Part of my Epic Journey involved trying to find the best hamburger and/or diner. I grew up on hamburgers and I love them to this day. Unfortunately, just before the trip started I got very anemic. I was very sick and did not have a lot of time to get better. After some research on the Internet, I decided to try to go gluten free. My health turned around dramatically. So that changed my quest slightly. Now I was looking for the best burger without a bun.
I have to admit, this was NOT the hardest part of the trip. I enjoyed this very much. Since I only ate one meal out, I tried to make it count. Here are my findings, I hope you find them delicious 🙂
Dundee, IL – Bootleggers Restaurant. I had just driven through Chicago, gotten lost twice and almost ran out of gas in bumper to bumper traffic. I was STRESSED. I pulled off the freeway and went to the first place I saw. Very cool restaurant decorated from the Rat Pack Era with music to go with it. Great service from Kassie and a really great burger!!
O’Neil, NE – Westside Restaurant. Walking into this restaurant was like being home. Good down home cooking, utilitarian decor, big salad bar and a very good hamburger with onions and brown gravy.
Buffalo, WY – The Busy Bee Soda Fountain and Bakery. As I stated in a previous post, I had to eat here because one of my favorite book and television characters, Walt Longmire, always eats at this restaurant. I had breakfast there and it was delicious. My server, Kia, was awesome and very lively at 7 am in the morning (I was still on Cleveland time). It was definitely a highlight of my trip!!
Buffalo, WY — Winchester Steak House. Okay, I did not have a burger here but it was the day before my birthday and felt I deserved something special. That is what I got. I ordered the Filet Mignon and it was the ABSOLUTE best steak I have ever had in my life. Everything here was amazing including the service. I had called about 10 minutes before I got there to see if I needed reservations, the young lady I talked to said no, to just come in. I was there in 10 minutes and my table was set and ready, my server was impeccable and the food was completely top notch. If you are ever in Buffalo, Wyoming, you have to have dinner (they only serve dinner) at the Winchester Steak House.
Sutherlin, OR – Smitty’s Deli. They specialized in all kinds of subs and you could even get them on gluten free bread!! I was shocked and amazed!! It was the best tuna sub I have ever had. Oh, how I wish my memory was a little better!!
Newport, OR – Pig N’ Pancake. Their specialty is pancakes, but I had a burger and was not disappointed. The menu is actually extremely varied and the food was made fresh and was very good. There were a lot of options for different types of hamburgers and toppings. I really enjoyed sitting and watching the never-ending line of traffic in Newport go by the window. It was relaxing after another harrowing day of driving.
Seal Rock, OR – Seal Rock Espresso & Bakery. Granted this was just a stop for coffee, but it was really good coffee and the owners (Edward and Jeni) were awesome. All over the west, there are these small stand alone, drive up coffee shops and I just had to try one. I am so glad I stopped as I got the morning jolt I needed for a long day of driving and I had some fun talking with the owners. Good times!
Seligman, AZ – Westside Lilo’s. I actually had breakfast there. Breakfast is my least favorite meal, so I never really expect too much but I was wrong. Situated on Route 66, Lilo’s is a tribute to the route and a really fun place to stop. The breakfast was one of the best I have ever had and the atmosphere was truly enjoyable.
Clinton, OK – Picante Grill. The restaurant itself did not look like much. The inside was like so many Mexican restaurant, very colorful and the menu was varied. I was not overly impressed until the food came. This was the best Mexican food I have had in a very long time. You could tell it was homemade and cooked with love. Lesson learned: Never judge a book by its cover (or you may miss a great meal).
Checotah, OK – Boom-a-rang Diner. Absolutely one of the best burgers I have ever had (and I have hardly ever had a bad one). There were a lot of different topping choices to choose from, the burger was high quality, the fries were awesome and the iced tea was really good. The diner was decorated in diner style which added to the ambiance. It was a very fun stop!!
Whittier, NC – Waffle House. What can I say about Waffle House, you always know what you are getting. This time was different as it was the company that made this meal so good. Visiting with a friend from my Kinetico days, Jan, was the highlight of the day and the great conversation made the food taste even better!
Beckley, WV – Texas Steakhouse. After a few days of regular (not bad) dining experiences (Denny’s, Bob Evans, etc.) and since it would be the last day of this trip, I opted for another steak. The Filet Mignon was very good here and Jamie, my server, was top of the line. I really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere as I contemplated the ending of Phase 1 of my trip.
Overall, I have to say that my one meal a day was always well worth the stop. I enjoyed every meal (probably because I was so hungry-lol). I enjoyed great servers and was able to share my story and hear theirs many times. Great connections were made and I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to have great food and great company.