Chihuahua Sandwich: How a Drive-in Movie Theater Inspired a Texas Dish

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Lamesa is a small town located on the Llano Estacado, and one serendipitous day in 1951, the Chihuahua Sandwich was created at the Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater. Invented by husband and wife team R.A. ‘Skeet’ and Sarah Noret to spice up the concession stand (and use up remaining ingredients), the sandwich became such a hit that locals were known to order it to go and not stay for the movie screening. Described as a juicy, delicious, and addictive chili-and-cheese-in-a-tostada-shell creation, this treat was definitely a step above popcorn and hot dogs.

Chihuahua Sandwich: How a Drive-in Movie Theater Inspired a Texas Dish

Facebook/AD Hernandez

Unfortunately for residents and food travelers, the Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater closed in late 2015 due to a kitchen fire, which destroyed the snack bar. Its history included a performance by musician Buddy Holly, on the roof of the Sky Vue’s projector building (before he was famous), as well as the theater’s image being used as the cover art and named in the title of the album “Down at the Sky-Vue Drive-In” by country music artist Don Walser.

Chihuahua Sandwich: How a Drive-in Movie Theater Inspired a Texas Dish

Facebook/Mariana Granado

Never fear, the recipe for the Chihuahua Sandwich lives on and can be replicated in your own kitchen. Be sure to keep it in the sack while eating, otherwise, it falls apart and grease rolls down your arms. Try pairing with jalapeno corn fritters or poppers like movie-goers did to complete this culinary experience. Homemade chili and pimento cheese truly enhance and personalize the flavors. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, fry up your own tostada shells, extra thick. Enjoy this glimpse into Texas history and consume something utterly unique!


Yields one

Two corn tostada shells

2 Tbsp. chopped onions

1 cup shredded cabbage

1/2 cup chili, no beans

1/2 cup pimiento cheese spread

Warm chili in a saucepan or microwave. Spread chili on one tostada shell. Top with onions and cabbage. Spread pimiento cheese on the other tostada shell. Put shells together and serve.