Big Progress

It has been a long time since I posted an update.  I was bored of saying that we were about to put the roof on and then it didn’t happen.  The electricity is being installed and then it didn’t happen.  We are laying concrete floors and then it didn’t happen so I decided to break the pattern.  Just as I was about to post I had to take a trip to Salt Lake City (that caused me to delay by another week) to collect the new barbecue pit and then snowmageddon ensued and it looked like we would be trapped in Salt lake City until they dug us out around June.

Near Shiprock
A Monadnock Near Shiprock, New Mexico

As I have some slight skill at looking at weather reports I looked at the forecast and at the radar and then at the IR satellite and it appeared to me that there was a sliver of countryside stretching from SLC to Las Vegas that was snow free and would remain that way long enough for us to beat a hasty retreat.  We left Salt Lake City in heavy fog with it alternately snowing and raining, blowing a gale and the temperature plummeting.  By detouring to Las Vegas we got home just half a day later than we had planned, in good weather all the way and with a smile on our faces, whereas we would have been delayed for days and would certainly not have been smiling if we had tried to retrace our steps.

The new barbecue pit is huge and will be perfect.  It is wood fired with no gas or electric assist.  It is built like a tank and has a reputation for being the absolutely best commercial barbeque pit of all time.  The fire pit is outside the kitchen while the food is inside, which keeps the logs and ash where they belong and the food is in an environment that the health inspector will approve of.  It can cook 1,000 pound of brisket at one time or it can cook a totally ridiculous number of chickens or ribs.

A J&R 700 Oyler Barbeque Pit. The trailer will be repurposed after the pit is installed.


Here is a quick status report of the rebuilding effort:

Electricity.  Installed and working and the old power lines have been removed.  The electricians have provided a temporary supply to my two RV’s and to the crew working on La Kiva and they have made a good start on installing things like the emergency generator automatic start, the supply changeover box and the breaker boxes .

Water.  I now have city water to my RV and also to La Kiva.  YeeHaw.  I no longer have to haul water.  That is huge.


The big trench is finally closed and I now have a way of getting a well drillers rig close enough for them to pull the pump from the long defunct water well and get that refurbished.  A well to water the vegetation!  We may once more see grapes growing at La Kiva and cotton woods in the parking lot.

Many of the viga’s are now in place and are being cemented into the structure.  They smell divine and look pretty substantial.


Work is well advanced in getting the foundations and plumbing for the rest rooms built.  The forms for the concrete rest room pad, the dry storage room and the Oyler smoker are nearing completion and with luck we will get them poured next week.

We have acquired a new chef.  His name is Elton Foster and he is working with us designing a new menu for La Kiva.  We are keeping much of what was in the original menu but there are some expansions that we feel sure will be welcome.  We have a lot of work ahead testing out every dish on the new menu and making sure we have a reliable source of supply for the ingredients.

This coming week should see us doing the last pour of concrete, putting up a few more vigas and starting putting the roof on.  Exciting times.  Oh yes.  How could I forget?  We will be doing our first test cook on the new barbecue pit towards the end of the week.  Now that will be fun.  Stay well and stay happy.



13 thoughts on “Big Progress”

  1. Please consider vegetarians when designing your new menu. Hopefully something more appetizing and less starchy than those offered at Starlight Cafe.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Barbara Levedahl.

    1. We will certainly have quite a few selections for vegetarians and also a few for vegans as well…my wife (being a vegan) insisted on it. We look forward to you dining with with us, as I am sure you will enjoy what we offer :)

  2. Hopefully you’ll bring back the cole slaw. It was a favorite of mine
    and I’ve yet to find anyone who could duplicate it.

    1. You may find that we can duplicate it and we will have our own family version as well which does not rely on Hellmans mayonnaise. Treats in store.

    2. I hope we will be able to surprise you by duplicating it exactly as well as adding a new coleslaw that is not mayo based.

    3. Great news. I have the absolutely original La Kiva recipe in my hands. It turned up along with some old promotional literature so we don’t have to duplicate it. You can have the real thing.

  3. Hi!

    Group of seven from Ohio come annually to kayak and hike in Big Bend, many have been to La Kiva, a few of us have been making this trip for twenty years. Wondering if we might be able to swing by and take a look around mid to late next week when we take off the river. If that would be possible, let us know! Should have my email from the form.

  4. Hope you will be open by Casi Cookoff time in November. This will be my 34th year at the cook off and have always had at least one meal at LaKiva with chili friends. Used to have lots of scotch also, but can’t do that anymore. Looking forward to meeting you as new owner and seeing the progress made to favorite place to hang out when in Terlingua.

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