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Aug 3, 2007 12:22 AM

Amarillo to Columbus - Legs 3 & 4 of Cross Country

Midwestern 'Hounds-

My husband and I are moving back to New York from Los Angeles, and are driving out mid August.

We are looking for the chow worthy, with the following caveats:

1- must be within fifteen minutes of the highway - 40E to 44E day 1 and 44E to 70E day 2.
2- must be able to get something satisfying for less than $12 for lunch, $15 for dinner (no alcohol)
3- no Mexican. Unless it is seriously earth shattering.
4- by the by, we will be traveling with our smallish dog. he will be fine chilling in the car after dark, but I certainly don't want to leave him waiting in the car during daylight. lunch should be fast service, take outable, or al fresco.

I may also be able to fit my electric cooler in the car - if there is a certain product I can only get in the area (with above caveats) and that can live in a cooler traveling cross country, let me know.

I promise to report back with pictures and google places!

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  1. Amarillo to St. Louis, and then St. Louis to Columbus, I should have mentioned....

    3 Replies
    1. re: julietg

      We do San Diego-Albuquerque, NM then Alb-Joplin, MO then Joplin-Detroit every year. (overnight in Alb and Joplin with pets).

      We stop at local chains we can't get out in Southern California...WhataBurger, Steak and Shake, Lions Choice (in St Louis), White Castle, Cracker Barrel, Sonic, Waffle House.
      When cutting through Indiana there is a sign for "Mile High Pies" and we have stopped there also. (Really only 12 inches high, with meringue)...Pretty much we just drive and stop. There is a Russell Stover/Whitman's candy outlet in Missouri at the southern "Walnut Bowl" outlet (yes indeed there are two).

      None of the "Mexican" places are the same as in California.

      Oh, Oklahoma is basically all Toll Road- there are two. It was $3.50 at each booth two years ago. There is nothing to do but drive through that state. You'l hit it not long after Amarillo. There is free coffee at the Information place on the southern end. The World's largest McDonalds goes over the toll road closer to Missouri. I know where the bathrooms are in that one.

      Have fun.

      The one thing I am greatful for is more signage for Starbucks along the way in the last two years. Regular coffee- made fresh every hour. God, some years I have had the worst coffee will smell like coffee but only be hot brown water...or it will smel like coffee and be the consistency of mud, Bitter rotten mud... and not any more.

      1. re: Cathy

        Thanks so much for the recs!

        When I said "no Mexican," it was because we have been living in East LA for three years, and have had a LOT of Mexican. Good stuff, we're just wanting to branch out a bit.

        Latin is just fine- in fact, we're both big Cuban fans.

        1. re: julietg

          That was what i figured. Only because we do this trip in 9 days every year can I say that at some point you will miss the "Taco Shop" food and have cravings. It just isn't the same *any*where else. We have tried them all.

          Really, in St. Louis- Lions Choice... and actually- when we see Semi or two parked outside or near a place (and it isn't a fuel stop)- we do stop and have never been disappointed.

          You aren't going to find Latin/Cuban off the freeway in the Midwest.

          We enjoy driving without plans. Sometimes there is a weather factor and then there is the accident/road closed down for hours factor.

          Oh, satellite radio is a Godsend.

    2. Juliet, if you are going east on 70 about 20-30 min past Columbus, exit at Rt. 13 and go north about 5 miles. On the corner of Rt. 40 (old National Road) and Rt. 13 in Jacksontown is Clark's Dining Room, a fried chicken institution in Ohio for about 100 years (no joke!). They are open for lunch & dinner (but not on Mondays). They serve family style with mashed potatoes, veggies and salads and include a piece of homemade pie for dinner (not sure about lunch - never been there for lunch). It's less than 10 min off the highway and worth a small wait.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Diane in Bexley

        Perfect!! Thank you so much! That will make a great dinner.

        Still need recs for b'fast the next morning in Columbus, as well as lunches and dinners before....

        1. re: Cathy

          why should he? if he were to drive across northern oh instead of central oh i can think of at least a half dozen latino restos in cleveland a quick hop off the highway right off the top of my head....and none of them mexican. you said this was impossible in the midwest. not so.

          anyhoo consider the breakfast & lunch concerns solved.

          just southeast of dayton is CLIFTON MILL. open for breakfast, its a beautiful working water mill where they grind their own flour for pancakes on site. an ohio must:

          nearby is also YOUNGS DAIRY FARM, totally worth the quick stop off the highway. its a working farm w/ a diner. excellent ice cream and dairy natch!

          if yr in columbus at lunch KATZINGERS DELI is literally right there off the highway in german village. a big concept deli w/ tasty sandwiches:

          that should feed yas. keep on truckin dewds!

          1. re: mrnyc

            concept deli? this looks very interesting!

            any recommendations from their menu? i am reminded of that sandwich shop/specialty/catalog shop zingerman's in ann arbor, do you know it?