Food as an integral part of the overall adventure is a key component in our numerous road trips since maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to ensuring vitality and energy levels while traveling. Additionally, new foods, new flavors, and fascinating places in which to try them ensure a lifetime of memories as well as magnify the sense of being an explorer in a strange new land.
Now, my dearest friend and I often strive to strike a balance between budgeting and sacrifice when we travel. So, we often take advantage of the breakfast offered at many motels and hotels, and keep the vehicle amply stocked with a few things like instant oatmeal (use the in room coffee pot for hot water) for a quick start to the day or an evening snack. We also carry water, dried fruit, and similar items, and at least every other day, gather items for a picnic along the road.
If we are traveling with the Jeep, I often carry a small propane fueled stove. This greatly expands our picnic options and forces us to slow down and relax. Besides what better way is there for savoring a trip along Route 66 than a tailgate lunch of chili, salad, pie, and coffee in Glenrio or Endee?
When we are on the road the basic rule of thumb in selecting a restaurant is this – no fast food and no chains. Rule two is just as simple, if traveling along Route 66 never leave home without the Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide published by the National Historic Route 66 Federation.
With this as an introduction, here is a partial list of some of our favorite places. Not all of these are on Route 66 but a few are close enough to warrant a detour.
In Kingman, just one block north of Route 66 on Beale Street is Redneck’s Southern Pit BBQ. I may be a bit prejudiced but can say that my friends from Europe always want to have dinner there when they stop in Kingman. The food is very good, the service excellent, and the prices are at the upper end of the moderate scale.
It is a brief detour of less than 25 scenic miles south of Route 66 in Kingman, but if you want some good food in a great atmosphere (elk often congregate in the parking lot), and want a break from the summer heat, my suggestion is the Hualapai Mountain Lodge. I should also note that there are miles of hiking trails in the surrounding mountains.
A consistent favorite is the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois. Superb food, reasonable prices, same family managed for more than eighty years, and a location almost unchanged since its opening in 1934 ensure a memorable and excellent dinner.
I discovered the Swedish Pantry Restaurant in Escanaba, Michigan several years ago. The traditional foods and superb service were quite refreshing. Even though an opportunity has not presented itself for a return visit, my understanding is that the tradition continues unabated.
Speaking of Michigan, another restaurant of interest is in Gaylord. The food is just a touch above average but the service is unbeatable at Gobblers. However, it was the ambiance and the slogan “Gobble till you Wobble” that ensured we would never forget our dinner.
A discovery made on our last trip along Route 66 was Big Vern’s Steakhouse along Route 66 in Shamrock, Texas. The place is a bit worn around the edges but the food was excellent, the portions large, the prices moderate, and the staff friendly.
I hope you find these tips helpful as you seek ways to spice up your road trip. If you are interested in more of our recommendations for restaurants, motels, and sites or attractions, perhaps you will find our postings on Trip Advisor helpful.
And, of course, if you have questions please feel free to drop us a note. Unless we are on the road a response can be expected within 72 hours. Happy motoring!