Cayuga Texas Grill & Country Store

Quality food at small town gas stations is not common. Food was made when ordered and sandwich buns were toasted on the grill.

Bacon burger in basket with French fries on tin foil and bottle of Diet Coke all sitting on a tableCayuga Texas Grill & Country Store

US 287
Cayuga, Texas

Venue: A back road truck stop. While not as fancy as TA or Love’s, it is quite serviceable.

Atmosphere: Small town gas station, convenience store that also sells hot food that is made to order. There are actually a good many tables for its size.Tables and chairs in dining area of gas station. Plants are in window to left of seating area and products are on back wall.

Food Fare: We enjoyed a bbq sandwich, large fry, and bacon cheeseburger with 2 Diet Coke’s for $16.62. Not a bad price and the food was made when ordered. Both sandwiches had buns toasted on the grill and the sweet bbq was hot (with heat).

Barbeque sandwich on styrofoam plate and bottle of Diet Coke sitting on a table.Recommendations: Bathrooms were located behind the building and you have to walk outside to get to them. The workers were friendly and our food was received as ordered. Grab your drinks of choice from the cooler.

Service: Order and pay at the counter, and food is delivered to your table.Cayuga Texas Grill and Country Store sign. Has a yellow smiley face with a cowboy hat and says, "Come On In . . . "

Return Rating: Yes, if hungry and going by. Quality food at small town gas stations are not common. We need to remember this one.Cayuga Texas Grill & Country Store metal building with overhang of gas pump

Holding out for Pasty Paid off at The Pasty Oven

Meat and potato folks will love this original pot pie! If you’ve never had pasty, try the traditional version.

Golden pasty on a plate with a cup of tea on the sideThe Pasty Oven

Hwy U.S. 2
Quinnesec, MI

We were hungry and had been looking for somewhere different to eat in the Upper Peninsula — maybe a “hole in the wall” type place. It was a bit past lunch time and we had driven through a few larger towns and thought our opportunity may have passed to find a local eatery. Ever been in this situation?
Then it occurred to us that we should stop at a local pasty place. We had already driven by several. Well, you know how it is when you get such an idea in your head. Short of being on the verge of starving we were holding out for pasty. Fortunately, we found it!The Pasty Oven business sign

Venue: Small, local eatery right off U.S. Hwy 2. Inside table seating or drive through service available.

Atmosphere: Casual, quaint, and pleasant.

Food Fare: What we had was delicious. Golden, crispy onion rings were served hot as was the pasty. basket of crispy, golden onion rings with bottle of ketchup on sidePete enjoyed the large traditional pasty with rutabaga while I had the chicken and cheese modern version. The chicken pasty filling was delicious. While we enjoyed their pasty, we both agreed that the crust did not measure up to the pasty crust made at Rigoni’s Bakery in Ironwood, Michigan by Bob the Baker.

Recommendations: If you’ve never had pasty, try the traditional version. Pasty on plate, cut in half to expose filling of meat and rutabaga Pasty is the original “pot pie” but way better. Meat and potato folks will love it! Be sure to look over the menu as there were lots of other good food choices. Prices were good. Our bill was $17.10 plus tip and that included two hot teas. When we stopped, no other cars were in the parking lot—we weren’t even sure they were open—but they were. So, be sure to pull in the lot to check it out. Two other cars of folks stopped while we were eating plus a carry out. Check out their website at Pastys.com.

Service: Courteous and friendly servers promptly served our food hot and as ordered.Inside The Pasty Oven with green and cream tiled floors and tables and chairs

Return Rating: DefinitelyChicken pasty on a plate, cut in half to expose filling

If you’re not planning to be in the UP or southern Wisconsin to sample some pasty, search out a recipe online to take a cuisine road trip. What regional foods do you enjoy at home or on the road?

Top Buffet – Good Food, Come Hungry

Good food and great prices at this All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet! If you’re in the area, it is worth a try. While the plaza and building do not look inviting, what is inside makes up for it.

