Salt & Wind Travel

17 Unmissable Spots Where To Eat California Highway 395 (2024)

Are you heading on a road trip through Eastern California? You might be wondering where to eat on California Highway 395

Growing up in California, this was one of the parts of the state we road-tripped to regularly for trips to Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley, Lake Tahoe, and beyond. I’ve now lived in the town of Mammoth Lakes for over five years and constantly find something new to me in this lesser-populated corner of the Golden State from a hike to a cute cafe.

As a travel planner who curates itineraries to California, I love sending clients here for camping, road-tripping, and national parks, and I often get asked where to eat on California Highway 395. So, I’m sharing 17 places to eat as you drive from Red Rock Canyon to Topaz Lake including known spots like Erick Schat’s Bakery and Copper Top BBQ to lesser-known restaurants like Mercado Mexico and Coachwhip Cafe. 

Where To Eat California Highway 395
Table of Contents

Where To Eat California Highway 395

If you’re planning a trip along California’s backbone, you’re probably wondering where and where to eat California highway 395. While there are a handful of fast-food chains, the best food in this part of California comes from locally-owned mom-and-pop stops, which we’re always more than happy to support. 

Pretty much everyone will recommend Erick Schat’s Bakkery in Bishop, but it’s just one of the quality options along the route. Check out this list of local restaurants where to eat California highway 395, organized of by towns from south to north.

Lone Pine

Toward the southern end of California Highway 395, you’ll find the tiny town of Lone Pine, which is the gateway to both Mount Whitney and Death Valley. There are noteworthy things to do in Lone Pine, including visiting nearby Manzanar, Alabama Hills rock formations, and the Museum of Western Film. Fuel up for explorations for breakfast or lunch at Alabama Hills Cafe on the California Highway 395 near Whitney Portal Road. 

Big Pine

Further north along the California 395, you’ll come across the town of Big Pine, whic is home to Copper Top BBQ. According to Yelp, this is the best BBQ in California, and the proof is that tourists and locals alike line up to taste it.

Stop by for a taste of California’s very own cut, tri-tip, or for some ribs to go. They conveniently vacuum seal most of their BBQ so you can take it to go and reheat it for anything from camping to dinner at your vacation rental. Just make sure you leave room for the classic sides like potato salad and decadent mac and cheese. Pro Tip: If you pass by after hours, hit up their BBQ vending machine!


The largest town (and most northern town) in Inyo County along California Highway 395, Bishop has the most food choices outside of Mammoth Lakes. There are beloved spots like Schat’s Bakery and classic spots like Whiskey Creek alongside taquerias, Japanese restaurants, and dive bars, making Bishop a great place to stop for a bite to eat and rest. 

We recommend trying Schat’s Roadhouse for burgers, roast chicken, and BBQ sandwiches. They also have a full bar and live music on the regular. Head to the newer Pupfish Cafe for breakfast classics and quality sandwiches or Mercado Mexico for fun, modern Mexican including plant-based tacos, spot-on esquites, great shrimp ceviche, homemade tamales and conchas ice cream sandwiches.

If you’re more in the mood to cook or just looking for a delicious fresh sandwich when you’re wondering where to eat California Highway 395, Mahogany Smoked Meats has you covered. Mahogany has been in service since 1922 and is nationally famous. They offer quality smoked meats and also have a full deli menu.

Crowley Lake & McGee Creek

Adjacent to stunning Crowley Lake are the small communities of Crowley Lake and McGee Creek. Head here to stop by the East Side Bake Shop where baker Elizabeth McGuire serves up wholesome baked goods including beloved scones, pies, and a selection of gluten free treats.  

Convict Lake

For one of the easiest ways to access one of the many alpine lakes in the Eastern Sierra, head to Convict Lake. Located between McGee Creek and Mammoth Lakes, Convict Lake is surrounded by mountains mirrored in the lake’s blue-green water.

It’s also home to the cozy fine-dining spot that is The Restaurant at Convict Lake Resort. Head here for white tablecloth service and classic dishes like the clay-pot roasted garlic, steak frites, and delicious rainbow trout. 

Mammoth Lakes

The main resort town along California Highway 395, Mammoth Lakes, is known for skiing in the winter and fishing and hiking in the summer. There are only a couple of chains, so you can easily eat local when in town.

While many places cater to families or travelers on a budget, there are a handful of quality local restaurants to check out. Head here to read all our recommendations of where to eat in Mammoth Lakes including the healthy spot Elixir Cafe, the Mammoth Tavern for burgers, and the fine dining option, Skadi.

