I-70: OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, CO Cross Country Road Trip
Hey. If you love coffee, then you have to visit the original Kaldi's Cafe on 700 Demun in St. Louis. They have great coffee, fantastic espresso, and lots of scones, muffins, breads, sandwiches, salads, etc. It would be a great place to breakfast at before heading back on the road. There is also a Kaldi's in Columbia, MO, but it is a few miles off the highway. If you don't make it to the one in St.Louis it's a nice break before Kansas City.
You may or may not have time, but there is an excellent new beer garden restaurant in Kansas City. It's casual, but the food is excellent. If you have time for a relaxing dinner, stop here! If you are going for a quicker dinner, then you could stop at Gates Barbeque, or Arthur Bryant's.
between STL and KC route 50 takes a bit longer, but much more interesting than I-70 and meets back up easily. 6th street in Lawrence oddly turns into 6th street in Topeka a short hop on 75 puts you on to 24 that eventually takes you back to I-70 around Junction City via Manhattan and all sorts of small town mom and pop b'fast/lunch operations. much more interesting than the KS turnpike rest stop choices (Hardee's, Stuckey's - no thanks). If you have the time, that is. it. really doesn't take all that longer and is so much more fun.
re: hill food
50 hwy is a lot more interesting AND you could get a goober burger in Sedalia! Firefly grill in Effingham is one of my favorite places and should not be missed. Lunch is very reasonable, dinner a little more but the food is all local and very well prepared.
If you are trying regional fare, you will want to try St. Louis pizza. Fratelli's in St Charles(Zumbehl Rd exit off 70 in Dierbergs shopping center) makes a good one.
If you take I 70 from STL to KC search Columbia for lots of great places(Sycamore, Tellers, Bleu and they have a great farmer's market) Glenn's in Boonville in the restored Frederick Hotel is also very good, but not sure how your timing would be.
I would stop in Effingham on Route 70 & 57...get off on the Teutopolis Exit and go on Wabash to Niemerg's Restaurant...good for breakfast or lunch or evening...get pie no matter when you eat...they have daily specials and chicken is extremely good...also have a nicer dinning room with a great salad bar and a bar also...moderately priced. If you are looking for an upscale meal try the FireFly off of the Keller Drive Exit . also a number of chains in the area off Keller Dr...Cracker Barrell is nice here also...deww
Shapiro's Deli in Indianapolis. Jewish Deli. Don't miss the potato pancakes.
Rooster Cafe, fabulous breakfast/brunch spot, sweet/savory crepes, burritos, homemade breads(get some toast, hopefully they still have the fresh berry jam to spread on there!) Nice quality, stick to your ribs breakfast food, w/ an emphasis on local products.
World's Fair Donut 1904 Vandeventer, old school donut shop.
Columbia, MO: Shakespeare's Pizza, whole wheat crust, veggie is my pick, but all their pies are pretty tasty.
KC: Oklahoma Joe's BBQ(there are many others, but if I had to rec. 1 place to stop)
Lawrence, KS: Free State Brewing Co.(excellent food, excellent beer)
Hayes, KS: I'd second the rec on the other I70 post about the brewery. They've got a fried dough(starts w/ a G, can't remember the name) served w/ pesto and maple syrup. I never imagined the delight this combination could bring to my tastebuds. The rest of their menu is well executed too and the beers have medaled at the GABF in Denver.