Tex-Mex, New Mexican, BBQ, biscuits and gravy, oh my! Be it schussing down the slopes of Red River Ski area in the winter or peak bagging in the summer, with all the outdoor activities to choose from, you’ll certainly work up an appetite. Luckily for a town of only 477, there are a lot of amazing restaurants in Red River New Mexico to pick from. To help find what you’re looking for, here’s our guide to some of our favorites that we enjoyed during our time here.
A Time Capsule
While it’s true that tourist destinations, be it ski-town meccas like Breckenridge or beach towns like St. Pete Beach, check off the list of things you look for in a vacation spot, they also seem watered down. You always wonder what it must’ve been like before the crowds. The traffic. The hefty price tags. Red River is one of those places that still has its soul left intact. Affordable for families and yet funky enough to make you want to come back. It’s no wonder that their motto is “New Mexico True.”
Breakfast & Lunch Spots
Be it after a long night of revelry at the Motherlode Saloon or just a big day planned outside, there are a few restaurants in Red River New Mexico that focus on serving breakfast and early lunch.
Old Tymer’s Cafe
If there’s such a thing as a “biker’s café”, this would be it. From the inside and out, walls are adorned with biker memorabilia including lots from Sturgis. Within its tight confines, you’ll find exceptional service, a welcoming atmosphere, and what might be the best breakfast in town.
Be sure to bring your appetite as just a single pancake is the size of a pizza and over an inch thick. It’s terrifyingly huge! And yet it was tasty. Fluffy and yet chewy like a good Hawaiian bread. If you’re feeling up to it, they have a food challenge: eat three of these monsters in under an hour. Good luck! It’s no wonder it was on the TV show Man vs Food. For carnivores, be sure to order their homemade breakfast sausage patty. It’s to die for!
Don’t blink or you may miss this cozy spot on Red River’s main drag. It may look small from the outside, but it packs a BIG wallop in the flavor department especially if you like BBQ. The menu is pretty straight forward but there are a few hidden nuggets to keep your eyes peeled for. For the morning meal, their breakfast burrito can come served up with brisket and green chiles. A mix of Texas and New Mexican cuisine together in one bite. They also serve a lunch variation that is legit as well, but for your mid-day cravings, it’s all about the platters and baskets of roasted meats. How good is it? With the primary visitor being from Oklahoma and Texas, you know that if you serve up BBQ, it better not just be good… but pretty damn amazing.
The epitome of a classic sit-down breakfast diner. This isn’t a spot to expect food fast, but an opportunity to enjoy conversation. Sip on a cup of coffee and feel the vibe of the town. Plates are HUGE especially for the price. Their menu covers the full spectrum from grits to healthy options to satisfy the pickiest of eater. For those that have a sweet tooth, they typically have cinnamon rolls, apple fritters, and occasionally an assortment of old school donuts.
There’s a good chance you skipped lunch or just got a quick bite to eat. Celebrate a day of fun. Get ready for a night of dancing at the Motherlode (more on that below in our après section). No matter your plans, these places are worth the time for a great dinner out.
Texas Reds Steakhouse
If there’s an institution in Red River outside of the ski area, it’s Texas Reds. The interior is like your favorite flannel and a worn in pair of jeans. A perfect level of comfort for going out. Even though you’re surrounded by a hundred others, you’ll feel like you’re with family.
Named after an outlaw that traded all his loot from a train robbery for a good steak and a bottle of whiskey. As the name suggests, this is where you go to get a steak. For more than five decades, they’ve been serving up classic Western foods like charbroiled steaks, prime rib, and even elk burgers. Even if you aren’t a carnivore, they offer vegan burgers on the menu as well as trout with a side of wild rice.
Hankering a taste of something a bit different when in town? Head off the main drag to Sundance. Located in a “honey” colored building, the interior’s pine wood paneling reminded me of my grandma’s house. A sanctuary from the chaos of the day. Homey and comfortable.
