Our Favourite Places To Eat On A Route 66 Road Trip - Diners, Cafes and Restaurants

Our road trip driving Route 66 from Chicago to LA in June and July this year was a bucket list experience that was fantastic. Driving this historic route with my husband took 23 days and over 3000 miles in the end with detours along the way. We didn't argue too much! We ate in a number of interesting Route 66 restaurants, bars and cafes along the trip, from 50s style diners for which Route 66 is known as well as burger joints and smarter more expensive restaurants. 

Here are some of our favourite places to eat on this Route 66 road trip. I have rated the restaurants and cafes out of 10 for ambience and food quality, and the price range from 1 to 5 in dollars depending on how expensive they were. This is not a definitive resource of the best restaurants, how can it be as there are thousands on this route? It's just our personal experience from driving the whole route on this occasion. 

Elm Street Eatery, Lebanon, Missouri

Elm Street Eatery describes itself as a breakfast and brunch restaurant. Selling a range of food from omelettes to soups, burgers to taco bowls. I had a beef taco bowl which was really tasty. The food is reasonably priced too. We were recommended this restaurant by a local and it did not disappoint. Unfortunately, it does not have a website.

Elm St Eatery, 135 W Elm St, Lebanon, Missouri 65536, +1 417-588-2700
Rating 7/10
Price range $


Taste Of Italy, Precious Moments Chapel, Carthage Missouri



When we stopped at the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage Missouri we ate at the newly opened Italian restaurant called A Taste of Italy. I have to admit what the large spacious room lacked in atmosphere, it made up for in the quality of the food and the excellent service. I had pasta in a mushroom sauce which was very good and came with complimentary warm bread and a fresh tomato dipping sauce as well as fresh salad. With drinks, a meal for two came to about 20 dollars which we thought was brilliant value. A total surprise much like the quirky chapel itself which is adorned with cartoon characters depicting the bible!

Precious Moment Chapel, 4321 S Chapel Rd, Carthage, MO 64836, +1 800-543-7975
Rating 7/10
Price $$

Juniper, Tulsa, Oklahoma

If you are looking for a nice upmarket meal, in downtown Tulsa Oklahoma, check out Juniper. Close to the attraction called the Centre Of The Universe, and not far from the Loews Downtown Tulsa hotel, this farm to table restaurant is an excellent choice for a meal where you want to get dressed up a little. Think seasonal risotto, bone-in pork chop with polenta fries as I had above and seared duck breast. Everything was presented beautifully and tasted great. Bookings highly recommended.

Juniper 324 E 3rd St, Tulsa, OK, 74120, +1 918-794-1090
Rating 8/10
Price $$$$

Pops, Arcadia, Oklahoma

For good diner food in an interesting setting stop by to Pops, in Arcadia, Oklahoma. This diner and gas station is a new iconic stop on Route 66. You can spot it from the gigantic pop bottle by the side of the road. There is a large shop selling 7000 types of soda and a diner inside. I had the chicken fried steak - a steak breaded and fried like chicken, which is popular in this area, and Mr W the 7 layer salad which was huge and tasty. A place to stop for a good hot dog or burger in a fun setting.

Pops, 660 OK-66, Arcadia, OK 73007, USA +1 405-928-7677
Rating 6/10
Price $$

Midpoint Cafe, Adrian, Texas

The Midpoint Cafe is a popular stop on Route 66 as it is halfway between Chicago and LA, being both 1139 miles to each point.  This cool little diner has a basic menu of hot dogs and burgers. We had a hot dog which was a bit pricey and just ok but the best thing to have on the menu is definitely the Ugly Crust Pie for which the cafe is known. The pies vary and include coconut, key lime and lemon meringue. The lemon meringue pie was simply amazing! So stop here for some coffee and pie and then browse the little Route 66 gift shop attached.

Midpoint Cafe, 305 W Historic Route 66, Exit 22 I-40, Adrian, TX 79001-2014, +1 806-538-6379
Rating 7/10
Price $$


Kix on Route 66 Tucumcari, New Mexico


This old school super retro-style diner Kix on Route 66, is a short walk from some iconic route 66 motels in Tucumcari - the Blue Swallow Motel and Motel Safari. This is a great place for breakfast and lunch. I had a ham and mushroom omelette with hash browns and this came with toast. It was delicious and well priced too, and I think this was our best breakfast on the route.  It also serves burritos, quesadillas, french toast and more. The perfect Route 66 diner stop in Tucumcari New Mexico.

Kix on 66, 1102 East Historic Route 66, Tucumcari, NM 88401, +1 575-461-1966
Rating 7/10
Price $


El Rancho, Gallup, New Mexico

El Rancho in Gallup New Mexico is a well known historic hotel on Route 66 with a restaurant attached. It was built by the brother of film director DW Griffiths and housed many famous film stars in the '30s and '40s who were filming Cowboy and Western films in the area. It was cool to see signed photos of John Wayne, Burt Lancaster and others in the hotel. Attached is a restaurant offering Tex/Mex food. Mr W had the chilli which was very spicy and I had apple pie with ice cream and cream which was very good. A super cool stop if you are a fan of old school Hollywood.

