RUSTIC EATS — 22 Comments

  1. Seeing as my time machine only goes back to the 90s… not much. ask me again in 20 years Mas.

  2. Rutt’s Hut, in Clifton, NJ! One side has the stand-up counter and menu (the white board with press-in letters/numbers!) that’s virtually unchanged since they opened decades ago…but the other side with a separate entrance screams “VFW club, circa 1954”. What’s that? Fine china? You’ll get your food on paper plates and like it, mister!

    Dark wood, ruby red leatherette seats and tiny bathrooms that boast the toilet roll holders with places to rest your cigarette whilst “resting”. Still has the burn and melt marks too!

    When I open my joint, I’m gonna hunt down old fixtures just for the fun of it. This shiny brand-new stuff is for the birds!

  3. Small world, Jaji; we ate at Rutt’s Hut last year while in NJ. (I had the fish & chips, and shoulda had the sausage or one of their famous hot dogs.) But, yeah, that’s just the kind of place I’m talkin’ about.

  4. Back in my “roaming days,” my absolute favorite eatery was a place called “The Rising Sun” in Campbelltown, Pa. You could order anything on the menu and be sure it would be fresh. I can say that because my Father sold the owners all the supplies they used for cooking and was very familiar with their kitchen!. The meals could be served in booths (in red leatherette, no less!) that encircled small tables. Or, if you preferred, you could sit at the u-shaped bar and eat either a roast beef or ham sandwich, sliced off a fresh cut, slowly turning cut of meat on a small rotisserie sitting on the bar. One end of the dining room had an 8′ pool table, which provided good recreation – at least early in the evening as things could sometimes get rowdy later on. Just your standard little red neck honky tonk stuff.

  5. One such icon eatery is “Guy’s Lolo Streak House” (Now Lolo Steak House), just eight miles south of Missoula, MT, on Highway 93, to the last stop light in Lolo, MT, than right (West) on Highway 12, for about a block, or two, located on the north side of the Road, with Great food, from Steaks, to Sea food, or large Salad’s, for those on a more limited diet.

    Or, you can come via the more scenic, and windy, route East through Idaho on Highway 12 instead?

    Stuffed wildlife on every wall, Elks, Moose, Ram Sheep, Wolves, Cougars, and many other critters to gaze at.

    A must for all visitor’s to the area.

  6. Well Uncle Mas,it just so happens that my other half and I recently moved to the wonderful state of Arizona. As luck would have it, we ended up right on Route 66, which I’ve always wanted to see. We have so much travelling to do, and hope to do the entire route next year. We love BBQ, ice tea, and anything from the best years of our country’s life, the 50s and the 80s. We need to get universal CCW reciprocity established soon; neither CA or Illinois currently respect that and it needs to change. As or me and the road menu, we need a huge burger, shake, and onion rings. In Kingman, Mr. Ds gets the nod!

  7. With all the miles behind me you’d expect me to have a dozen or two. It’s hard to out do the lunch counter in F. W. Woolworths, when I was a kid that was fancy dining.
    You’ve probably eaten at the café in Centerton Arkansas a few times, good food. The proof is in the full parking lot.

  8. There are diners as you described in many small towns in Texas. They are generally located in the old downtown business areas and specialize in plain old home cooking (blue plate specials). The locals eat there mostly at lunch time. Many are open only for breakfast and lunch to cater to the local business crowd. I remember one diner like this in the Texas Hill Country that served up chicken fried steaks the size of a saddle blanket for an extremely reasonable price. It’s those places that have made me the man I am today – way overweight.

  9. Sounds like a perfect place for a meal.
    Mine would have to be Murphy’s Mule Barn in Albuquerque NM. Great old diner.

  10. A great place not to far from where I live in Oregon is one of those “rustic eats”.

    It is called ‘Helvetia tavern’, and has one of the best burgers you will ever have.

    They don’t have a web site, but if you do a web search for Helvetia tavern you will get a number of hits with very positive comments about the place.

    Just writing this is making me hungry!

  11. Fat Smitty’s in tiny Discovery Bay, WA. Has a giant wood-carved burger and likeness of Smitty outside. Inside you look up to see thousands of US currency see tacked to the ceiling along unique ball-caps. The highlight on the menu, The Smitty Burger- a pound of beef, 1/4 of bacon all dripping onto your platter of frys. There’s the little TV on the fridge, that always has a ball game playing. Smitty is a long retired Marine, with his sassy wife, serve grub and smiles.

  12. There is a joint in Medicine Bow, Wyoming that has been there since the first cowboy showed up. It’s a saloon/restaurant that looks like what Hollywood tries to portray but this place is the real deal. It’s never been updated with all the latest gizmos and doo-dads. Plank wood floors, stamped tin ceiling tiles etc. You eat or drink while being observed by stuffed critters and there are several antique and interesting firearms mounted on the walls as well. All in all, a totally un-PC watering hole without a yuppy in sight.
    My kind of place.
    There is a wooden post in the middle of the room (no, not a stripper pole) that goes from floor to ceiling, maybe 12 feet or so. In the old days I was told they used to grease the pole and put a silver or gold coin at the top. If you could climb the pole, you got the money. Seems like the sort of thing one might be tempted to do after several rounds of refreshments.
    I imagine that if you looked around you could probably find a few bullet holes in the walls and ceiling.