Chinese food on a plate: crab rangoon, peanut chicken, noodles, mushrooms, crab and cheese dish.Top Buffet

515 Lansing Road

Charlotte, MI

 

My husband was hungry for all you can eat fish which we didn’t expect to find middle of the day and middle of the week. So, thanks to Google, we located Top Buffet cruising down Interstate 69.

 

Venue: All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet. While the plaza and building do not look inviting, what is inside makes up for it.Top Buffet storefront

 

Atmosphere: Casual dining with booth or table seating.

Table seating inside Chinese Buffet

 

 

 

Food Fare: Delicious food. Crab Rangoon, fried zucchini, peanut butter chicken, and tea were tasty. General Chicken was a bit soggy but good.The crab meat with cheese was over cooked by most people’s standards, but we like it with a crunchy top. Egg roll wrapper was a bit chewy and tough, but my husband didn’t have any trouble finding food for his second round. Dipped ice cream was available and staff tried to keep pre-scooped dishes on a tray in the freezer for you. Usually we encounter soft ice cream but this was hard as a rock—which is how I like it! So, if you want yours soft, be sure to plan ahead.

One buffet line at Chinese restaurant: desserts and fruit

Recommendations: Pricing was $6.99 for lunch and $8.99 for dinner. Great prices! If you’re in the area, it is worth a try.There was no wasabi, ginger, or sushi but with these prices we had no complaints. We also noticed there were other cost management measures such as no chopsticks or hot tea teapot. Note: They are closed on Mondays and also offer carry out.Chinese food buffet line with entrees and vegetables

 

Service: Staff was helpful and friendly. Our hot tea was refilled multiple times. We did get our fortune cookie which was crisp and fresh. The fortune was only printed on one side.

 

Return Rating: Definitely.Buffet tables at Chinese Buffet

Looking for a small town café? Try SOB for a great burger!

Good food and solid service with reasonable prices. You can relax and enjoy the atmosphere at this small town café.

Two plates with hamburger and fries

When you wonder what kind of food South of the Border Café serves, keep in mind which border it is near. It is a true Grand Marais, MN local haunt that you will want to definitely experience.

Venue: A small town café that is open 5:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. everyday. Booth seating encompasses the main dining area as well as the back room.

Inside of cafe showing booth seating, door to back room and coffee pot area

Atmosphere: Casual and often very busy.

Food Fare: Breakfast or lunch items served all day. Fresh breaded, fried herring when in season. Great hamburgers as well as omelets.

Plated omelet with hot sauce, bacon and toast

Recommendations: Order the herring if in season. Bring cash as they don’t accept credit cards. Check out any specials on the white board above the coffee pot area.

Service: Always good, solid service. One of the reasons we love SOB is because Peg, one of the waitresses, adds to the experience of dining here.

Peg, waitress at cafeShe self-defined as the snarkiest waitress in town. She is friendly but will definitely tell you how it is in her honest, flavorful manner.

Return Rating: Definitely. Prices are reasonable, food is good, and we feel at home.Picture of front of menu: 2 guys in small fishing boat

South of the Border Cafe storefront

 

Harbor Café offers Extensive Menu

Harbor Café offers a very wide array of menu items. Allow yourself plenty of time to look over their extensive menu, and be sure to save room for dessert! A great dining spot while visiting Clarksville, TN or Ft. Campbell.

Harbor Cafe storefrontHarbor Café Bar & Grill
2131 Lowes Drive
Clarksville, TN

We enjoyed a three generation family meal at this fine establishment in one of their large booths. Food, atmosphere, and service all culminated in an enjoyable evening.

Venue: While billed as a Café, I’d classify this establishment as a restaurant. You can easily dress casual or upscale to enjoy your evening.

Atmosphere: Large and roomy steak house atmosphere.

