We purchased brisket and pulled pork. . . . melt in your mouth tenderness with both choices and a slightly sweet and slightly tangy balanced sauce. We want to try the ribs next.
Mr. D’s BBQ
390 Leary Rd., Texarkana, TX
I-30 West of Texarkana, exit 213, across the road from Love’s Truck Stop
Venue: Roadside outdoor barbecue stand.
Atmosphere: Walk up to the order window and talk to the friendly person in the little building. We arrived about 1:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve and even though they were closed, he was willing to sell us some food. They were out of ribs but he fixed us up with a helpful attitude!
Food Fare: We purchased brisket and pulled pork. It was $18.00 for 1/2 pound of each with extra bbq sauce and 4 slices of thick white bread. Oh my, melt in your mouth tenderness with both choices and a slightly sweet and slightly tangy balanced sauce. Probably some of the best barbecued meats we’ve ever had. Checking out their FaceBook page, it looks like they also offer chicken quarters, and we know they offer ribs. Pete and I enjoyed both choices although his favorite was the brisket and mine was the pulled pork.
Recommendations: If you’re driving on I-30 around Texarkana, TX, plan to stop. You can get fuel at Love’s Truck Stop if you need it and then go across the road for bbq. It is a get it and go stand. We got ours and nibbled on it all afternoon while driving. You can choose to eat it as a meal or perpetual snack until it is gone.
Service: Outstanding! There was one man ahead of us that stopped to get food. The server actually came out of the house to help both of us even though they were already closed. The man ahead of us had stopped once before and was back for his second visit!
Return Rating: Definitely! We want to try the ribs next.
The Grubb Shack offers a full menu. Pete had a double bacon cheeseburger and he’ll never do that again. It was a huge sandwich! I ate the cheeseburger with grilled onions and onion rings. Looking forward to trying breakfast and seeing their business grow.
5885 East State Highway 294, Slocum, TX
Venue: A tiny town diner worth stopping and enjoying a meal at. You might be tempted to drive by, but it is a solid eatery with a variety of offerings. We stopped in on December 21 and learned the Grubb Shack had only been open for 6 weeks.
Atmosphere: Casual, relaxed eatery with 3 booths and 3 tables with room to add a bit more seating.
A flat screen tv is mounted to one wall if you wish to view it.
Food Fare: The Grubb Shack offers a full menu. Eggs, chorizo, pork chops, waffles, pancakes, biscuits & gravy, bacon, sausage, plus breakfast combos. Also, burgers, salads, tater tots, fries, onion rings, and weekly specials. Pies, pumpkin rolls, fried pies, fried donuts, and the classic buttermilk pie are available to go in the mornings before they run out. Pete had a double bacon cheeseburger and he’ll never do that again. It was a huge sandwich but he can say he did a double! I ate the cheeseburger with grilled onions and onion rings and enjoyed both. My single burger was a good size sandwich. I finished the onion rings and took part of the burger home. Both the fries and onion rings were nice and crispy. There is bottled pop and water, and fountain iced tea available.
Recommendations: Plan to stop in if you’re driving on Texas Highway 294. If you are looking for a field trip, just plan a drive and grab a bite. Grubb Shack is only 16 miles from Palestine, TX; 8 miles from Elkhart, TX; and 12 miles from Grapeland, TX. You will be able to relax and enjoy your meal as there is no WiFi nor cell reception. You will actually have to talk to each other. Miracle and her mom, Tiffany, are doing a fabulous job with the Grubb Shack. Dad claims it is the best food for a 50 mile radius, and we would agree with his statement.
Service: Service was relaxed and good. Keep in mind it is a two woman show. Food was cooked when ordered.
Return Rating: Definitely! Looking forward to trying breakfast and seeing their business grow.
Casual 1950’s diner vibe with plenty of seating . . . offers quite a variety! Arrive before prime meal time if you don’t want to wait in line.
Ray’s Drive In Café Since 1959
420 N. Timberland Dr., Lufkin, TX
Venue: Local hamburger joint in Luftkin, TX.
Atmosphere: Casual 1950’s diner vibe with plenty of seating in several different restaurant sections to enjoy your meal. Walk up to the counter to place and retrieve your order. They also offer drive up service under a carport.
Food Fare: Ray’s offers quite a variety! Burgers, baskets (chicken, steak, or seafood), salads, sandwiches, hotdogs, build your baked potato, fries, onion rings, tater tots, a few other sides, kid’s meal choices, cookies, ice cream, and a variety of drinks including beer and adult slushies. Pete enjoyed a Western Burger with an added patty and side of fries. The burger had a delicious flavor with 2 greasy slabs of burger grilled crispy on the outside, along with bacon, jalapeños, onion sticks and grilled onion. He noticed the fries were being made ahead of time as we waited for our order. The fries were hot and just ok. My Cheeseburger with added grilled onions was good with a tasty bun. Although, the bun was soft and fell apart as I ate the sandwich. The onion rings were nice and crispy, but bland. I ended up salting my ketchup to dip them in. When you order your drink, ask to see the cup sizes. The small is really small. Also, ice is given at the counter and not available at the fountain.
