Melt in Your Mouth Tenderness at Mr. D’s BBQ!

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.

Brisket and Pork bbq in pulled form with 4 slices of white bread in the background all in a white styrofoam container.Mr. D’s BBQ

390 Leary Rd., Texarkana, TX

I-30 West of Texarkana, exit 213, across the road from Love’s Truck Stop

Mr. D's BBQ stand. Red shed building with white awning. One person is at the walk up counter and another is waiting for his food.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. Brisket and Pork bbq in pulled form with 4 slices of white bread in the background and 2 cups of bbq sauce in the mid-ground all in a white styrofoam container. A plastic fork is resting in the meat.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.

Mr. D's BBQ banner on a fence, wood piled along base of fence, a smoker with smoke pouring out, and the side of the BBQ stand are in this picture. The house and trees are in the background.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.

Grubb Shack is a Good Stop!

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.


Grubb Shack double bacon cheeseburger with crispy french fries in a paper lined basket.
Grubb Shack

5885 East State Highway 294, Slocum, TX

Grubb Shack storefront 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.Grubb Shack Now Open sign with tall pine tree in background

Atmosphere: Casual, relaxed eatery with 3 booths and 3 tables with room to add a bit more seating. Tables inside the Grubb Shack

 

 

 

A flat screen tv is mounted to one wall if you wish to view it.

Cheeseburger and crispy fries in a paper lined plastic basket.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. Inside view of double bacon cheeseburger held by 2 hands.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. Crispy onion rings and cheeseburger with grilled onions. Top bun is on the side to show the inside of the sandwich. All food is presented in a paper lined plastic basket.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.Grubb Shack hours listed on the entry door.

Return Rating: Definitely! Looking forward to trying breakfast and seeing their business grow.Snowman Christmas Tree at the Grubb Shack.

Ray’s Drive In Café Since 1959 Offers Quite a Variety

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.

Two wrapped hamburgers, cardboard tray of onion rings, and cardboard tray of french fries on red tray.Ray’s Drive In Café Since 1959

420 N. Timberland Dr., Lufkin, TX

Ray’s Cafe storefront 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.Entry way view looking toward order counter at Ray’s Cafe. Walk up to the counter to place and retrieve your order. They also offer drive up service under a carport.View of carport order area through window blinds.

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. List of adult slushies at Ray’s Cafe.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.Western burger at Ray’s Cafe. He noticed the fries were being made ahead of time as we waited for our order. The fries were hot and just ok. Cheeseburger with grilled onions at Ray’s Drive In Cafe.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.

Ray’s Drive In Cafe cow hide style stools and bar seating.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. Large table inside Ray’s with hanging T-shirts for sale.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.Ray’s electronic sign advertising gluten free buns and cookies.

Return Rating:  Definitely!

Black and white photo of folks dressed up watching a movie with the cardboard dark lense glasses. The photo has a wide, yellow mat around it.

P.S. Loved this picture in the ladies restroom.

Mazzio’s Pizza and Salad Bar Makes Mealtime Easy

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.


Picture inside Mazzio’s with order boards and pizza buffet in background and salad bar in foreground.
Mazzio’s Italian Eatery

Venue: Italian chain eatery that is very family friendly. The Palestine, TX location offers a pizza, pasta, salad bar combo.

Table seating inside Mazzio’s with tv in background.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.Pizza, fried potatoes and blue cheese dressing on a plate. 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. Picture of salad bar.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. Three food items on hot pasta buffet: two breadstick choices and one pasta choice.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. Mazzio’s kids’ game room.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.Mazzio’s kids’ game room.

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.

Mazzio’s storefront Return Rating: Have to be in the mood for pizza buffet, but yes.Mazzio’s sign

 

 

 

Black Bear Diner Brings It!

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 placemat with picture of bear, bear paws and writing.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.Inside picture of Black Bear Diner with floor to ceiling fireplace, and table and booth seating.

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. Black Bear Diner broccoli soup with buttered cornbread muffin on a plate.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.

Black Bear Diner dessert case loaded with goodies.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.Black Bear Diner outdoors wooden statues of 2 bears and a campfire.

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.

Black Bear Diner napkin with paw print and spoon and part of placemat.Return Rating: Definitely!

Giant Burger Lives Up to Its Name

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.

Giant Burger double patty burger with cheese and grilled onions in foil lined basket.Giant Burger
405 W. Rhome
Rhome, Texas

Giant Burger storefront Venue: A local small town, travel center fast food eatery. The building was not particularly inviting, but don’t let that stop you.

