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The Adopted Hometown

The Adopted Hometown

Cuba nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Missouri is one of those unique and special places where every visitor feels as though they are coming home. It is more than just the hospitality. It is the sense of community made manifest in the pocket parks, the colorful murals, the events, and the support that business owners lend each other. It is the wonderful cafes and restaurants. It is the generational businesses with roots that span decades. It is the smiling faces.

Last year I during a Jim Hinckley’s America research trip I was privileged with an opportunity to spend several days in this charming village bisected by Route 66. I had time to visit area attractions, sample the different restaurants, and to simply stop and visit with the locals. It left me wondering what might of been if I had discovered this charming place twenty years ago. There is the very real possibility that this old desert rat might have headed for greener pastures.

As I am passionate about restaurants, one of the treats for me was the surprising number and the diversity of restaurants in such a small town. As an example, how many towns big or small do you know where you can get a delicious lamb burger with Tzatziki sauce? Well, that is now one of my favorite offerings at the Four Way restaurant in Cuba that is housed in a colorful painted building that began life in about 1930 as a gas station and garage. Looking for good traditional breakfasts? No problem, just stop by Shelly’s or Tuggie & Joe’s. Excellent Mexican food. No problem. Great pub food, and cold beer. Again, no problem.

The one and only Wagon Wheel Motel Photo Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America

This little town should be more than a stop on the way to. It should be a destination for Route 66 travelers as well as folk looking for a pleasant weekend getaway, or a new place to call home.

Let’s Eat!

Let’s Eat!

Valenzuela’s – one family owned since 1952

A big part of the road trip experience is food, opportunities to try regional specialties (deep fat fried Twinkies?) in unique or fascinating settings. Even if the food is average or something you can get at home, it just seems special after a day on the road or if you are eating that chicken fried steak in an historic cafe or restaurant such as Clanton’s in Vinita, Oklahoma or taco platter at Valenzuela’s in Needles, California.

For me it’s good pie and cobbler that always gets my attention. On the last road trip I enjoyed a great beef stew and excellent coffee at Clanton’s Cafe, but it was the blackberry cobbler in a diner that has been managed by the same family since 1927 which was a real stand out. Telling people where to go since 1990 has become our tag line at Jim Hinckley’s America. The cornerstone of that mission is seeking out good pie or cobbler, good meals, and unique places to enjoy both, such as the now defunct Cave Restaurant in Richland, Missouri.

Victoria’s Sugar Shack in Kingman, Arizona is little gem that is tucked away several miles from Route 66 but it is well worth the detour.

Join me this October for another gastronomical odyssey along Route 66. Follow the A Year With Jim series on Instagram or Twitter, as well as our live stream programs on the Facebook page. See you on the road, mi amigos.