Recommendations: Be sure to grab a paper menu on the post before the order counter. There are lots of food choices but they are not all displayed at the counter. Also, ask to see the drink cup sizes. The small is really small. Arrive before prime meal time if you don’t want to wait in line. We arrived around 11:00 a.m. and by 11:30 there was an order line to the back of the main room. Before we left, the restaurant was crowded. Ray’s is obviously a popular spot. Note that they are closed on Sunday.
Service: Staff was friendly.
Return Rating: Definitely!
P.S. Loved this picture in the ladies restroom.
The food was good, affordable, and . . . We especially liked the thin crust spinach pizza. Definitely try the fried potatoes. Check out their website to locate one of their 140 stores in 10 states.
Mazzio’s Italian Eatery
Venue: Italian chain eatery that is very family friendly. The Palestine, TX location offers a pizza, pasta, salad bar combo.
Atmosphere: Casual environment with table seating in several rooms. A tv was available to watch in the room we dined in.
Food Fare: The food was good, affordable, and about what you would expect with a pizza buffet. The pizza was very enjoyable. We especially liked the thin crust spinach pizza. The manager offered to make Pete a spinach jalapeño chicken pizza and he enjoyed that flavor mix. The salad bar offered a nice variety but the iceberg lettuce had some brown spots to pick around. The hot pasta was flavorful but a bit over cooked sitting on the buffet. A dessert fruit pizza was offered on the buffet too. Mazzios offers an extensive menu of pizzas to order, calzone ring, hoagies, salads, pastas, create your own lasagna, wings, appetizers (they call add-ones), sweet treats, and kid’s meal choices – – whew!
Recommendations: Definitely try the fried potatoes. They were outstanding! The game room looked like fun for kids. It was a quiet night when we were there. Confirm the buffet hours for the Mazzios location you choose to dine at. Check out their website to locate one of their 140 stores in 10 states. The 9 I could decider from their map were: TX, OK, AK, MS, MO, IL, IA, GA, and KS.
Service: The manager making the pizza was great. The server clearing tables chose to wait until we left before clearing any plates. I’m not sure if this is procedure or a need for training.
Return Rating: Have to be in the mood for pizza buffet, but yes.
Everything was delicious and thoroughly enjoyed. Our server was outstanding! Hopefully you’ll be able to dine at one of these diner’s with locations in 11 states. Drool over the dessert case . . . you will probably be too full to eat dessert there.
Black Bear Diner
6715 Mesa Ridge Parkway, Fountain, CO
Venue: Sit down chain restaurant that felt like a locally owned one of a kind place. Breakfast is available all day which is a plus in our book.
Atmosphere: Casual dining space with a lodge retreat feel complimented by the floor to ceiling stone fireplace and gorgeous mountain view. Table or booth seating is available.
Food Fare: Our son and his family love eating here and so we experienced it on our first visit to see them in Colorado. They reported that they always have great food no matter their selections. Our son shared that the Friday night all you can eat fish was “glorious.” Our selections on this visit included: rib eye steak dinner, wild pesto salmon, meat loaf dinner, and the loaded Mac & cheese dinner along with a kids grilled cheese. Everything was delicious and thoroughly enjoyed. The only food pictures I took were of the soup and corn muffin. We really enjoyed our visit and the meal, and pictures just went by the wayside. However, this place was worth sharing with you in case you get the chance to give it a try.
Recommendations: Drool over the dessert case as you enter because you will probably be too full to eat dessert there. However, you can order dessert to go and enjoy it later. We were tempted to do so but didn’t. We enjoyed the Fountain, CO location which sported wooden bears around a wooden campfire. Our grandson loves this outdoor feature.
As mentioned above, this is a chain restaurant with quite a few locations. Per the website, locations are in AZ (11), CA (58), CO (4), ID (4), MO (1), NV (8), OK (3), OR (10), TX (2), UT-13, and WA (5). Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy one of these diner’s with locations in 11 states.
Service: Our server was outstanding! He provided excellent service, established rapport with the adults and the two year old, and kept up a steady stream of friendly banter.
Return Rating: Definitely!
We found what we always scout for at Giant Burger — a great burger and crispy french fries to go with it. The hamburger patties are 10 ounces and live up to the “Giant Burger” name.
405 W. Rhome
Venue: A local small town, travel center fast food eatery. The building was not particularly inviting, but don’t let that stop you.
Atmosphere: Casual and friendly place. We ate here at 11:00 a.m. and it was very active. There was table seating along with 2 booths.