Giant Burger inside seating of tables and 2 boothsAtmosphere: 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. Giant Burger cheeseburger with grilled onions in a foil lined basket.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.

Giant Burger cheeseburger with grilled onions in a foil lined basket with shredded lettuce, tomato, and pickle on the bottom.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.Giant Burger 10 oz. patties on the grill

Return Rating: Definitely, already plotting when we might be able to stop by next.        #backroadtracksGiant Burger drink fountain area

Fabulous National Fast Food Day

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!

California Burger at J T Walker’sDid 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.Gronk’s Upside hamburger with french fries and cole slaw

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. Two sizes of Whataburger sandwiches with packet of ketchupIf 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!

Crinkle french fries cooked crispy from Burger Barn.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!

R Bar – Your Pub & Grill

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.

Western Burger with french fries, cole slaw, and pickles on a dinner plate. Ice tea to the side.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.

"R Bar" sign with trees and country road in background.Venue: Off the beaten path sports bar/pub style restaurant.Store front picture with trees and store sign in foreground.

Atmosphere: Very casual and dimly lit with plenty of table seating in three different sections. There is also chair seating at the bar.Bar an table seating in R 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. Pub Burger with sweet potato fries, cole slaw, and pickles.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.Front of R Bar menu with hours listed.

Service: Laid back but exceptional service.

Return Rating: Definitely.Pool table and other games at R Bar.

 

 

World’s Best Donuts Small Shop with Big Taste

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 red and white sign with shop for n background and tree with autumn leaves to the sideWorld’s Best Donuts

Small Shop with Big Taste

10 Wisconsin St., Grand Marais, MN

Looking down into white sack with donuts.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.World’s Best Donut Shop storefront

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. Blueberry turnover on white bakery paperHowever, 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! Two donuts on white bakery paper, partially eaten.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.”

Outside seating at donut shop in foreground and walk up order window in background with customersService: Always friendly and helpful.

Return Rating: Definitely. We have to get our “World’s Best” fix when on the North Shore!

Angie’s Bakery

Nice variety of bakery goodies. The apple fritter had cinnamon laced through the dough.

Apple Fritter on white crinkled bakery paperAngie’s Bakery

7630 US 2, Iron River, WI

Venue: Small town bakery on US Highway 2, Northern Wisconsin.Angie’s Bakery storefront.

Atmosphere: Very homey décor and casual setting. Homey decor and table seating inside bakery.There are a few tables if you wish to enjoy your selections before you leave.

Long view of bakery cases and store lobby area.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.Inside view of apple fritter showing cinnamon laced through pastry.

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.

Iced turnover on white bakery paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return Rating: Definitely! It was our second time stopping in.

Burger Barn is the Best!

The fries were perfect — the best crispy fries we’ve ever had! Both burgers were fantastic! Bob knows how to prepare quality, tasty food.

Mexican burger with top bun lifted to show the sandwich.Burger Barn

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.

Shady Oaks General Store sign and storefront.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.

Storefront picture of Burger Barn: small red building with white trim with a two window order counter.Venue: One man show burger stand.

Atmosphere: Lots of fresh air and outside seating at the picnic table to the side.Red picnic table to the side back of the Burger Barn.

 

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. Bacon Cheeseburger with all the fixings with the top bun lifted to see the inside of the sandwich.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.Crinkle french fries cooked crispy.

Close up picture of bitten french fry showing inside. Crispy fries in the background. 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.

Picture of Burger Barn menu.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.Burger Barn store hours and phone number to call ahead and order.

Return Rating: Definitely! This is the type of place we love. It will be a regular stop when we head north."Welcome to Bob's Burger Barn One-Man Show" sign taped to the inside of the order window.Texas 59 and 753 road signs.

Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen

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.

Smashed boudin ball burger on wrapper in cardboard basket.Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen

105 HWY 165, Iowa, LA

Venue: Easy to find eatery off Interstate 10.

Main entry aisle with order counter and multiple coolers or freezers of food for sale.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.

Fried foods on display for order and go selections.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. A meat and veggie breaded and fried kabob along with a side of gizzards each in styrofoam containers.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.

Rabideaux’s sign with pig leaning on a fence.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. Refrigerated display of sausages and meats.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.Rabideaux’s Sausage Kitchen storefront.

Return Rating: Yes. Pete plans to try something different, and Cindy may have to stick to the boudin ball burger.