June Lake

June Lake is an adorable town with breathtaking views, and its lakes, canyons, glacial rocks, and ski resort draw tourists, backpackers, and fishermen worldwide. As you exit the highway, you can take the June Lake Loop to access the town “village,” where there is an assortment of options from Mexican food to juice spots. 

Head to June Pie Pizza Co. for New York-style pizza made with fresh ingredients cooked in a brick-fired oven. They also have gluten-free and vegan options! Also, stop by the T-bar Social Club — a speakeasy bar located downstairs — for a tasty cocktail or refreshing brew.

Another beloved option is La Parilla Grill & Tacos food truck at June Lake Brewing. They offer an extensive menu of Mexican food ranging from street tacos to burritos and soft serve. We’re fans of the carne asada tacos, the poblano enchiladas, and the churros. Wash your food down with a beer from adjacent June Lake Brewing while you sit at one of the outdoor picnic tables. 

Lee Vining

If you turn off the 395 to take the 120 to Tioga Pass, you’ll pass the Lee Vining Mobil Station. And, if there’s good weather, you’ll likely see crowds noshing at the outdoor picnic tables making it a prime place where to eat California Highway 395.

They’ve got food at Whoa Nellie Deli, located within the gas station. The menu is vast with breakfast options to pizza, but they’re best known for their grilled and BBQ dishes and chili


At the intersection of Highway 395 and state route 182, you’ll come across Bridgeport. It’s known for trout streams and lakes, but it is also home to a handful of restaurants. The recently-opened Growler’s has quickly won the hearts of locals and travelers alike thanks to their generous portions, excellent service, and fresh food. 

Coachwhip Cafe Coleville California


Just south of Lake Tahoe, you’ll find Walker: a quaint town with a small population and some of the best burgers in California. Stop into Walker Burger for a burger experience like no other. Not only will their homemade burgers and fries take you back to childhood barbeques, but you will also get to enjoy them in Walker Burger’s backyard garden.


One of the newest additions to this list is Coachwhip Cafe. Located between Walker and Highway 89 near the town of Coleville, this lovely spot is currently offering takeout and outdoor dining.

Its location means you can dine in the shadow of scenic Centennial Bluff while noshing on homemade, fresh food ranging from a Vietnamese Pulled Pork Sandwich and Fried Cauliflower with Gochujang Ranch and delicious salty fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Chef Liane Herrick runs the spot with her partner, Niko, and their hospitality is as lovely as the food. Note: The cafe is closed until Spring 2024. In the meantime, follow their Instagram to catch the crew cooking at pop ups and events across the Eastern Sierra.

Frequently Asked Questions

First, let's orient ourselves, shall we? California Highway 395 runs along California's Eastern Sierra Nevada, and it's the go-to route for Southern Californians heading up to Mammoth Mountain or Lake Tahoe and it's the easiest way to travel between Death Valley and Yosemite. 

Though this highway passes several notable landmarks (including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States), it's never congested. As such, we're always game for a drive to take in its scenic, peaceful charm and stunning landscapes. And, as we've discussed in detail, there are many must-see sites from ghost towns, glacial lakes, hot springs, and more.

Along California Highway 395, travelers can find a variety of dining options ranging from cozy cafes to authentic diners. Notable mentions include the Alabama Hills Cafe in Lone Pine, known for its hearty breakfasts and lunches; Copper Top BBQ in Big Pine, which has received accolades for its barbecue dishes; and the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining, famous for its gourmet meals with a view of Mono Lake. Each offers a unique dining experience reflective of the local culture and cuisine.

Highway 395 is home to several unique and themed dining experiences. The Jolly Kone in Bridgeport offers a nostalgic dining experience with its classic American drive-in menu and vintage vibe. Another unique spot is the Virginia Creek Settlement near Bridgeport, which provides a rustic dining experience with a Western theme, complete with a menu that features wild game dishes.

Highway 395 California

Get to Exploring California Highway 395

With our list of what to eat on Highway 395, you can start planning your road trip! Be sure to also check out our list of 15 must-see sites along California Highway 395 from Death Valley and Alabama Hills to Bodie State Park and June Lake. 

California Trip Road Trip Planner

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in California vacation planning? If you’re planning a trip to California, our California trip planner services can help you create your perfect itinerary.

Photo Credit: Opening photo By Marc Bordons; burger by Alejandro Moreno de Carlos; and diner photo by  Mark Fleming

Travel Planning Resources

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to our privacy policy.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

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


We'll help you taste Italy Mexico California Hawaii Mexico France Spain the world

We specialize in food-focused experiences in the most interesting culinary regions of the world.

We host unique small group trips to California, Italy, and Mexico from Sicily to Oaxaca.

Our tailored-to-you trip planning services help you make the most of your trip.