Food Fare: Burgers, grilled chicken, chicken fried steak sandwich, catfish plate, and breakfast choices too. I’m not sure of breakfast food hours though. Pete had a double burger with cheese and grilled onions. I enjoyed a cheeseburger with grilled onions. These were BIG juicy, fat dripping hamburgers! They were great, and the fries were crispy as requested. Combos range from $9.99-7.99 plus your drink. We found what we always scout for at Giant Burger — a great burger and crispy french fries to go with it.
Recommendations: The hamburger patties are 10 ounces and live up to the “Giant Burger” name. Pete ordered a double and was asked, “Have you ever eaten here before, hon? They are 10 oz. patties” He can say he ate a double and now says he’ll never do that again.
Service: VERY friendly. When waiting patrons were called to the counter to get their food, she offered a parting salutation with the food. You could tell some were regular customers.
Return Rating: Definitely, already plotting when we might be able to stop by next. #backroadtracks
We’ve shared a number of fast food favorites . . . , you always get OUR unbiased opinion . . . a structured down and dirty review . . . so you can decide if you wanna plan to patronize the establishment. Here’s to National Fast Food Day!
Did you know that November 16 is National Fast Food Day?
Yup, it gives us an excuse to indulge in our favorite fast food.
What’s your favorite fast food?
Ours would have to be a great hamburger with cheese and crispy french fries on the side. We’ve shared a number of fast food favorites as we checked them out. Of course, you always get OUR unbiased opinion as we pay for our food and give you a structured down and dirty review you can quickly absorb so you can decide if you wanna plan to patronize the establishment.
So, in celebration of National Fast Food Day, here are links to some of our favorite burger blog posts in ranked order.
1. Giant Burger (review coming soon)
2. Gronk’s Grill & Bar
3. Big Mouth Burger Co.
4. Burger Barn
5. J.T. Walker’s
Of course, Whataburger must be mentioned in a fast food burger conversation. Whataburger is a Texas fast food chain and we love their burgers. Pick your burger and add toppings of your choice at an additional charge. Avocado is one topping I like to add. My husband’s favorite sandwich is the Monterey Melt. It is an ooey gooey cheesy burger with a spicy sauce. He adds an extra patty. Also, you can order junior sandwich versions instead of getting the large size. If you’ve never eaten at Whataburger, be sure to add it to your travel list.
You can also make fast food at home — ala the good old peanutbutter and jelly sandwich. Change up your bread and jam choices to keep it interesting or to add a gourmet touch. Try crunchy peanutbutter on wheat bread with orange marmalade. Try sourdough bread with the pb and apple butter. Your choices are endless. Remember there is the grilled cheese that is quick and easy too!
I’d love to hear what your favorite fast food is. Feel free to share in the comments section. Also, please share this post with your favorite foodie. Here’s to National Fast Food Day!
Both burgers had complimentary and tasty toppings on them. Pete had fresh straight cut fries and I had sweet potato fries. Both were fried crispy . . . and were fabulous.
R Bar – Your Pub & Grill
1190 25th St., Cameron, WI.
We were burger hungry again as we were driving through northern Wisconsin. Not your fast food burger hungry but a good solid cooked burger hungry. Once again, via Google, we found a solution—R Bar.
Venue: Off the beaten path sports bar/pub style restaurant.
Atmosphere: Very casual and dimly lit with plenty of table seating in three different sections. There is also chair seating at the bar.
Food Fare: We enjoyed the Western Burger and Pub Burger. Both were fantastic! The Western came with bacon, cheddar, onion ring, and BBQ sauce. The Pub had carmelized onions, bacon, Swiss, and horseradish mayo. Both burgers had complimentary and tasty toppings on them. Pete had fresh straight cut fries and I had sweet potato fries. Both were fried crispy as requested and were fabulous. The sweet potato fries had a sweet syrup or sauce added which completed the taste. They were good dipped in ketchup too. Cole Slaw was good but a bit on the vinegary side. Also offered on the menu were other sandwiches, appetizers, dinners, and baskets. There was one salad choice but three choices of meat if you wished to add it. A Kiddos menu had 3 entrees.
Recommendations: Check out the nightly specials available on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The waitress recommended the Rib Night special on Saturdays. Note that the Grill hours are different from the Bar hours. BUT, you can get pizza when the Bar is open.
Service: Laid back but exceptional service.
Return Rating: Definitely.
Get your donuts earlier . . . before they are sold out. Enjoying them earlier in the day might mean getting them while they are still warm!
World’s Best Donuts
Small Shop with Big Taste
10 Wisconsin St., Grand Marais, MN
Venue: A quaint, local donut shop with a large following. Expect to wait in line during prime tourist times.
Atmosphere: You can go inside and check out the donuts and other goodies or go to the outside walk up window to purchase your treats of choice. There is limited seating inside and out.
