We compared notes and decided to share a list of eateries we've sampled in cities and towns along Route 66. Here goes:
Chicago, IL – Ed Debevic's. A healthy dose of diner abuse from the staff combined with generous portions of all American comfort food.
Bloomington, IL – Lucca Grill. Established in 1936 by brothers Fred and John Baldini, it was named for their hometown of Lucca, Italy. Lucca's offered the first pizza in Central Illinois. It has an outstanding menu, friendly atmosphere, and antique mahogany bar, all housed under an ornate tin ceiling. We loved it.
Rolla, MO – Alex's Pizza Palace. Inspired by the people of Rolla, Alex Kallas and his wife chose the location for his restaurant in November 1964. Forty years later, its success is legendary, offering excellent service, hospitality, and off-the-chart quality.
Carthage, MO – Sonic. What can you say about this drive-in staple of the Midwest? Huge burgers, cheese tots, cherry lime-aids, and rich ice cream malts and shakes. We had to do it.
Joplin, MO – Lumpy's BBQ. Great pulled pork sandwiches, friendly waitresses with big hair, big laughs, and big smiles. Great fruit pie for dessert.
Miami, OK – The Ku-Ku Drive-In. In the mid-1960s there were over 200 Ku-Ku Drive-Ins, but only one remains today. This classic Route 66 drive-in serves up a delicious buffalo burger and makes you feel right at home. Both Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker and the Chestnuts recommended it.
Oklahoma City, OK – Johnnie's Charbroiler. The name says it all and while it may play well in any city in America, you might expect more from a Johnnie's Charbroiler in Oklahoma City than other places. We were not disappointed.
Amarillo, TX – Hoffbrau Steaks. An Amarillo favorite where the steaks are mouthwatering and the ribs are finger-licking good. Come with an appetite. You'll need it.
Santa Rosa, NM – Joseph's Bar and Grill. Roadside diner with a special brand of "Route Beer" and some of the best chicken fried steak I have ever experienced.
Santa Fe, NM – Los Potrillos. Authentic Mexican food served graciously and in very large portions. Warm, homemade tortillas, excellent soup, fresh vegetables, and a waitstaff that goes out of its way to make guests feel at home.
Gallup, NM – Plaza Caf?©. Home of the hearty "Plaza Hurricane," a huge bean and beef burrito covered in fries, cheese, and red or green sauce. Half of the cafe is a trailer right on Route 66. Better be hungry before visiting this place. The railroad-themed d?©cor inside is appropriate, as it is located directly across the street from the rail tracks.
Flagstaff, AZ – Busters. Another local favorite with steaks, seafood, soups, and salads. Busters is comfortable and pleasant.
Williams, AZ – Blondies Route 66 Diner. An authentic throwback to the '50s. The Route 66 Special Breakfast Burrito is not for the faint of heart or high of cholesterol. This one's the real deal with a musical selection of all-Elvis, all-the-time.