don’t let this small spot or small menu (only seven items) fool you: Everything at Marfa Burrito is handmade, from the fluffy flour tortillas to all the fixings that are rolled up in them right in front of you! Ramona Tejada has been “The Burrito Queen” of Marfa for over 30 years and has received high praise from locals and celebrity tourists like Matthew McConaughey and the late Anthony Bourdain. 515 S. Highland Ave., Marfa, TX 79843
If you’re bringing your dog along on your outdoor adventure, The Water Stop has a spacious and shaded patio to grab a bite to eat. This unassuming place isn’t your average pit stop—here, you’ll find salade niçoise, shrimp ceviche tostadas, and rotisserie chicken that’s so good, Bon Appétit did a full write-up about it. 1300 W. San Antonio St., Marfa, TX 79843
Housed in an 1890 adobe just off Alpine’s main drag, you’ll find one of the few fine dining restaurants in the area. Serving true Southwest Texan cuisine, you’ll find upscale tenderloin tamales, carne asada enchiladas, chicken-fried burgers, and bacon-wrapped crab. But if you’re not planning a trip out to Big Bend anytime soon, they also have a restaurant in Fort Worth! 203 N. 5th St., Alpine, TX 79830
After hitting the hiking trails and outdoor fun, this is the place to carbo-load with a variety of pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Offering laid-back and casual Italian fare, some of the must-haves at Guzzi Up include the famous hand-tossed pizzas, meatball marinara sandwich, tomato basil soup, rosemary chicken ravioli, and garlic basil penne pasta. Bonus: This place is open on Mondays when so many other nearby restaurants are closed! 202 W. Holland Ave., Alpine, TX 79830
What to Make
Crisp, tender, and crunchy, this sandwich from Martha Stewart Living is a texture and flavor bomb! Juicy roasted turkey breast, tart apple slices, and extra-sharp cheddar cheese all served between slices of toasty whole-grain bread serves as a delicious reward during your day in the park.
This is not your average Chex Mix. This is “Texas Trash,” buttery and coated with Creole spices, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and seasoned salt. The Anthony Kitchen suggests using classics like a variety of Chex cereals, bagel chips, rye chips, pretzel sticks, and Bugles. But if you’re feeling a little adventurous, try adding Cheerios, nuts, Goldfish, or sesame sticks to the mix as well!
We’re big fans of salty and sweet trail mixes, and this recipe from Baked Greens transforms it into a cookie! Made with 10 simple pantry ingredients, you just mix in your favorite store-bought trail mix or your own combo of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate. These will satisfy your sugar craving and keep you energized during any kind of outdoor adventure.
Want a change from soggy veggie sticks in a baggie as your mid-hike snack? This mix between a bean salad and a salsa from Alice Kormanik is just the thing you need to both refresh and refuel you. You’re free to pack it up and insulate it with ice, but even if it melts, it tastes great at almost any temperature. Bring along a bag of tortilla chips for dipping—just try to keep air in the bag so they don’t get crushed.
Squished sandwiches on a hiking picnic can be a big letdown, but it’s almost a requirement for this huge sandwich from Eating Richly that feeds six! The smushing is actually built into this recipe to make it ultra durable by hollowing out a round bread loaf. The crusty exterior shell then safely and snugly holds marinated artichoke hearts, tomatoes, red onions, turkey breast, salami, cheese, and olives.