What’s new in Marfa, Texas? A lot more than you’d think, for a one-stoplight town with a population under 2,000.
Thanks to artist Donald Judd, who founded The Chinati Foundation (chinati.org) 30 years ago, Marfa has one of the largest permanent installations of contemporary art in the world. For years, people made the three-hour drive from the nearest airports to visit the foundation as well as the artist’s Judd Foundation (juddfoundation.org) for tours of his living and working spaces, spent the night, and left. But the past decade brought more reasons to stay—galleries, restaurants, shops, hotels and (relative) real-estate bargains—which is why it’s experiencing its version of a renaissance.
The West Texas town recently got its first high-end boutique hotel, Hotel Saint George (105 S. Highland Ave.)—with 55 rooms, works from local artists adorning the walls, a bustling lobby bar, and LaVenture, a fine dining restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Allison Jenkins, formerly of laV Restaurant & Wine Bar in East Austin. The Marfa Book Company has a new home in the lobby.
Local favorites Freda (207 S. Highland Ave.), where you can stock up on Pamela Love jewelry, No. 6 clogs and locally made goods, and hotel/campground El Cosmico’s boho-chic shop El Cosmico Provision Co. (802 S. Highland Ave.), with its hand-dyed wool blankets and Bandana bags by Rene Holguin, are joined by Mano (120 E. El Paso St.), offering handcrafted finds from silver guitar picks to vintage textiles, and Communitie (122 N. Highland Ave.), the brainchild of fashion designer John Patrick, carrying handwoven hats, artisanal jewelry, art and textiles. Marfa is also the only place to view the full range of Garza Marfa (103 N. Nevill St.) saddle-leather furniture.
Start your day with a coffee at Do Your Thing (201 E. Dallas St.) and breakfast at Marfa Burrito (515 S. Highland Ave.). Lunch spots are open only sporadically: Try Squeeze Marfa (111 W. Lincoln St.) for sandwiches, the legendary Food Shark Marfa (909 W. San Antonio St./Hwy. 90) truck for Mediterranean fare, and newcomer Marpho (1300 W. San Antonio St.) for báhn mì. Have killer cocktails and dinner at The Capri (601 W. San Antonio St.), where chef Rocky Barnette serves sophisticated Tex-Mex, or indulge in home-cooked small plates, which are the focus at Stellina (103 Highland St.), a new eatery from Brandon Messer and Krista Steinhauer, who co-founded Food Shark.
Insider’s tip: Many shops and restaurants are not open on a daily basis—to be safe, plan a weekend trip. • RENATA JAKUBAUSJKAS.
Edited by Jenny Murray.