After a 6.5 hour, nasty fast food-filled drive from Austin to Marfa, my traveling companion—Shelby—and I were ready for some real grub. We did some exploring, for sure, driving around the tiny grid that is ‘downtown’ Marfa. The uniqueness of the town is matched only by its food scene. Although we spent fewer than 24 hours in the town, we wasted no time filling ourselves with the best eats and drinks Marfa has to offer.
Frama + Tumbleweed Laundry
After 7 hours on the road, our first stop was an afternoon pick-me up from Frama—a local coffee shop, ice cream shop and laundromat. Frama (spoiler alert: it’s not Italian, “Frama” is just an anagram for Marfa) is tucked away near the intersection of Austin Street and Texas Street. We couldn’t say no.
The building is actually one half coffee shop, one half laundromat, owned and operated under the same roof. Our barista was friendly and fashionable, and we felt like we had been transplanted into the coffeeshops that we’ve been spoiled with as Austinites. Another great thing about the coffeeshop? Its hours: Frama is open from 8 am until 8 pm, which is hard to find in such a small town.
Shelby ordered a simple iced passion tea. I went out on a limb, though, and ordered an iced coffee, brewed with locally roasted beans from Big Bend Coffee Roasters, a local 100% organic and fair trade coffee company that has garnered both local and national attention for its richness and simplicity.
After our trip to a few local tourist attractions, it was time for a beer. And what better place than Planet Marfa—a beer garden that is as unique as the beer we had there. Planet Marfa is best described as E. 6th’s Shangri-La, if Shangri-La had a treehouse and a giant yurt that you were encouraged to drink in. We both enjoyed Big Bend Brewing Company’s No. 22 Porter—a dark, smooth and malty beer that seemed all the richer from inside the yurt.
Dinner was at Jett’s Grill inside the historic Hotel Paisano. The hotel is famous for being the filming location of “Giant,” a 1956 film starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. The food, although less famous, was no less impressive. I had chile rellenos stuffed with cheese, which were the perfect blend of spicy and crunchy, with a warm melted cheese center. Shelby had the portobello mushroom burger on a giant bun with avocado slices and vegetables, and fries that were to die for. My old fashioned was perfect; Shelby’s spicy Texas Margarita could have knocked Big Tex on his ass.
All in all, our three stops proved without a doubt that fresh, high-quality, local food can be found even in the West Texas desert.