GET OUT OF THE RV: 5 RESTAURANTS THAT ARE WORTH THE STOP
One of the benefits of RVing, especially for families, is the kitchen/campfire combination. Besides the convenience of putting together a meal in the middle of nowhere, you’re more likely to eat healthier foods and save money over dining out.
But, no matter how well you eat in that RV, there are some restaurants across the US that are worth the stop, or even the detour and extra driving to get there. Bon appétit!
Lambert’s Café 3 locations: Sikeston, MO; Ozark, MO; Foley, AL
This ‘Mom & Pop’ joint has been serving generous portions of comfort food since 1942 when Earl and Agnes Lambert opened in Sikeston, Missouri. Best known as the ‘Home of Throwed Rolls’, you won’t leave Lambert’s hungry. Everything here is scaled to ‘large’. Drinks arrive in bottomless, XL insulated cups, staff visit your table before and during your meal with ‘pass arounds’ which include fried okra, macaroni & tomatoes, and fried potatoes, and many meals are served in skillets.
And then there are the rolls — fresh from the oven, hot and fluffy, doughy goodness. As the call “Hot rolls!” is heard, heads swivel toward the voice and hands go up in the air. The roll slinger will catch your eye before lofting the soft ball sized roll towards you. It takes a gentle hand to catch but not squish the roll, preserving its fluffy center for a generous helping of butter and honey.
Where to park: The parking lots at Lambert’s are as generously sized as their meals, and include dedicated bus and RV parking.
Pops On Route 66 in Arcadia, OK
You don’t have to look too hard to find Pops – the 66 foot tall soda bottle will lead you to the right place. Set beside a futuristic glass building, which seems far out of place in Oklahoma, but just right for the vibe of Route 66, the iconic landmark glows in neon shades after the sun sets.
Best known for their large selection of sodas, sparkling waters, and other chilled beverages (there are over 700 to choose from!) Pops’ kitchen turns out tasty meals, while the shake shop blends thick creamy concoctions, and creates floats from the nearly endless supply of sodas.
Diner food with a healthy mix of Southern comfort means your meal is made to order and large enough to share, which I recommend if you want to get dessert. And if the daily special is the Buffalo Burger, consider your choice made. Don’t leave without perusing the soda selection and buying a 6 pack (or a case, no one is judging) for the road.
Where to park: Pops has a large lot to the west of the building. If that is full, inquire about parking at the curb next to the iconic soda bottle.
LeBleu’s Landing Just north of I-10 in Sulphur, LA
One word: Boudin (pronounced boo-dan). This spicy Cajun sausage is well worth the stop, and if you want good Cajun food, this is the place to be. Choose Alligator Bites and Boudin Balls as your appetizer before digging into the thick Chicken & Andouille Gumbo or Shrimp & Corn Bisque. Share an order of Crawfish Etouffee or Stuffed Shrimp. (If the buffet is open, definitely choose that- you can try a bit of everything!) And, if you can manage it, order the Bread Pudding for dessert.
No time to sit and dine? Get an order of Boudin Balls and PoBoys to go. And be sure to stop at The Sausage Link next door to see Boudin being made and grab some Cracklins and fresh meat to take along. I recommend the Boudin Stuffed Chicken Breast.
Where to park: Parallel parking for large vehicles is on the north end of the parking lot. If this is full park farthest from the door in multiple spaces.
Hitch Rail Bar & Restaurant in Pringle, SD
Don’t let the appearance of this one-time biker bar fool you. Inside is the best food you’ll find in the Black Hills. Award winning chef Dennis Boinott makes everything from scratch – from the Buffalo Burger to the 4 Cheese Mac & Cheese – and he makes it with care. The menu rotates with the availability of ingredients, and specials are posted on the Facebook page.
Plan to spend a bit of time relaxing outdoors on the patio. The covered area is a perfect place to kick back and relax while the kids play bags or horseshoes.
Where to park: The lot is spacious, but busy. Stay to the back and watch for motorcycles.
The German Restaurants in Amana, the Amana Colonies, Iowa
About 5 miles north of Interstate 80 in the heart of Iowa lie the Amana Colonies. A communal society created by a group of German Pietists known as the Community of True Inspiration, the settlements were almost completely self-sufficient for 80 years.
Now the Amana Colonies are known for their restaurants and handmade goods. Choose to dine at The Colony Inn, the Ox Yoke, or the Ronneburg… you can’t go wrong with any of them. Meals are served ‘family style;’ your meat is ordered, but sides are shared. And everything is made from scratch and locally produced. Be sure to order a local wine, Millstream beer or root beer to accompany your meal!
Walk off your meal by exploring the village – don’t miss the Visitors Center in the restored corn crib and the woolen mill. Grab a few beverages at the Millstream Brewery and treats at the Chocolate Haus or the Hearth Oven Bakery. And don’t skip the wineries – there are 6 in the area!
Where to park: Public parking lots are available in the village of Amana. For easiest access enter from a back street.
I know I said 5 restaurants, but I can’t end this without mentioning Main Street Bistro Bakery in Grapevine, TX. I travel miles out of my way, through horrid Dallas traffic, for the Almond Croissants they create here.
And the fresh baked pastries are only the beginning. The breakfast menu includes crepes and fantastic egg concoctions. Homemade soups and fresh sandwiches are only part of the tasty lunch menu.
Now, you’re not going to get your RV parked anywhere on Grapevine’s Historic Main Street (which is well worth a visit), so I recommend spending a couple days at the Vineyards Campground and exploring this great town!
What restaurants do you brake for? Share your favorites with other foodies in the comments!