El Rancho, 1000 E. Highway 66 Gallup, NM 87301, +1 505-863-9311
Rating 6/10
Price $$

Dinner For Two, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Dinner For Two in Santa Fe New Mexico is an upmarket restaurant, perfect for occasions and romantic meals. Dishes included crab-stuffed rainbow trout, veal marsala and bananas foster. I had a very good filet mignon as shown above and a delicious key lime pie.  This is an excellent restaurant and one worth visiting if you have the money. Bookings highly recommended.

Dinner For Two 106 North Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501, +1 505-820-2075
Rating 8/10
Price $$$$

The Turquoise Room, Winslow, Arizona



The Turquoise Room is an award-winning restaurant situated in the beautiful historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow Arizona. The food is locally sourced where possible and the menu contains some interesting choices for vegetarians and vegans as well as meat-eaters. I had a very good and tender pepper steak. Dishes on the menu included an Arizona grown vegan salad bowl and shrimp with Paparella pasta. For the quality of the food, it was well priced too and slightly less than other restaurants of this quality. Bookings highly recommended.

The Turquoise Room at La Posada, 305 East Second Street, Winslow, AZ 86047, +1 928-289-2888
Rating 8/10
Price $$$$


Guy Fieri Kitchen and Bar, Las Vegas Nevada
As a detour off Route 66, we stopped in Las Vegas Nevada. We ate at a number of decent restaurants here. Our favourite place for a quick service meal on the Las Vegas strip was Panda Express. It's a chain selling well priced tasty Chinese food. Our favourite burger place on the whole of the trip was Guy Fieri's Kitchen and Bar at the Linq hotel. You may have heard of him from his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It's a busy and noisy venue as are so many restaurants in Vegas are but the bacon mac 'n cheese burger was oh so good and Mr W's turkey burger was excellent too! Other dishes included ribs, lobster tacos, and blackened salmon.

Guy Fieri's Kitchen and Bar, The Linq Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, +1 702-794-3139
Rating 7/10
Price $$$

Cafe del Rey, Marina del Rey, Los Angeles

Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey Los Angeles is a fabulous restaurant with a waterfront setting, about 4 miles from Santa Monica Pier, the official end of Route 66.  A great place to go for a special meal, the restaurant serves locally sourced food with an emphasis on quality ingredients. There was a good selection of salads on the menu, fish and seafood (the grilled oysters were particularly good), as well as wagyu steak. A lovely spot for a special meal, I recommend the strawberry shortcake for dessert, it was light and delicious. We were given a complimentary meal as part of a press trip here, but I can honestly say it was fantastic. 

Cafe del Rey, 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292, +1 310-823-6395
Rating 8/10
Price $$$$

Cozy Dog Drive-In
Last but not least is the Cozy Dog Drive-In.  Although one of the first stops on the route we took being in Springfield Illinois I wanted to mention it last as it's really a snack stop. The Cozy Dog can't be forgotten though as it's an iconic Route 66 stop and has been here since the '40s.  The Cozy Dog is a corndog (hotdog sausage covered in a cornmeal batter and fried). On the menu is also breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers and fries. A super cheap stop on your trip and the Cozy Dog was actually as good as a hot dog in batter can be and surprisingly tasty! 

Cozy Dog Drive-In, 2935 So. Sixth Street, Springfield, IL 62703, +1 217-525-1992
Rating 6/10
Price $

So here are some of our favourite restaurants and places to eat on a Route 66 road trip. There are so many places we could have eaten on this trip, so this is just a taste of where we stopped and where you could eat if you wanted to as well. While you are here check out my Route 66 road trip planning if you are thinking of doing this trip. 






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Have you driven Route 66? What do you think of the places we ate? Do you have any recommendations on where to eat next time?

15 comments

  1. I knew I shouldn't have read this while I'm hungry. There's not a single thing on this list that I don't want to inhale right this very minute!

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  2. Oh my gosh, I knew there was some incredible food to try but honestly, I don't even know what looks the most appealing here...The Burrito Bowl is really calling my name x

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    1. It was really tasty as it had lots of spicy beef, salad and then the crispiness of the tortilla bowl which of course you have to eat!

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  3. Some great looking places to eat, I’m a lover of Italian of food so taste of Italy looks really good. I’m a huge fan of American diners x

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    1. I was really surprised how good that restaurant was in the Precious Moments chapel. It was excellent and so reasonable too. Sorry about the photo, it's the worst one I have in this post but I didn't want to leave it out.

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  4. I can see why you love these places to eat the food all looks amazing thank you for sharing

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  5. Wow so many cools places to eat and drink for sure. I like the look of the Midway xx

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  6. Sounds like the holiday of a lifetime and that food would be the icing on the cake

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    1. We kept on meeting people along the route that we met a day before. Everyone stops at the iconic spots. Route 66 has a real community feel.

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  7. Sounds incredible and the food looks
    To die for ! Currently drooling! :)

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  8. The food looks delicious! I would not skip the Cozy Dog!

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  9. OMG all this food looks amazing!! That's it I need to do a road trip across the US like right now!!! So much good food

    Laura x

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