    I don’t live too far from Deadwood, S.D. and have been, a few times, to the old Saloon #10 where Wild Bill found out it’s a bad idea to play cards with your back to the door. That place tries to cash in on it’s reputation, they have (what is supposed to be) Bill’s chair mounted up above the front door, but what would be an interesting, historic place is ruined by the gambling industry that has taken over the town.

  13. Shields Date Farm in La Quinta, CA just east of Palm Springs, CA. Absolutely love this place. Beautiful garden and a super cheesy 1950’s documentary showing on the Sex Life of the Date (think fruit). My wife and I love this place. Thier garden has the life of Jesus depicted out from birth to Ressurection in statues throughout the garden. It’s a great way to walk off your Date Shake with your date on any date.

  14. We enjoyed Kranberry’s Family restaurant in Lordsburg, NM on the way back from the same venue near Austin, TX. It’s right off the I10 freeway.

  15. Mas, Check out the Ft Mitchell BBQ next time you are in Columbus GA. Its just across the state line in Alabama next to Ft Benning GA for true deep south BBQ 752 AL-165, Fort Mitchell, AL 36856. Farther west in Arkansas try Neumeier’s Rib Room, 817 Garrison Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72901–for KC style ribs it can’t be beat.

    Bon Appetite!

  16. Google KUMBACK LUNCH in Perry, Oklahoma. Look at the pics and comments. This is a trip back in time in the midwest USA indeed. Sits across the street from the county courthouse square where McVeigh was jailed for a short time after the bombing in Oklahoma City.

  17. Mas, I know you’ve visited Conway, Arkansas (Toad Suck Daze). Next time, have your host take you out to Cadron Creek Catfish House. Actually there are three of them in North Central Arkansas. All owned by the same family, the original is located in Bee Branch (about 30 miles north of Conway) started by “Momma and Dad” (my favorite), another in Conway, and still another just south of Harrison, opened up by the original founder’s children. They offer, quite possibly the best southern sea food buffet in the country (catfish, shrimp, frog legs, crab, fresh cooked veggies, and all the trimmings, with cake, cobbler and ice cream for dessert). Walls are covered in old homesteader paraphernalia from the area. Tom DuPriest at “Shoothouse” in Conway can point you in the right direction.

  18. Mas, I don’t know it or not but we have a pretty neat spot right here in Live Oak. The place is called All Decked Out. My evil princess and I have never been disappointed.

  19. It is not generally known but Rockford, IL had a military base during WW1 and WW2. Most of the buildings are gone now but one is still standing, The Command Post. It houses a fine restaurant, nothing fancy, just plain old stick to your ribs, like mom might have made. However, it also houses a museum showing Camp Grant as it did back in the teens and 40’s. It is on Samuelson road which parallels the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Highway.
    Camp Grant also had a German POW camp. The trusted prisoners were allowed to go outside of the wire and work on the farms and eat with the family. The Rockford area has a large German Population. One story that keeps percolating is that a German prisoner escaped. He wasn’t sure where he was, but knew that he had to go east to get back home. After walking quit some distance he came to a body of water and assumed it was the Atlantic Ocean. So he stole a boat and after a relatively short voyage he came to a shore and this time, again assumed, that he was in Europe. Of course all he did was cross Lake Michigan.
    Check out

  20. The Hoot Owl near Sandpoint, Idaho on Hwy 200. A little dive café that has been there for years. Chairs, dishes, utensils, nothing matches. Floor and ceiling is uneven. Breakfasts are best. A place where the loggers and working man chow down “If you can’t find something to your liking on the menu, but can describe what you want we will make it for you.” A place where the locals eat but everyone is welcome. Sponsors a free soup kitchen every Wednesday evening.

  21. JB’s Hamburger joint in Greeley, CO is a 50’s drive up that is pretty much unchanged. It’s like being in a time capsule.

    Also, I always stop at the Gunsmoke truck stop and cafe in Buena Vista, CO. It’s in the middle of nowhere, but whenever I travel Hwy 285 it’s a mandatory stop.

  22. The next time you are on I-10 going East, pull off on the LA 93 exit in Scott, LA and head north to the Best Stop Grocery. It isn’t a restaurant, but they have the best boudin and cracklins you will find anywhere. It is neat, clean, and busy, but a real down home meat market. There is a picnic table out front if you want to make a meal.

    Nice place to grab a tasty genuine Cajun snack…and boost your cholesterol by 50 points!

    Some of the best “home style” places around I-10 are only open at lunch. Get off on US 90 South and go to Broussard. BJ’s Poor Boys is on Morgan and Ton’s is on block further. Both are family run and the real deal.