Route 66 Eats

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Stuff yourself here:
Lou Mitchell's Restaurant
Awesome breakfast to start your journey in downtown Chicago. Free Milk Duds for the ladies.
Funk's Grove Maple Sirup
Not exactly a restaurant, but you will never forgive yourself if you pass up a chance to try their maple sirup, maple cream, or the unforgettable decadence of their exquisite chocolate-covered maple truffles. "Sirup," incidentally, is the correct spelling for the product sold here. "Sirup," with an "i," refers to pancake topping in its purest form, sweetened with naturally-occurring maple sugar; "syrup," with a "y," contains added sugar and generally doesn't taste as good as the real thing.
Cozy Dog
Birthplace of the corn dog, and well worth the pilgrimage. The cheeseburgers and "skin-on" French fries are great, too.
Luna Cafe
Classic roadhouse. Al Capone and his boys used to come down and party here. Free wings on Thursdays.
Ted Drewes' Frozen Custard
This is an internationally known St. Louis landmark. Kind of like the Gateway Arch, except it tastes good.
Eisler Bros. Old Riverton Store
Best place on Route 66 to grab a sandwich and a trip back in time.
Waylan's Ku-Ku
The last survivor of a once-proud chain of drive-through restaurants. The building once served as a working cuckoo clock. Great burgers and malts.
Ollie's Station Restaurant
Great fried chicken. Train-themed decor includes model trains that run on tracks above diners' heads. Lots of fun.
Rock Cafe
No relation to the Hard Rock Cafe. Built from native stone removed from the ground during the paving of Route 66, the Rock Cafe is the best restaurant on the Mother Road ... or at least, the best one I've visited. Everything on the menu is fantastic. Try a plate of jaegersnitzal with spaetzle -- a German dish I can only describe as "what chicken-fried steak wants to be when it grows up" -- and a slice of oatmeal pie for dessert. Vegetarians can find fried pickles, chips and salsa, salads (including tabouli, a wonderful Lebanese dish made with cracked wheat, parsley, cucumbers and tomatoes), and a friendly staff willing to accommodate unusual requests.
Hillbillee's Cafe
Great barbecue in a fun setting. Live music on weekends, lots of activities, and an attached B&B that offers Old West-themed rooms.
Big Texan Steak Ranch
Free 72-oz. steak dinner if you can eat it in an hour. For the smaller appetite, I recommend filet mignon. Save room for dessert: strawberry shortcake. Lots of fun, and the food is really good.
Midpoint Cafe
Best pie on the road. Stop and have a slice or three.
Try the chorizo and eggs for breakfast. Wash it down with a cup of herbal tea if you're a teetotaler like I am now, or a mimosa if you're a champers-swilling lush like I was the last time I had breakfast there.
Comet Drive-In II
Great food. It's been a while, so the specifics are a bit hazy, but I seem to recall having a great bowl of posole and some excellent chips and salsa there.
Coyote Cafe
Two words: Yow. Za. Obscenely expensive, but worth every dime.
El Comedor
Home of the famous rotosphere, a spectacular neon Sputnik-looking thing that swivels and turns and really just defies description. Pictures don't begin to do it justice. Also the home of some inexpensive and absolutely delicious posole.
66 Diner
Great retro-themed Route 66 restaurant with terrific chocolate malts.
Joe & Aggie's
The Navajo tacos are good, and the sopapillas are killer. Just across the street from the famous Wigwam Motel.
Turquoise Room
We had breakfast there. If we'd been in town longer, we'd have had dinner there, too. The menu included several items involving duck. To paraphrase Tanya Tucker: "When I die, I may not go to heaven; I don't know if they'll let roadies in. If I don't, just let me go to the Turquoise Room, 'cos the Turquoise Room's as close as I've been."
Cheap and good, with a 1950s theme, an extensive gift shop, and -- as I recall -- a menu that included fried green tomatoes. What's not to like?
Miz Zip's
Good food, and very inexpensive. I had a fried-egg sandwich there once. That and a glass of tomato juice set me back less than three bucks.
Excellent road food (I have dreams about those chiliburgers) served up with a side of history and a double order of humor. Longtime owner and world-famous practical joker Juan Delgadillo died in 2004, but his kids are carrying on the tradition.
Mudshark Pizza & Pasta
A must-stop. The pasta with burnt butter and mizithra cheese is heavenly, and the murals airbrushed on the walls will amaze you. The servers were great, too; we unwittingly wandered in five minutes before closing. They served us anyway, smiled, apologized for cleaning around us, and assured us we were welcome to stay as long as we liked.
Hungry Bear
Best omelet I've ever eaten. Which is saying something, considering the number of times I've fueled a long day of Mother Roading with a big omelet for breakfast.
Ludlow Coffee Shop
Decent food, good coffee, lousy service, spectacular architecture. Or at least, that was our experience. Well worth a stop, but be prepared to wait; we had trouble getting the servers' attention the day we were there.
Juan Pollo
A chain, yes, but a chain with terrific food, and a chain run by the incomparably cool Albert Okura, who owns the McDonald's museum in San Bernardino, and who has purchased the entire town of Amboy and is restoring it for Route 66 nuts like me to enjoy.
Fair Oaks Pharmacy
Best ice cream west of Ted Drewes. Stop for an ice-cream soda.
Disclaimer: This is in no way a complete list of all the awesome restaurants on Route 66. These are just some good ones that had Web sites I could find easily. I will add to the list from time to time, so check back frequently. As with the motel listings, eligibility is based on firsthand experience. In other words, if I haven't eaten there, it doesn't show up here. For a more comprehensive listing of Route 66 restaurants, visit my husband's excellent Web site.

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