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The "Other" Reata: Reata Restaurant in Alpine, Texas

by Magdalin Leonardo

All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo, email

No Dean fan's trip to Marfa would be complete without a visit to the Reata Restaurant in the neighboring town of Alpine. It's about 25 miles from Marfa, past the infamous site of the Marfa Lights. The drive there is spectacular; the scenery is just breathtaking. Travel east on Highway 90 and you'll head right into Alpine. You'll pass Tom's Patio & Country Cottage on your left. Make a left onto Highway 118 and you'll see Reata Restaurant on your left, just past the Cowboys and Cadillacs mall.

exterior of restaurant

As you may have guessed, this tempting home of "Texas Cowboy Cuisine" was inspired by the Benedict's home in the movie, "Giant." LIke the menu says, this legendary film, "captured the true flavor of the West." Reata Restaurant aims to do the same...and succeeds.

Reata logo

But even before you browse the menu, take a good look around you. Reata Restaurant is filled with timeless reminders from James Dean's last film. Just like "JR" emblazoned the empire of Jett Rink, so too does the familiar "R" logo adorn Reata. You'll find it everywhere -- not just on the menus, but on the lamps, dinner plates,and the adorable salt and pepper shakers that grace each table. Why, it's even engraved on the fancy leather check covers in a beautiful shade of burgundy!

Reata mural

There's a lot of cowboy art at the Reata, too, including four exquisitely-detailed murals by local artist Stylle Read. The most magnificent one of all is Reata's famous James Dean Mural, located in the outdoor dining area. This priceless painting, which features Jimmy on horseback in front of Reata's famed facade, blends so perfectly into the background you can almost reach out and touch him!

the patio

On a beautiful day, this gorgeous mural will most definitely enhance your dining pleasure. There's plenty of room and plenty of shade outside. And with Jimmy keeping you company, what more could a Dean fan ask for?

Inside Reata, there are two separate dining rooms, plus a bar area with additional seating. The sturdy wooden furniture that decorates each room is relatively nondescript, except for the chairs, which are comfortably covered in real cowhide.

All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo email

NEXT: Part Two of the Reata Restaurant in Alpine, Texas

Continue Your Voyage:

  1. Overview: Where the heck is Marfa?
  2. Getting There
  3. The Arcón Inn
  4. Part one, Reata Ruins
  5. Part two, The Ruins of Reata
  6. Little Reata
  7. El Paisano Hotel
  8. Borunda’s Bar and Grill
  9. Part One, Faces and Places
  10. Faces and Places Part Two
  11. “Jimmy Beans”
  12. Part One, Reata Restaurant, Alpine
  13. Reata Restaurant, Alpine, Part Two
  14. About the Author

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Logo graphics © copyright 1997 by Mark K. Kinnaman, artist to the fans.

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