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Truck Stop Food

Is it me or does truck stop resturants have some good down home grub.Some of the best i've had is in S.W. USA near Mexico.Lots of truck stops have buffets with the local fare fixed down home style with huge portions.I wonder if there afraid to give a trucker a bad meal so they make it better than average.

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  1. I would have to tend to agree with you. I think it is basically that when you are a trucker you are on the road for who knows how long so they want to fill you up with all the comfort food you can eat. If they are successful at this then you spread the word on your CB radio and next thing you know there is no place to park the Rig in the lot because all the truckers know about you then. If ever in the Oxford, MA area try Carl's Diner in the center of Oxford...If you leave there hungry its your own fault !!

    1. Maybe in the Southwest, but on most of the roadtrips I've been, the LAST place you want to eat is a truck stop. I love road food and even groove on fast food sometimes, but truck stops in most places do not have buffets. Usually the food is a fast food chain in the stop, and often whatever is there is very old.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mojoeater

        Mojo, Boston is in the NorthEast, maybe that makes the difference in freshness...Almost time for them lobster rolls on the Cape.

        1. re: mojoeater

          You've got to look for the truck stops that don't have the big chain restaurants....that's where you find some good gravy, odd coffee and great service. And really, if you have those three things, you can't have a bad meal.

        2. It's been years since I've made any long road trips. It used to be that the sign of good eats was all the rigs in the parking lot. I remember some of the best steak & potato meals, home style hash browns, eggs, & slabs of ham or thick cut pepper bacon, mile high stacks of pancakes, huge juicy burgers topped with the whole garden, home style chili that would bite back, and so much more. Thick moist waffles topped with real butter and served with real maple syrup.
          Of course that was before the chains took over and most of the truck stops were local owned/operated diners.

          1. Whenever I think of truck stop food I think of Andersen's Pea Soup restaurant.

            It seems like they are everywhere in the California central valley and along I-5 between SF and LA.

            13 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              My Mom lives in Solvang and worked at the Buellton Marriott just down the street from the (I believe) original Andersen's for years. Andersen's is great.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I don't mean food quality so much....but the whole experience is a kick. And the pea soup chotchkes; come on.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    Thank you, I was laughing at your joke.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Yeah... California's highway food is generally pretty dismal... particularly along the big trucker corridors.

                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        Gotta agree with the California truck stop situation. I haven't found a decent one between LA and SF. The chains took over and most of it is drek.

                        HOWEVER ... that doesn't mean that truckers don't know the best food. A trucker I met in SF at the late Bizou, clued me into Fish in Sausalito.

                        Ask a trucker and a Chowhound type will clue you into the best food along the route ... where you have room to park a big rig.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          How about Harris Ranch on the I-5 in Coalinga. Great meals there.

                          What about the 101 on the Central Coast....all those great Santa Maria style BBQ places. Jocko's in Nipomo is my fav.

                          The Mad Greek in Baker on the I-15 to LV.

                          1. re: monku

                            Harris Ranch? Come on.... when have you see a trucker stop there for a $12 burger or $25 steak? Harris is okay... and while I do like the Bleu Cheese Burger.... I don't think its particularly chowish.

                            Good points on BBQ places along 101... on the 5 there is also a place in Westley with a big sign that says Antojitos that is better than your average California truck stop fare... and there is an Indian restaurant in Buttonwillow that might be worth a try. But overall the local truck stop places are so dismal they make the chains look good... and yes over the years I have been suckered into trying all the promising sounding ones like Apricot Tree, Iron Skillet, Andersens etc.,

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              The Apricot Tree does make a fantastic apricot shake. It is the only thing they do well ... just blended apricots, milk and ice cream. Always a stop for me on that road. Cant find my post about it, but it is somewhere on the California board. Everthing else there .... bleh.

                              1. re: rworange

                                Good to know.... I thought the apricot pie (around this time of year) can be good. But a Roast Beef sandwich was one of the most downright disgusting dishes (it had a strong fishy aroma & metallic taste) I've had in many years.

                              2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                Wasn't referring to Harris Ranch for truck drivers, but the poster who said the food choices were dismal on the California highways. Higher quality food than most places on the freeway. Hey, people fly in on their private planes to just eat there.

                                1. re: monku

                                  Wow... those must be some deprived people flying to Harris Ranch! Its pretty good nothing to get too excited about... and I also don't think it fits what the OP was trying to get at.

                  2. re: ipsedixit

                    I don't really see a lot of truckers in APS or their parking lot. I know I like to stop in to use the restroom and snack on some of the cheddar cheese toast samples and pick up some Danish from their bakery.

                  3. Anyone been to Fort Lou's between Hanover and Lebanon, NH? That's some good truck stop food. Huge, fluffy pancakes with real maple syrup and sweet butter (right across the border from Vermont); corned beef sandwiches stuffed to the gills; huge, homemade muffins with homemade strawberry jam. In addition to being a functioning truck stop with real truck drivers, it was also one of the best places near my college campus to nurse a hangover safely out of sight from your professors.

                    If I could find another truck stop half as good as Lou's I'd be happy to generalize and say I love truck stop food, too.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: cimui

                      Dartmouth, huh?! Been to the Fillin' Station in MA, too?!

                        1. re: cimui

                          But certainly the Tally House....Tally Rally...!

                    2. The biggest and best truck stop I've been to in the SW is Johnson's Corner about 45 miles north of Denver on I-25. The billboard advertising their world famous cinnamon roll caught my attention as the place for a pit stop.

                      Featured on Food Network one of the top 5 Truck Stops in the US in 2004


                      1. The last time I ate at a truck stop was probably 15 years ago, someplace on I-80 in the Poconos. But I will always recall that stop because of one specific item on the menu:

                        "Mountain of Sausage"

                        It was three pancakes and an egg with a dozen sausages on top.

                        Boggles the mind why a long-distance trucker would even think about ordering that...

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Panini Guy

                          It could make sense--maybe if you were driving through a barren wasteland and knew you wouldn't eat for three days!

                          1. re: Panini Guy

                            I wouldn't want to be driving behind the trucker that ate that. I don't know about others, but at least in me meals of that scale inspire a need to sleep long and hard. Don't know how a driver could maintain conciousness after injesting all that.

                            1. re: ArikaDawn

                              I was just going to say - I don't understand the logic of feeding a heavy, greasy (albeit tasty) meal to someone who's essentially sitting down for 18 hours straight. That's practically begging for a blood clot or something.

                              1. re: piccola

                                Sounds like a "home cooked" kind of meal to me.

                          2. Most of the truck stops I have passed by when I drive across country look like a run down greasy spoon that if I want a bad case of food poisoning that would be where I want want to eat lol NO THANKS I would rather eat at a real restaurant, I've heard the only reason truckers eat at them is because most parking lots are too small at real restaurants to park their big trucks so they don't any other choice but to eat at these places.

                            1. Sorry but I was an over the road truck driver for 20 years. Your ppremise USED TO BE true, but in the modern era of mega chain truck stops owned by foreign conglomerates, it just isn't anymore. The food is mostly cheap trash at over inflated prices. Ocassionally you will find one of the few remaining independent truck stops that have not sold out to one of the monster chains and therefore still offers the wonderful fare that made truck stops of the past so wonderful, but they are few and far between and becoming more rare by the day.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                Should you find yourself on Hwy 101 on California's Central Coast, check out T & A Cafe in Salinas. Here's my old post, including a photo of the trucks idling outside.