Uyuni, Bolivia is not exactly a gastronomic paradise. A flat, dusty town crouching low and alone in middle of the Bolivian desert, with an eerie train graveyard clinging to its outskirts, Uyuni is the gateway to the vast, white Salar de Uyuni salt flats and the extraordinary desert beyond – a must-see in South America.
It’s cold in Uyuni. It’s cold outside in the street, and it’s cold inside restaurants and shops, and it’s cold in the hotel rooms. It’s cold in the market, where you can sit down to a bowl of hot but uninteresting soup and some drab variation of meat and rice. It’s cold in the town’s restaurants, where you can sit down to a more expensive version of soup-meat-rice.
There was a niche to be filled. An enterprising couple, he from Amherst, Massachusetts and she from Bolivia, filled it with Minuteman Pizza, a warm and bright restaurant serving fantastic pizza. Minuteman would be worth recommending in any American city, but if you’ve just spent three or four days riding around the desert and eating burned pasta and canned tuna out of the back of a Land Cruiser, Minuteman’s pizza is out of this world.
Pizza, Beer, and Wine
From your standard Margherita, to more exotic combinations of cheeses, meats and vegetables, to the daily special, there’s a pizza for everyone. They also serve an assortment of pastas, nachos, cakes and cookies, and, in the morning, breakfast.
If you’re feeling a bit guilty about eating pizza instead of sampling the local cuisine, assuage it by ordering a Bolivian microbrewed beer, such as Chala, a white beer produced in Sucre. Minuteman also offers a nice selection of South American wines at reasonable prices. Ask about the bargain-priced selection of the week.
Minuteman’s atmosphere is friendly, casual, and laid-back. The restaurant is packed nightly with travelers either preparing for or returning from a trip out on the Salar de Uyuni, making it a good place to compare notes and get tips on tour companies, transportation, or anything else that might not be in your guidebook. Restrooms are clean, and the back room offers a cozy wood-burning stove – two more things that will be a real treat after the Salar trip.
Minuteman Pizza Location and Hours
Located inside the mustard-yellow Toñito Hotel at 60 Avenida Ferroviaria near the train station, Minuteman is not a secret by any means, but neither is it obvious. There is no signage out front, so you’ll have to know to head over to the hotel and go through the lobby and straight back to the restaurant.
Breakfast: 7:30 – 10:00 am
Dinner: 5:00 – 10:00 pm
A tip: Don’t leave your leftovers behind. The one advantage to Uyuni’s frigid temperatures and unheated hotel rooms is that you don’t need a refrigerator to keep food fresh overnight – your room is a refrigerator. Mmm, cold pizza for breakfast…