Lamesa’s Sky-Vue Theater and Legendary Chihuahua

by Steven Doyle

Lamesa’s Sky-Vue Drive-In Theater, established in 1948, is well known through out the state. It is one of a handful of drive-in theaters remaining in the state of Texas. Some claim that the drive-in continues to operate merely to serve the legendary “Chihuahua” sandwich (stacked fried corn tortillas filled with homemade chili, onions, shredded cabbage and pimento cheese with a jalapeño pepper on the side) which is a specialty of the outdoor theater.  

Locals are known to stop in at the theater to order this sandwich and not stay for the screening. Currently the Smurf movie is showing, so forgive us if we understand why.

It’s a bit of a drive to catch tonight’s flick, so we bring you the Chihuahua.

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.

Yields one

Lamesa is just over 330 miles west off I20 towards Lubbock.


Filed under beer, Crave, Road Food, Road Trip, Sandwiches, Steven Doyle, Travels in Texas

19 responses to “Lamesa’s Sky-Vue Theater and Legendary Chihuahua

  1. nylund

    Wow…that’s pretty far away from the DFW area! hopefully I’ll make it out there sometime. In the meantime, how about giving some love to a more local drive-in like the Galaxy Theatere in Ennis? (although, I admit, food-wise, there isn’t much to get excites about there.)

  2. We do write about cities in Texas from time to time just for grins, and if it involves an unusual sandwich we are on it. This just happened to be from a reader who supplied the recipe.

    We will check out the drive in you mention, sounds fun!

  3. Cynthia Baumbach

    Love this place and the food is fantastic!!!! Chihuahua, corn fritters, and chili cheese sandwich are a few of my favorites. Wished it was closer to DFW but I can always use and excuse to visit Lamesa!!!!

  4. Elva Lopez

    Born & Raised in “Lamesa Texas” & Proud To Pass On Our Great & Wonderful History Of Our “Awesome’ Out Door Theater Not To Mention The”Awesome Chihuahuas”, Corn Friters, Char Broiled Hamburgers Etc… This Awesome Food Is Almost Always Passed On To Our Families ,Friends . Once You Take Your First Bite Of Our Awesome ‘Chihuahuas ‘ It Will Live Such An Everlasting Taste In Your Mouth That It will Always Have You Coming Back For More!!! Its A Must Everytime We Our Back Visiting Our Great Town Of LAmesa Texas!!

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  6. Liz

    My mother and my aunt worked at the Sky-Vue. Been making it for my family for years. I am hoping to take my kids out there someday to try them while we watch a movie. I remember many nights playing there. Good memories.

  7. Liz

    Making Chihuahuas that is. 😉

  8. dar

    Lived in the Lamesa. Tx in the late fifties and have to agree the chichuahua sandwich was the best. Over the years made them at home but they are messy to eat plus with the advent of gmo corn could not find non-gmo tostado shells so went with organic corn chips and made a plate with same ingredients in taco salad style. The addition of finely shredded purple cabbage makes it unique and very tasty. and lots of chopped onions. Super good.

  9. angie

    How do you make the chili for itbmuly husband has been wanting soke but I dont kkow how to make it some one help please!!!! Thank you

    • dar

      E-Z Chili
      1# ground beef
      1 onion chopped fine
      4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
      1 t. cumin powder
      1/4 cup chili powder or more
      2 cups water
      Salt to taste

      Brown ground beef with onion, garlic, cumin powder till pinkness if out of ground beef. Add Chili powder, stir and then add water, stir. Simmer for at least 30 minutes.

      Used this recipe for many years until discovered the true Mexican chili sauce for authentic Mexican chili which takes some time to prepare. Most people do not put enough chili powder in their chili and so revert to, OMG, tomato paste or sauce to get a good red color. Tomatoes which I dearly love and can cases of it every summer does not belong in chili.. Most chili powders are very mild and usually say on the label if they are medium or hot.
      I sometimes add beans using this recipe. In making chichuaha sandwiches. It helps to thicken the chili which you put three tablespoons or so corn meal in cup, add fourth to half cup of water, stir and slowly add and stir to chili after it is done. It thickens enough to spread on a tostada shell and not be as messy as soupy chili…..
      Hope this works out for you.

      • Teresa

        Easiest way to make the meat! (Coming from born and raised lamesa citizen)
        1)brown hamburger meat
        2)buy one package of chili seasoning mix
        3)add half of a cup of water
        4) 1 table spoon of black pepper
        5) cover and let simmer

  10. esperanza mendez

    The woman who realy invented the original chihuahua sandwich was named Dolores Villa she was from Lamesa TX then later moved to San jose ca. She has never been given any kind of recognition her part in creating this dish the owners of the driven in Lamesa knows he should do the right thing and include Dolores name on who invented this delicious one of dish.

    • Tina Van Winkle

      Thank you for the information. I was born in Lamesa, but moved away. My grandma lived there her entire life, and every time I made it there I would go get us the sandwiches. I just wish I had the real recipe for the chili. Bless Miss Delore Villa. They definitely should have given her the credit she so rightly deserved.

      • Darlene Cox

        News from Lamesa–the concession building at the Sky- Vue burnt down and last I heard was no plans to rebuild. The people who operated it, I seem to recall had another place in Midland, Tx.

        In the late 1950’s I knew people who worked there ( Sky-Vue) and they said they used canned chili for the “chihuahha” sandwiches. In making them you not want a soupy chili as they are difficult enough as is to eat.

  11. Eldon Eason

    Raised in Lamesa in 50’s-60’s. Many times at Sky-Vue. The chihuahua
    still 35 cents??????? Eldon Eason

  12. Charles Beaudoin

    Stars and Stripes in Lubbock is part of the same family. They too serve the famed Chihuahua. But I’ve been told is not as good. Had it just last week, to me a tasty sandwich!

  13. Annette Dunne

    Interesting to read all the history. Sorry it is just history, and that the kitchen will not be rebuilt.

    • Kevin

      It is sad that this historic drive-in burned down in 2015. This story was written in 2011 and we have this to relush as a puece of history.

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