Water Hole #2 in Texola
Okay, I will admit that a great deal of coffee served in American restaurants, cafes, and diners is only one step removed from tea. Even though I enjoy a good cup of tea, my preference is coffee thick enough to float horseshoes in. However, it must also have a rich, hearty flavor for it to be memorable. Needless to say, I greatly enjoyed the coffee in the Netherlands. 
As aroma is also key to a good cup of coffee it is tough to beat cooking it over an open fire on a cool mountain morning where the smell of sage and creosote blend with that of smoke, eggs, bacon or chorizo, and biscuits in a cast iron Dutch oven. I digress as this mornings subject is coffee, pie, and good food on Route 66.
On our Route 66 adventure last fall we had the good fortune of rolling through Texola when Water Hole #2 was open. Excellent apple pie and coffee, and delightful conversation with the proprietor, ensured that this little gem would rate high on our list of favorite places to stop for a refresher.
This was but one of several cafes and restaurants discovered on our trip last fall that are worth mentioning and suggesting. Rest assured, if hunger strikes while we are in the neighborhood, or we simply need a refresher, we will stop in Texola again. 
Two of these discoveries were in Lebanon, Missouri. We tried one for dinner, shared with Mike and Sharon Ward, and the other for breakfast. 
(Judy Hinckley)
In addition to good food at very reasonable prices, Dowd’s also features a unique as well as relaxing setting and a most pleasant atmosphere. The Elm Street Eatery is pretty basic with nothing on the inside or outside to really set it apart from hundreds of restaurants along Route 66. 
However, even though we ordered a basic breakfast of eggs, hash brown potatoes, muffin, and bacon, the food was excellent. Even better, breakfast for two, less than $12 including tax, and the coffee was good. 
For reasons not fully understood or given a great deal of thought, the Mexican food in New Mexico is unique and is usually of excellent quality. On occasion, however, while traveling through the state you will find a place that is truly superb. More often than not, it is hidden in plain site. Such was another discovery made on the most recent Route 66 excursion, this time in Albuquerque. 
Located just a few blocks north of Route 66 (Central Avenue)at the west end of town, and in the neighborhood of the historic Old Town district, Monica’s El Portal is excellent on all counts – the food (green chili enchiladas), the service, the atmosphere, the price, and the coffee.
This was but one of two delightful restaurant discoveries in Albuquerque on this trip. The following morning we joined Mike and Sharon Ward at the Western View at 6411 Central Avenue NW, a well worn relic from the glory days of the double six. As with the Elm Street Eatery in Lebanon, the food was very good, service friendly as well as professional, the coffee excellent, and the price reasonable.

On a trip later in the year, Scott Piotorwski introduced us to another little gem. Located at 4616 N. Eagle Rock Boulevard in Los Angeles, Auntie Em’s Kitchen is a delightful blending of Route 66 mom and pop restaurant from the era of the Valentine diners, and what non California residents expect to find in a Los Angeles cafe.
The food was superb and the coffee was even better. If you decide to explore the vast urban wilderness that embraces the Route 66 in the LA metro area, add this to your list of stops.
Also on our list in California are Emma Jean’s Holland Burger in Victorville, the Summit Inn at the top of Cajon Pass, and a few found with short detours from Route 66 in Burbank, Pasadena, and Santa Monica. 
We have an array of places we enjoy stopping at on our travels but on our list of favorite restaurants are also a number of Route 66 classics and often overlooked gems. When traveling in Illinois there is the Wild Hare Cafe in Elkhart, the Ariston in Litchfield, and the Country Mansion in Dwight.
In Missouri it is almost impossible to resist Missouri Hick Barbecue in Cuba. Of course, as it is next door to the Wagon Wheel Motel, our port in the storm and roadside oasis, it is also quite convenient for dinner. 
Just to the west of the motel, on Route 66, Shelley’s is our favored breakfast stop in Cuba. The near perfect blending of friendly small town atmosphere, simple but hearty meals, smiling waitresses, and good coffee make this a great place for starting a day on the road.
In Kansas we haven’t found a place to call a favorite as of yet. We have, however, found some pretty good places for enjoying a good meal and some coffee. 
Perhaps part of the problem is that Waylan’s in Miami is just down the road. The buffalo burgers served there are a lunch time special treat for me. 
For reasons unknown, at the west end of the state, we seem to gravitate toward Lucille’s in Weatherford, Oklahoma. I can’t remember a trip east or west in recent years when we didn’t stop here. This year we spent the night in Weatherford (dinner at Lucille’s) and added the Mark Restaurant on Main Street (Route 66) to our list of breakfast stops.

Scattered along the Route 66 corridor in Texas are an array of good restaurants that run the gamut from Big Vern’s Steakhouse in Shamrock to the Big Texan in Amarillo. However, for my money there are two standouts – Red River Steakhouse in McLean and Golden Light Cafe in Amarillo.
The list of favorite stops in New Mexico is quite lengthy. From Del’s in Tucumcari to the El Rancho in Gallup, from the Pantry in Santa Fe to the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas and Kelly’s Brew Pub in Albuquerque we are never far from a good meal and great coffee when traveling the double six in the Land of Enchantment. 
My Arizona list is almost as lengthy and diverse; Joe & Aggies and Romos in Holbrook, the Falcon and La Posada in Winslow, Galaxy Diner and Miz Zips in Flagstaff, Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, and a bit closer to home, Redneck’s in Kingman on Beale Street one block north of Route 66 (Andy Devine Avenue). 
Needless to say, this is but a partial list. As Route 66 is truly a living, breathing time capsule, it is the last bastion of mom and pop restaurants, diners, and cafes. So, the adventuresome and inquisitive traveler is never far from good coffee, pie, burgers, or enchiladas, or the discovery of another place to add to the list of favorite stops.     


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