Travel Destinations

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Best Restaurants for Local Food in Bishop California

Chile Monster Burger Bishop Burger Barn Best Restaurants in Bishop California

When you first drive into Bishop, what stands out the most along the main drag are the signs for brand name hotels and chain restaurants.  Look a little closer and you’ll find there’s a lot more to Bishop, especially in the food department.  Amongst the Denny’s and the Carl’s Jr. there are some local gems that will make your trip to Bishop a culinary delight.  During our weekend getaway, we ate at some of the best restaurants in Bishop which we think are must-visits for any food lovers traveling to Bishop. 

Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ

Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ Best Restaurants in Bishop California

No trip to Bishop is complete without a visit to Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ.  Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ is a fixture of Bishop.  Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ is famous for baking the Original Sheepherder Bread.  During the California Gold Rush, sheepherders of Owens Valley, from Bakersfield to Bridgeport, made this special bread from their homeland.  Bishop’s original bakery made this bread.  The bakery was sold to Erick Schat’s father, a baker from Holland whose family tree is filled with bakers, in the 1950s, along with the secret original recipe for the Original Sheepherder Bread.  While there are other bakeries that make sheepherder bread, it can’t be the same as one of the important ingredients is Bishop’s water from the Sierras.

Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ Bread Best Restaurants in Bishop California
Photo published with the permission of Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ.  Photos and video are not allowed inside the bakery.
The bakery is filled with shelves, tables, and display cases of baked goods.  We weaved through the shelves of freshly baked loaves of bread to the back of the shop where sandwiches are made to order.  The number one sandwich on the menu board is the carved roast turkey on sheepherder bread.  Want to know where the carved roast turkey came from?  Not from a package.  I watched as the turkey for my sandwich was sliced off the breast of a whole roasted turkey still steaming hot from the oven.  The combination of the warm turkey, crisp lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and cranberry sauce on freshly baked sheepherder bread with its delicate, soft middle and crispy, crunchy crust was perfect.  Another popular choice at Schat’s is the hot pastrami on caraway rye bread.

After enjoying one of Erick Schat's Bakkerÿ’s sandwiches, be sure to wander around the store and see all the treats, which include delights like Bacon Chili Cheese bread, pullaway cake, cookies, and strudel.  There are usually a few samples available too.  You’ll even find non-bakery items like beef jerky, candy, and wine made by the owner.

Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ

Patty Hollon Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ Best Restaurants in Bishop California

When you walk into Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ, you’ll probably see a line and you’ll probably see owner Patty Hollon smiling behind the counter.  Patty’s family moved from Germany to Texas when she was eight years old.  She met her husband and co-owner Steve Hollon in Texas and she says they fell in love while two-stepping.  The Hollons serve Texas-style barbecue to their patrons in a casual eatery of booths and shared picnic-style tables.  Steve’s in the back of the house, the good food is his, and Patty’s in the front of the house, the happy ambiance is hers.

Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ Sampler Platter Best Restaurants in Bishop California

We had a sampler platter so we could have a taste of as many items off the menu as possible.  Our sampler platter had brisket, the first thing Steve perfected when he started dabbling in barbecue 20 years ago, pork ribs, tri-tip, and pork.  Our sides included homemade mac n’ cheese, potato salad, and coleslaw.  The meat was tender and flavorful and the sauces were perfect.  But what really stood out to me were the sides, as many times those can be just an afterthought.  The potato salad and coleslaw, which can be sides that just taste like mayonnaise, tasted fresh with layers of flavor.  I consider myself a mac n’ cheese connoisseur and I was so happy Rome didn’t want any so I could enjoy every cheesy bite accentuated by the crispy browned edges.

Bishop Burger Barn

Bishop Burger Barn Best Restaurants in Bishop California

The Bishop Burger Barn is a funky restaurant serving quality burgers.  When we parked in the dirt parking lot we were tickled to see a drive-thru sign.  As Bishop Burger Barn consists of a shack where you place your order at an outside window while the food is cooked inside, and tables are scattered around outside, with just a few inside in an upstairs room, we assumed the drive-thru sign was a joke.  But they actually do serve drive-thru customers, who have a place in line amongst the standing customers.

Bread Making Bishop Burger Barn Best Restaurants in Bishop

The Bishop Burger Barn’s burgers are made with grass-fed beef and placed in fresh baked buns made onsite.  Other ingredients include bacon from the local Mahogany Smoked Meats, established in 1922, and locally grown produce.  Milkshakes are made with homemade ice cream.  We shared the Chile Monster burger (New Mexico green chiles, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and bacon) with onion rings (made with real onions) and a horchata milkshake.

Mountain Rambler Brewery

Mountain Rambler Brewery Tacos Best Restaurants in Bishop California

Bishop has one lone craft brewery.  And it has some good beer.  But the other thing it has is some good food.  We were in Bishop over a holiday weekend, so Mountain Rambler Brewery was busier than normal.  While standing in line to place our order, I struck up a conversation with the gentleman behind me.  He said he and his wife have stopped in for dinner at Mountain Rambler Brewery a few times, but he had never seen it so busy.  He also said he really enjoyed the food, but he did describe it as a weird menu.  While the menu wouldn’t be thought of as too weird in San Diego, I saw what he meant.  The eclectic menu includes items like Thai meatballs, squash empanadas, soft pretzels, flat bread, tacos, burgers, and bratwurst.  We say go to Mountain Rambler Brewery for the beer, but stay for the food.

The Village Café

The Village Cafe French Toast Best Restaurants in Bishop California

We stayed at the Best Western Bishop Lodge, which offered a free breakfast, but we heard that an excellent breakfast could be had at The Village Café, so we had to check it out one morning.  The Village Café is a casual eatery that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it seems like the big draw is breakfast.  The restaurant looks more like a small house and tables are scattered through a couple different rooms.  The Village Café has a large menu of both sweet and savory breakfast dishes.  I opted for sweet with thick French toast with a sausage patty on the side, because I had heard the chef makes his own sausage, and syrup served in a Corona bottle.  Rome opted for a savory breakfast with eggs, sausage, and hash browns.  Our breakfast was tasty and satisfying and a great start for a day of hiking and exploring Bishop’s big backyard. 

Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ Best Restaurants in Bishop California

Bishop has a few other restaurants we didn’t get a chance to try, like the Back Alley Bowling Bar & Grill, which we were told serves a really good dinner despite its location in the local bowling alley.  While we haven't tried them all, these five restaurants are some of the best restaurants for local food in Bishop, California.  So skip the fast food and chain restaurants and add these restaurants to your Bishop itinerary.

Thank you to the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau for hosting our trip to Bishop, California and making this post possible.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Travel the World: The best restaurants in Bishop California for local food.

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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.