Acosta Eats is a new local eatery with an old Marfa flavor

Left to right: Zandralina and her father, Saul, outside the new Acosta Eats. The Acosta family outside Acosta Grocery. A childhood photo of Zandralina’s father, Saul Lino Acosta. Photos courtesy of Zandralina Acosta

MARFA — Over 70 years ago, Erminia Carrasco Acosta ran a general store on East Dallas Street in Marfa, selling everything from milk and supplies to beautiful dresses. In the years after the Great Depression, Erminia realized some Marfa residents were struggling, and gave credit to families that couldn’t afford milk, tortillas and eggs, letting them pay her back when their paychecks came later.

Meanwhile, the widowed matriarch raised six kids, eventually sending all of them to college. One was Saul Acosta, who went on to raise his own children, including Zandralina Acosta.

Today, Zandralina has reopened the old general store building for a new purpose under similarly difficult conditions. The new restaurateur has created Acosta Eats, which serves up plates of Mexican food for hungry patrons.

Zandralina had been between jobs during coronavirus, and though she has a degree and career in mathematics and statistics, she started looking for something new to do. While back in Marfa to help her sister who has a newborn, Zandralina saw the opportunity to cook and serve some of her favorite family meals. “It’s hard to get a job, but I always like to stay moving and stay active,” she said.

And so Acosta Eats was born. Plates are affordable, the menu is short and changes frequently, and the restaurant is usually open Tuesdays and Fridays only. This Friday she’ll be selling rice and tostadas – plain or with chicken.

Growing up, Zandralina would visit her tía Catarina’s house in town, “and she would always have breakfast, lunch and dinner ready for us,” she said. “Now I feel grateful that I’m able to switch those roles and am cooking and am able to bring my aunt something for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Even though Zandralina never got to meet her grandmother, she feels connected to her, especially running a business in the former general store. After all that her grandmother lived through, “she still managed to stay positive,” Zandralina reflected. “The way my dad talks about her really makes me understand how he raised us, because it’s exactly how she raised him.”

On her first day running Acosta Eats, “I ran across people who were really supportive with me, and I could see how Marfa supports one another, how all the local businesses support each other, and that’s something that reminded me of how my dad explained how it was back then.”