Harbor Cafe oriental dish with white rice and spring roll

Food Fare: Harbor Café offers a very wide array of menu items. Steak, pasta, seafood, oriental not to mention appetizers, salads,and desserts. We enjoyed grilled chicken with sweet potato, 2 oriental dishes, and a pasta dish.

Harbor Cafe oriental dish with spring roll

Recommendations: Allow yourself plenty of time to look over their extensive menu. Definitely save room for cheesecake. I’ve never had a piece of cheesecake that tall before. very tall cheesecake slice with strawberry sauce and whipped cream dollopBoth cheesecake and key lime pie were good. Consider adding this restaurant to your itinerary while visiting Clarksville, TN or Ft. Campbell.

Service: Top notch!piece of key lime pie with whipped cream dollop, cherry and leaf

Return Rating: Definitely!

Harbor Cafe neon sign

Put Dumas Walker Pepper & Pie Co. on your To Do List

Plan your trip to Brenham, TX around Dumas Walker’s hours. This unobtrusive restaurant is one that you would probably just drive by. Trust me — it is worth stopping. They offer tasty comfort food and the biscuits are the BEST!

Dumas Walker Pepper and Pie Company storefrontDumas Walker Pepper & Pie Company

 

1505 West Main

Brenham, TX

 

Dumas Walker’s serves Cajun, Creole, and comfort food in their small restaurant located in Brenham, Texas. Friends were kind enough to tell us about this restaurant and we are so glad they did!

Venue: Unobtrusive restaurant that you would probably just drive by. Trust me — it is worth eating here.

Atmosphere: Cozy table seating in a casual fashion with eclectic Texas country décor. There is a selection of old cookbooks you can look at while waiting for your food. I’ll be sharing some interesting recipes I found in future blog posts.

Dumas Walker bacon and eggs with hash browns, biscuit, and side of gravy

Food Fare: We’ve always chosen breakfast but we understand they have great burgers. The biscuits are the BEST! They are worth going off your diet. Hashbrowns and bacon arrived crispy as requested. I order a side of the gravy to enjoy with my meal.

Dumas Walker omelette with hashbrowns and biscuit

Recommendations: Plan your trip to Brenham around their open hours. They are open Monday-Friday 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Also, check out Dumas Walker’s website for an interesting read about their history. The menu is online as well.

Service: Very good.

Return Rating: Definitely! We love breakfast for any meal.

Uncle Bud’s Offers Fun Eating Experience

Uncle Bud’s offers fantastic food, excellent service, and a fun eating experience. Great hometown spot!

Uncle Bud's restaurant pictureUncle Bud’s of Donelson

2719 Old Lebanon Rd.

Nashville, TN

Venue: “Home of the all-you-can-eat Fixin’s” that also offers an all-you-can-eat catfish any day of the week. This appears to be a popular local spot.

Atmosphere: Very welcoming and casual. Staff want you to have a good time.

Inside picture of a Uncle Bud's. Crowded seating.

Food Fare: Alligator tail, chicken nuggets and catfish are some of the items you can choose from. All dinners come with the All You Can Eat Fixin’s: coleslaw, white beans, hush puppies, fries, and pickles and onions.

Plated food: alligator tail, fries, slaw and white beans on the side

 

 

 

 

Fried fish, hush puppy and lemon slices

Recommendations: Try the alligator tail–you can have it fried or grilled. Both are delicious but I like grilled better. Be prepared for a fun eating experience. Go early to avoid a wait.

Service: Exceptional! It was very good even on a crazy busy Father’s Day.

Return rating: Definitely. We’ve been twice and would love to return again. Worth a spot on your to do list for the Nashville area.

Uncle Bud's Sign

Upside Down Hamburgers fun eat at Gronks Grill and Bar

Casual dining, upside down hamburgers, and good service make this a great stop if you are going through Superior, Wisconsin.

Gronks Grill and Bar signGronks Grill and Bar  4909 E. 2nd St., Superior, Wi

We drove by this fun looking place for years and finally decided to stop when we were burger hungry. We wish we had stopped sooner.