Food Fare: Offering donuts of course! Also, turnovers, skizzles and other goodies. We enjoy the plain cake donuts. They have a lighter texture than the cake donuts you are use to. However, you can get them with a variety of sweet toppings. The blueberry turnover we split was delicious!
Recommendations: Get your donuts earlier rather than later in the day before they are sold out. Enjoying them earlier in the day might mean getting them while they are still warm! You can also see if there are any “boo boos” packaged to buy. They are odd shaped but just as tasty. Also, if you like a late night sweet snack, but extra to take with you. The Super America gas station has been known to sell their donuts too. Oh, and be sure to take a tourist picture with the wooden painted people cut outs outside the shop.
Check their website for open days and hours. The shop is closed “off season.”
Service: Always friendly and helpful.
Return Rating: Definitely. We have to get our “World’s Best” fix when on the North Shore!
Nice variety of bakery goodies. The apple fritter had cinnamon laced through the dough.
7630 US 2, Iron River, WI
Venue: Small town bakery on US Highway 2, Northern Wisconsin.
Atmosphere: Very homey décor and casual setting. There are a few tables if you wish to enjoy your selections before you leave.
Food Fare: Nice variety of bakery goodies. We enjoyed apple fritters, a strawberry rhubarb turnover, and milk. All were delicious! The apple fritter had cinnamon laced through the dough which was tasty.
Recommendations: Stop in if your going through on U.S. Highway 2 through Iron River, WI. Check the counter for any “day old” bakery plates of goodies. Also, be sure to stop at the Fig Leaf Thrift Store too. It is just down the street.
Service: Very friendly.
Return Rating: Definitely! It was our second time stopping in.
The fries were perfect — the best crispy fries we’ve ever had! Both burgers were fantastic! Bob knows how to prepare quality, tasty food.
14860 TX 59, Athens, TX
In our travels we were hungry for a good burger and not a typical fast food option. Headed north towards Athens, Texas, I began googling for burger choices. I found the Burger Barn and my phone map had this foodstand located near Crossroads, TX. Wrong! We didn’t see the small red building with white trim. So, we were disappointed and kept driving north on TX 59.
The good news is the we stumbled upon the Burger Barn! We weren’t looking for it anymore but Pete noticed it as we drove past the Shady Oaks General Store at the intersection of TX 59 and 753. So, we turned around.
Venue: One man show burger stand.
Atmosphere: Lots of fresh air and outside seating at the picnic table to the side.
Food Fare: A variety of burgers, grilled chicken, BLT and a few other sandwich choices. Fries, onion rings, tater tots, chicken rings and potato chips are also on the menu along with bottled soda pop. Pete ordered the Mexican Burger with an extra patty and I got the Bacon Cheese Burger. We split a large french fry. The fries were perfect — the best crispy fries we’ve ever had! Both burgers were fantastic! Bob knows how to prepare quality, tasty food. The customer before us ordered a patty melt and wanted mustard on it. Bob let the guy know how he makes it for complimentary flavors but said he could make it per the request.
Recommendations: Note the Burger Barn hours and plan to stop for lunch. Try the french fries cooked crispy. Look for The Shady Oaks General Store at the intersection of TX 59 and 753 and off to the East side you’ll find The Burger Barn. It is 8 miles south of downtown Athens on TX 59.
Service: Bob had a dry humor, let us know the order took a bit longer because of the crispy fries, and delivered hot, quality food.
Return Rating: Definitely! This is the type of place we love. It will be a regular stop when we head north.
There is a small lunch counter if you want a hot plate lunch, a menu of made to order items, made ahead hot items to grab ‘n go, and snack items. The service was friendly and helpful.
Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen
105 HWY 165, Iowa, LA
Venue: Easy to find eatery off Interstate 10.
Atmosphere: Casual, country eatery. You order and retrieve food choices from the counter. Drinks purchased at the counter as well and are self-serve. There are lots of hard wood tables to enjoy your meal at.
Food Fare: There is a small lunch counter if you want a hot plate lunch, a menu of made to order items, made ahead hot items to grab ‘n go, and snack items. Pete enjoyed a meat and veggie breaded and fried kabob along with a side of gizzards. At the recommendation of another customer, I had the boudin balls smashed into a burger and served with burger fixins. The boudin burger was crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. This texture and flavor combo with the bun was tasty! We didn’t try the desserts, but these comfort food baked items looked good.
Recommendations: Try a dessert if your not too full. Take note that the drink fountain is not all you can drink, but there is a reasonable price on refills. We wanted to purchase some sausage or other bulk meat to take home. However, we were disappointed to read that there is MSG in the sausage. Read the label or ask before purchasing from the meat counter if MSG is a concern.
Service: We were greeted upon entering. The service was friendly and helpful.
Return Rating: Yes. Pete plans to try something different, and Cindy may have to stick to the boudin ball burger.