New Mexico April 09, 2017
The Remote Restaurant In New Mexico With The Most Fascinating Story
The community of Tres Piedras is a speck on the map between Taos and Chama. It’s easy to blow right through this tiny town, on your way up US-285 toward the Colorado border. However, that would be a mistake because there’s a restaurant here that’s more than just a pit stop; it’s a destination.
Chili Line Depot got its name because the building housing this restaurant was once a bar and dancehall, situated on the old Chili Line Railroad.
The Chili Line was part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and it was unusual because it had narrow-gauge tracks.
Built near the end of the 19th century, this corridor was intended to be the railway’s main line connecting Denver to the Mexican border. However, that dream proved unrealistic and, during the 1940s, the Chili Line was abandoned.
This building wasn’t converted into a restaurant right away. Instead it served as New Mexico’s first roller skating rink! It has also been used as a movie theater.
Now the Chili Line Depot is a restaurant...
...That also offers a couple of hotel rooms...
...And a bunkroom.
This place has to be a one-stop shop because there’s nothing else around.
Tres Piedras is convenient to the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument so, while the area is blessed with wilderness and natural beauty galore, amenities are harder to come by.
Despite the lack of competition, the restaurant’s food is stellar. If you’re around for breakfast, a smothered burrito is the way to go.
Later in the day, try a pulled pork sandwich or a green chile cheeseburger. The burgers are delicious because the owners make them using their own grass-fed beef.
Be sure to save room for dessert. Good luck choosing between a decadent cinnamon roll…
…And a hunk of homemade carrot cake.
As you savor your food, look around you and marvel at the many different purposes this one building has served throughout history.
You’ll find Chili Line Depot at 38429 Highway 285 in Tres Piedras.
Have you ever eaten here?
If you’re a railway fan, continue on to Chama, where you can take the
best train ride in the nation. More interested in out-of-the-way dining? Then check out these other small New Mexico towns with amazing restaurants.