Picture of Gronks Grill and Bar building

Venue: Sports bar and grill on Highway 53 in Superior, Wisconsin. Interesting upnorth sports and outdoor decor. Boasts it is “home of the biggest 1 pound burger.” Aren’t all 1 pound burgers 1 pound?

Atmosphere: Casual dining at wood tables or bar with small Gronks wear gift shop.

Bar area in Grill and Bar

 

 

 

 

Food Fare: Upside Down burgers. You can check out their full menu online. We always request our fries well-done.

Upside hamburger with french fries and cole slaw

Recommendations: While you are online looking at the menu, look up their daily specials. Last I knew, Wednesdays was buy one, get one free Upside Down hamburgers. My husband likes the Barnyard Burger–it has beef, pork and an egg.

Service:  Has been good every time we are there. We also call ahead to order when traveling through and carry out service is great too.

Inside restaurant with boat hanging from ceiling

Return Rating: Definitely, every chance we get. Love to eat here.

Gronks wear gift shop inside Grill and Bar

Burgers, Fish, Soul Food & Friendly

Homey restaurant where the locals eat. Comfort food, friendliness and tasty food await inside.

Cookie’s Place
942 US-84
Teague, TX

Cookie's Place Restaurant exterior

We have a new favorite place to grab a burger in Texas. We’ve enjoyed Whataburger in the past, but when we are near Teague, Texas we plan to stop in at Cookie’s Place.

Venue: Restaurant where the locals eat. A homey atmosphere offering tables as well as a tv if you care to watch. Don’t judge the interior by the exterior. Comfort food and friendliness are inside.

Cookie's Place restaurant interior

Atmosphere: Very relaxed. We were invited to holler if we needed anything.

Menu picture

Food Fare: Burgers, fish, and soul food. If you are in a hurry, ask what is on the food line for a hot, delicious meal. If you have time, order off the menu. We enjoyed the chicken fried steak (off the line), bacon cheese burger and iced tea.

Chicken Fried Steak meal with corn muffin and baked beans

Plated hamburger and crispy fries

Recommendations: Try the buttermilk pie! Piece of buttermilk pie It was a large piece and tasted great. The banana pudding was beyond tasty. My husband, who doesn’t do creamed banana anything, loved it.

Service: Solid service. We were waited on by a young lady, Cookie herself, and her husband. The young lady provided knowledgeable recommendations when asked. French fries were nice and crispy as requested. Cookie brought a pitcher of tea to our table for my husband who is a heavy drinker.

Return Rating: Definitely! Be sure to say hello to Cookie!

Chinese Cuisine in the Upper Peninsula

Chinese food you can order a la carts or by family meals. Request your food “Chinese Hot” for a flavorful zing. Staff address menu questions and the food is delicious.

Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant frontGolden Dragon Chinese Restaurant, 215 S. Suffolk, Ironwood, MI

Venue:  The Golden Dragon relocated from a small strip mall location to its current fine dining spot that was formerly an Italian restaurant in downtown Ironwood in Michigan’s supper Peninsula.  Lots of seating and a separate bar area.Table and booth seating inside Chinese restaurant

Atmosphere:  Relaxing environment with your choice of table or booth.  The owner, Annie, is usually on site and interacts with her customers.

Food Fare:  Chinese food that you can order a la carte or by family meals.

Picture of Chinese food

 

Recommendations:  If you enjoy spicy, request your food “Chinese Hot” for a flavorful zing.  Egg rolls and spring rolls are both delicious.  The peanutbutter chicken has a sweetly delicious peanutbutter sauce.

Service:  Excellent.  Well trained staff.  They know the menu and can address questions.

Return Rating:  Definitely!  Note:  the restaurant is closed on Mondays.

Picture of Chinese food

 

Picture of Chinese food

 

 

 

Picture of Chinese food

 

Be sure to check out other Ironwood, Michigan BackroaddTracks.com posts.