You can’t go wrong with fried crickets, mezcal, and food trucks

by DGO Web Administrator

“Check it out. We just got a new jar of chapulines,” the bartender tells me with a shit-eating grin on his face as he hands me a tiny clay bowl filled with chili-and-lime-dusted crickets. Without hesitation, I dive my greedy fingers into the bowl and pop a few in my mouth. The garlicky snack bursts as I bite down on the crunchy exterior. It’s rich and oily on the inside, coating my palate with a smoky, spicy flavor. Your first thought might be GROSS (and then, probably, gross a few more times), but trust me: There’s no better way to strike up a conversation with a stranger at the bar than over a pile of deep-fried crickets and a mezcal flight.

I’m not talking about the worm-in-the-bottle swill we all brought back from spring break when we were in college, either. Ernie’s Bar at 11th Street Station has over 35 different kinds of sippable, conversation-worthy mezcal. If you don’t know what you like, you can order a taster flight – mezcals from the coast or the mountains, lightly-smoked varieties, or a mixed option. I choose the latter and receive a wooden board topped with three heavy glasses, each filled with a half-ounce of mystery liquid.

As I ponder how distinct the three options are, the bartender explains that, unlike tequila (which only uses blue agave), mezcal is a smoky concoction made from any one of over 300 varieties of agave plants. Like wine, it takes on the terroir of the fruit, adding sweet, herbal, spicy, vegetal, or fruity notes depending on the plant’s elevation, amount of rainfall, and mineral content in the soil. I can’t decide which is my favorite: the clear one with a crisp finish, the super-smoky one that reminds me of scotch, or the one that’s caramelized from age in the barrel. Or, do I like the salty, fresh-tasting option from a coastal town better than the sweet and spicy variety made at high altitude?

It’s options like this that keep me coming back to 11th Street Station. I hate to be predictable, but if you asked me to meet you for a drink right now, I’d suggest we go there. Until last October, the corner of 11th and Main had nothing to do with food or beverage at all. Starting out as a gas station in the ’20s, the space filled Durango’s vehicles for over 50 years until it shuttered its doors. Jaime Wisner saw the potential when he purchased the property in the late ’80s, and was just waiting for an opportunity to restore it to its original glory.

I’d say co-owners Jaime and his son, Marcos, have done just that by creating Durango’s first food truck collective. The location is home to seven individual businesses, including Ernie’s Bar (an ode to the man who ran the gas station back in the ’50’s), Taste Coffee, and a number of food trucks. There’s really something for everyone. If a tray full of mezcal and crickets isn’t your bag, they’ve got 12 rotating craft beer and cider taps, along with a number of wine and cocktails options. If you’re there early enough, you can grab a breakfast burrito and a nitro cold-brew from the coffee shop. Later in the day, you won’t have to decide what you’re in the mood to eat. I’m sure you’ll figure it out when your choices include pho, pizza, sliders, curry, tacos, barbecue, or sushi. And, you really can’t go wrong with their late-night happy hour deal of a $6 beer and a shot.

In addition to variety, there’s also something indescribably cool about the space. The open garage doors provide proof that you’re inside an old service station, along with the hubcap-lined walls and old gasoline pumps that decorate the patio. Well-landscaped planter boxes line the fence, and roped lights dangle above the oversized umbrellas, providing shade to every table, no matter the time of day. Whether you choose to sit inside at one of the old bowling lane tables or grab a seat amongst the picnic tables outside, you’re bound to run into an old friend (or, make a new one) at this community watering hole.

If you walk around the back of the building, you’ll find what’s next for 11th Street Station. They just completed construction of a 2,500 square foot patio. In addition to adding 100 extra seats to the Station, the space will function as a community hub and event center – a place to host exclusive events, special dinners, weddings, fundraisers, or private parties. It will have a conveniently located outdoor bar, and The Box, a food truck that previously only made pizza in its wood-fired oven, has geared up with a full kitchen to provide catering for the new space.

Join 11th Street Station on August 18th for the patio opening. The party will also serve as the location’s (much anticipated) grand opening party. After waiting ten months to throw it, you know that’s gonna be one good party.

Lindsay D. Mattison is a professional chef and food writer living in Durango. She enjoys long walks in the woods, the simplicity of New York-style cheese pizza, and she’s completely addicted to Chapstick. Contact her at [email protected].


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.


On Key

Related Posts

DGO November 2023 Page 04 Image 0001

Gobble, gobble, pass?

Celebrating Thanksgiving, stoner style Gobble, gobble, pass? Thanksgiving is approaching, and this year, we’re about to roll up something truly special. As we prepare to

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles

Explore the weed life with DGO Magazine

Contact Information

Find Us Here:

Leave us a message