The food is as fusion of their own flavors. A dash of New Mexican, a pinch of Tex-Mex, and a healthy dollop of flavor. You can tell they take great pride in the ingredients and dishes. The highlight of our meal was the stuffed sopapilla. It was like a cheesy taco meets a torta sandwich. The Agave wine margarita is a MUST! Wine meets margarita, it goes well with any of the spicy dishes you pick.
Apres & Drinks
Looking for a spot to just chill after a day on the slopes or exploring the wilderness? These places serve amazing food but it’s the atmosphere that makes you come back again and again.
Red River Brewing Company
For ambience, this is the place to go. Firepits outside to hang out and sip on one of their many crafted beers. In addition to the barley pops, they also serve up a wide choice of food. One of the unique items on the menu is a French Toast Grilled Cheese. As the name dictates, the bread is like French toast, and you dip it into raspberry jam.
The Grill At The Lift House
Situated at the base of “The Face”, the Lift House is where everyone typically finishes their day off. As the sun begins to set, this is where Red River’s ski scene becomes a spectator sport. Folks done for the day post up on the patio enjoying a cold one and take in the carnage on one of the steeper trails on the mountain. Every time someone takes a marvelous crash or fall, the crowd erupts with hoots, hollers, and heckles just like out of a Warren Miller film.
Alongside the slopeside entertainment, the food is surprisingly off the hook. We had the Nashville Hot Buffalo Chicken sandwich, and it was crunchy, tender, and juicy. We heard a couple next to us remarking on how good the chicken wings were as well. Maybe because we’ve been jaded over the years from mega-resorts, but to get a good meal and a good Bloody Mary on the slopes without having to get a 2nd mortgage is refreshing. One thing to note, be aware that they close at 6 pm.
Last, but in no way the least. This is the epitome of the “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The exterior is worn from decades of weather. The interior reminded me of the Bob’s Country Bunker in the Blue’s Brothers. I could hear the lady from the film saying “We got both kinds. Country AND Western.”
This is where the similarities disappear. Instead of unwelcoming, the atmosphere is energetic and upbeat. Drinks are affordable and the music selection, while leaning towards country, is upbeat and a mix of genres. A dash of rock. A pinch of Blues. We can’t say enough about this music venue. Regardless of who’s playing… go! We guarantee you’ll have a good time.
Additional Spots We Didn’t Get To
We only had a couple of days in Red River on our ski tour along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway and have to say this town was by far the biggest surprise to us. Epic skiing with no people. Tons of great music and a shocking number of restaurants. Besides the ones we called out above, they literally have every type of cuisine you could think of. Capos serves up Italian food. Dairy bar is your go to spot for a quick burger. And to get a slice, head to Sky High Pies.
Vine + Dine
The newest addition to the already amazing portfolio of restaurants in Red River New Mexico. Like all great foodie destinations, you need to cover the full spectrum of options. From cheap eats up to gourmet dishes. What will become Red River’s ONLY wine bar (in the process of obtaining their license to serve beer/wine/cocktails – targeting by the first part of September) serves the latter.
The interior features bright pine walls adorned with colorful artwork in an open and airy setting. Based on their Facebook posts, dishes include mouthwatering options based on the freshest ingredients available that day. Items like a house made spinach, ham & smoked gouda quiche or a mango chicken salad sandwich with sweet poppyseed kale salad. The next time we’re in Red River, we will make it a point to have a meal here.
Bull O’ the Woods Saloon
Alongside Motherlode which has been around since the mid-30s, this saloon is the other pillar of the nightlife scene in town. Founded in 1939, this watering hole has given visitors and locals alike a place to wet their whistle. You’ll find a pool table, shuffleboard, TVs showing today’s game, and outdoor fires to just soak up the evening sky.
Talk about punching above your weight when it comes to food. We’ve been to plenty of ski towns and resort villages that have thousands more residents and visitors that don’t even come close to Red River. Maybe because it’s not near a big city or hours from a corporate restaurant. No matter the reason, we’re glad that the restaurant scene in Red River New Mexico is alive and doing well.