When it comes to driving the most famous road in America, one of the most important things to remember is that it will take you through the heart of the country, and you can't miss some of the country's best culinary highlights. You can see how the cuisine changes from the restaurants around Chicago as you head out towards the sunny coastal state of Chicago, and you can try some of the dishes favored by Americans throughout the eight states that are covered on Route 66. Here are some of the restaurants along the route that you really should visit, with each one offering some wonderful food and an unique experience to enjoy.
Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket
Just outside Chicago, one of the first places worth stopping is this wonderful restaurant that has been serving fried chicken to those heading in and out of the city for nearly seventy years. While the chicken here is certainly very good, you'll also find plenty worth trying on the specials menu, with Fridays being seafood days with Maine lobster and fried shrimp also being served. If you want to catch the game on a Sunday afternoon, or fancy seeing some live music, the restaurant also has an adjoining bar which helps to make this a great place to stop whether you are just arriving from the coast or just starting your trip on Route 66.
Cars On The Route
Located in the town of Galena, Kansas, this former gas station was purchased by four local women and converted into a restaurant and attraction, and today, it is most famous for being home to 'Tow Tater', a boom truck that is said to have inspired a character in the Disney movie Cars. This restaurant, gift shop and occasional karaoke bar is a really welcoming place to stop, and while their smoked ribs make for a great meal, there are plenty of other good choices on offer too.
You can tell the focus of this restaurant from the giant soda bottle that has been located at the front of the restaurant, which stands at 66 feet tall to honor the road it serves, and weighs in at a hefty four tonnes. While you may not be able to drink all of that soda, the restaurant has its own soda ranch which offers nearly five hundred different varieties to enjoy with your meal. The food is tasty and traditional, and for those with a real appetite, the 'Mother Road Burger' includes pulled pork and horseradish cheddar cheese.
This retro restaurant is located in Albuquerque, and is a slice of traditional 1950s America that is simply irresistible to those those taking on the famous Route 66. The menu offers generous portions of good food, and their trademark Pile Up is a real New Mexico dish, and is a tasty combination of fried potatoes, bacon, eggs and cheddar cheese, with a dose of chopped green chile which is then topped with a red or green chile sauce. If you're heading out of Albuquerque on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you can also try one of their breakfast specials, which will set you up for a good day on the road.
Idle Spurs Steak House
Before reaching the golden sands of the Californian coast, those traveling from east to west along the route will have the chance to stop at this wonderful restaurant in Barstow, California, which has been serving steak for over forty years. The menu has several steak options allowing you to combine it with ribs or lobster, or you have a selection of cuts to choose from, and some good burgers too. With regular beer specials, you could also strike it lucky, and find yourself here on one of the restaurant's famous country music nights, which help the food go down a treat.