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Top 5 Restaurants and Places to Eat on Route 66

Driving down historic Route 66 always makes for an exciting trip. Grab some excellent tunes, call some close friends and enjoy a scenic drive down the Main Street of America. As you enjoy the sights, you’ll want to stop somewhere for a bite, and no trip down Route 66 is complete without a visit to some of the most famous restaurants along the way. As a first part in a series of reviews and articles on the US 66, check out some of these restaurants and see how they strike your fancy.

The Santa Fe Bite

By John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By John Phelan via Wikimedia Commons
One of the most famous restaurants on the road, the Santa Fe Bite (Formerly known as the Bobcat Bite) is a must-see, especially for those who have never made the trip down the road. Located on 418 Old Las Vegas Highway in Santa Fe New Mexico, this restaurant specializes in delicious grilled treats, serving call drivers along the highway. Some of the most popular dishes available include an incredible selection of chops, steaks and gourmet hamburgers. The Santa Fe Bite is particularly famous for its Green Chili Cheeseburger, which all the locals say is an excellent representation of the area’s local culture and cuisine.

In addition to its stylish menu and welcoming environment, the restaurant is unique because there is an interesting story behind the name. Santa Fe Bite comes from the restaurant’s early days when it was one of the only restaurants that provided food for hungry bobcats when they wandered down to the road. Bobcats used to settle just outside the back door of the restaurant all the time, and the staff kept them occupied. The location has also earned more than its fair share of accolades over the years. It was listed at #12 on a 20 Hamburgers to Try list. They also won the Best Burger award from the Santa Fe Reporter three years in a row.

66 Diner

By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons
Located on 1405 Central Ave NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the 66 Diner is an exciting theme location that drivers should be sure to visit when they’re in the area. The diner features a classical 1950s aesthetic that is sure to be a hit for birthdays, special occasions and even casual visits. The diner frequently plays 1950s radio classics, and all of the songs heard on the restaurant’s radio can be found on the Real Oldies 1600 AM station.

This restaurant is particularly famous for its eclectic mix of traditional American cuisine, serving all types of delicious dishes, ranging from lunch and breakfast options to traditional dinner choices. One of the trademark dishes available is called the Pile Up. Visitors are encouraged to bring their appetites, because this classic dish comes with pan-fried potatoes, chopped bacon, green chili peppers, eggs, cheese and sauce on top, all stacked up on a tortilla. All of the side options are classically chosen to complement the dishes, with choices such as beans, French fries and rice standing out the most. Visitors who are up for something adventurous can also check out the frequently changing weekly special menu, which features numerous new and traditional dishes designed to dazzle all comers.

Twisters Soda Fountain

By StellarD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By StellarD via Wikimedia Commons
Like the 66 Diner, Twisters Soda Fountain is another themed restaurant located just off the historic road. Visitors can find it on 417 East Route 66 in Williams, Arizona. This is one of the most dedicated theme restaurants on the route, and visitors often feel as though they take a step back in time when they walk through the restaurant’s doors. Many of their most famous dishes are named after celebrities from the era. Drivers can stop by and find sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers all named after Elvis, James Dean, Betty Boop and Marilyn Monroe.

Not only do their dishes have such classic names, but they are also prepared to perfection. Customers who checked out the location had exceptionally positive things to say about their grill options. Some of their signature stakes, such as the rib eye and the sirloin, are particularly famous. In addition to their famous dishes, visitors can always drop by to try some of restaurant’s shakes and soda mixes to keep up with the 50s vibe. Like many other similarly themed restaurants, the ambiance is created to match with the theme, featuring gorgeous era decorations and music.

Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In

By PMDrive1061 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By PMDrive1061 via Wikimedia Commons
Another historic eatery that should not be missed is Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In. Drivers can find this eatery on 301 W Chino Ave in Seligman, Arizona. This diner is unique because of its history on the Main Street of America. It was first established in 1953 by Arizona’s own Juan Delgadillo. Though the restaurant had relatively humble beginnings, as it was made from local scrap lumber, it quickly rose to prominence when the locals noticed the incredible dishes. To stand out even more among other local restaurants, Delgadillo used his 1936 Chevrolet to advertise by taking off the car’s top and adorning it with horns, emblems and vibrant paint.

The owner’s love for the extravagant extended to the food he prepared at the restaurant. Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In featured a creatively worded selection of dishes, including Dead Chicken and Cheeseburger with Cheese. A lot of the location’s charm was derived from its humorous take on other classic diner elements, such as extensions to the building and various articles of signage. As for the food itself, customers can expect to be dazzled by the selection of deliciously grilled treats, such as the variety of hamburgers and steaks. Locals particularly recommended for new visitors to try out the shakes and drinks, which are lovingly crafted in the traditional 1950s style.

Idle Spurs Steakhouse

Drivers on their way up to California should also be sure to check out the Idle Spurs Steakhouse, especially if they are in the mood for some traditional home grilling. The restaurant is located on 690 Hwy 58 in Barstow, California, and it boasts some of the most delicious steakhouse appetizers and entrees in the local area. The restaurant was originally intended to be built as a domestic property, and the owners decided to use its classic appearance as an elegant way to define the restaurant’s unique style. A lot of the gardens, patio spaces and central home walls are still intact along the property, giving the restaurant a distinctly Americana feel.

In addition to the dazzling decor, visitors can expect to enjoy some of the most savory barbecue and grill dishes around. Among the most recommended dishes are the signature steaks, and the slow roasted prime rib is available in 8-, 12- and 16-ounce options. The delightful selection of sides can help complement the meal even further, creating an unparalleled dining experience.

 

Visit these restaurants and be sure to check out others along the drive of Route 66. It is always rewarding to stop by any diner or eatery to get a feel for some of the local culture down one of America’s most famous and well-used roads.

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