America's Greatest Roadside Restaurants

Farmview Market biscuit sandwich

Danielle G./Yelp

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Farmview Market biscuit sandwich
Danielle G./Yelp

Refueling Stations

Road trips don't have to mean eating only at gas station convenience stores, though some are pretty amazing. America is full of noteworthy roadside restaurants, places that showcase some of the most memorable and unique regional cuisines the country has to offer. No promises that the menu items are all good for you, but here are dozens of places with plenty of praise from travelers and locals alike where your road-trip pit stop will be anything but ordinary. 

Related: Attractions to See While Driving Across the Country

Peggy Sue's 50's Diner in Yermo, California
Tess N./Yelp

Peggy Sue's 50's Diner

Yermo, California
While the drive from California to Las Vegas can be filled with long stretches of lonely road and tumbleweeds, one of the few highlights worth noting is Peggy Sue's 50's Diner along Highway 15. Built in 1954 with just nine counter stools and three booths, the diner was reopened in 1987 and now displays the owner's extensive collection of movie and television memorabilia. As for the food, Peggy Sue's is known for homemade cooking served amid a backdrop of 1950s music. The diner also serves old-fashioned ice cream, malts, and sundaes. 

Related: Charming Retro Diners in Every State

The Buckeye Express Diner
Tank G./Yelp

The Buckeye Express Diner

Bellville, Ohio
Visible from Interstate 71, the Buckeye Express Diner is housed in a former train car and known for its selection of burgers, perch sandwiches, and classic diner fare. The portions are on the large side, enough to be shared by two people or packed up and eaten as you continue down the road. Those traveling with kids will be happy to spot a play area. 

Related: Creative Conversions of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Blue Springs Café in Highland, Illinois

Blue Springs Cafe

Highland, Illinois
Those driving along Interstate 70 through Illinois can't help but notice the billboards advertising the Mile High Pie at Blue Springs Cafe. Located just off the interstate, the small café with blue-and-white checkered tablecloths features Midwestern comfort food ranging from baked lasagna to meatloaf and country fried steak. There's also chicken and dumplings, and fried walleye. The portions are large and the prices are low. But remember to bring cash, because the cafe does not accept credit cards. 

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Lambert's Café in Sikestown, Missouri

Lambert's Cafe

Sikeston, Missouri
Lambert's Cafe is known for its "throwed rolls" (the story goes that on one busy day the person serving the rolls couldn't get through the crowd, and a customer yelled to him to  just throw them) and meals of epic proportions. Menu highlights include chicken pot pie, hot beef sandwiches, and golden fried chicken. Opened more than 70 years ago, Lambert's has eclectic decor made up of antiques, old photos, and news clippings. Its Sikeston location is near the Interstate 55 and Interstate 57 junction. 

Related: Best Fried Chicken in Every State

Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa, Arizona
Frank B./Yelp

Jalapeño Bucks

Mesa, Arizona 
A historic and charming roadside stand off the 202 Loop in Mesa, Jalepeño Bucks serves Arizona-style barbecue as well as a menu of new wave Mexican soul food. This food stop has attracted generations of locals as well as countless visitors who come for popular menu items such as the brisket and the pulled pork. And don't miss off-menu items such as the PB&J brisket sandwich. It's amid a citrus grove that dates back to 1915, and after lunch you can stock up on fresh fruit at the onsite B&B Farm.

Related: Bucket List Barbecue in Every State

Cruiser Café in Eatonville, Washington
Erik P./Yelp

Cruiser Cafe

Eatonville, Washington
Just off Highway 161, Cruiser Cafe serves everything from half-pound burgers and crinkle-cut fries to hefty Cruiser Scrambles for breakfast. There are even vegan options. Located along the route to Mount Rainier National Park, the cafe is a popular stop with those headed to hike or go cross-country skiing. Don't miss the dessert case. 

O'Neill's Irish Pub in Norwalk, Connecticut
Agnes A./Yelp

O'Neill's Irish Pub

Norwalk, Connecticut
A pub designed to bring the soul of Ireland to Norwalk, O'Neill's features juicy burgers, stacked sandwiches, corned beef, fish and chips, and sliders. Opened on St. Patrick's Day in 1999 by the O'Neill brothers, this old-school Irish pub is just off Interstate 95 in South Norwalk (also known as the SoNo neighborhood.) In addition to Irish food, the pub is famed for its live music and Sunday brunch.

Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que in Williamsburg, Virginia
Landry A./Yelp

Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que

Williamsburg, Virginia
Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que is known for attracting crowds with dishes such as the J.C. Special (a pulled-pork sandwich with barbecue sauce and homemade slaw) and Verdie Special (a half pint of hearty Brunswick stew served with golden cornbread). The restaurant, along Interstate 64, offers plenty of space to sit outside on a warm day to enjoy a meal.

The Machine Shed in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa
John M./Yelp

The Machine Shed

Locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa
A restaurant dedicated to the American farmer, The Machine Shed was featured on the Travel Channel's "Food Paradise" for having the best breakfast in America. Known for its family-style meals, breakfast offerings include such titles as Hired Man's Breakfast, Farmer's Benedict, The Farmer's Daughter, and Cattleman's Breakfast. The hearty fare  ranges from soups made from scratch to steaks, ribs, and pork. There are multiple Machine Sheds. The Urbandale, Iowa, location is just off Interstate 35; and the Davenport, Iowa, location is just south of Interstate 80.

Dairy Joy Drive-In
Court W./Yelp

Dairy Joy Drive-In

Hinckley, Illinois 
A photogenic favorite with road trippers, the Dairy Joy Drive-In, opened outside Aurora, along Route 30, in 1957, offers small-town charm and delicious drive-in-style fast food (fish and chips, shrimp baskets, wings, and hot dogs) as well as hand-dipped ice cream cones. There are also shakes, malts, and banana splits. The food can be taken to go or enjoyed on one of Dairy Joy's two patios. 

Related: Indulgent Ice Cream Sundaes Across America

Peg's Countryside Café in Hamel, Minnesota

Peg's Countryside Cafe

Hamel, Minnesota
Operated by Peggy Rasmussen, who bought the cafe in 1975, Peg's specializes in mouthwatering, homemade breakfasts and lunches. The cafe is also notable for the thousands of photos on its walls featuring restaurant regulars. The tradition started after Mickey Rooney paid a visit to the cafe and Rasmussen put the actor's picture on the wall. After that, customers joked they, too, were special enough to have their photos featured. Now generations of families come back to find pictures of loved ones.

Coyote Bluff Café in Amarillo, Texas
Scott S./Yelp

Coyote Bluff Cafe

Amarillo, Texas 
Just a few blocks off of Interstate 40, travelers will find the Coyote Bluff Cafe, an eatery that recognized by TripAdvisor and the Amarillo Globe-News over the years for its memorable food. The cafe makes several varieties of burgers, from the Dijon Swiss to the hickory and the California. If you're bold enough, try the Burger from Hell, which features jalapeños and hot sauce. The steaks also get rave reviews.

Helen's Sausage House in Smyrna, Delaware
Randy D./Yelp
Wellsboro Diner in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Nikki R./Yelp

Wellsboro Diner

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania 
Named one of America's best classic diners by the Huffington Post, Wellsboro Diner focuses on serving classic dishes such ad roast beef sandwiches, burgers, and homemade soups. But its fresh-baked pies and cakes have earned the diner a reputation for being a great stop along Route 6 for a delicious meal.

Related: The Best Hole-in-the-Wall Diner in Every State

Shrimp Shack

Shrimp Shack

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
As its name indicates, the Shrimp Shack is little more than a roadside hut along U.S. 21. Its size aside, Shrimp Shack is known for having some of the best seafood in all of South Carolina (some would argue in all of the East Coast). Seafood lovers are big fans of this affordable and delicious hidden gem. Don't miss the shrimp burger, but know that the Shack is cash or check only.

Related: Amazing Seafood Shacks Across America

Farmview Market

Farmview Market

Madison, Georgia
Located just off Interstate 20, Farmview Market is a quick service, farm-to-table cafe where all food is sourced locally. There's also a specialty grocery, full-service butcher shop, and a seasonal open-air farmers market. The cafe offers breakfast and lunch. Menu items include sandwiches, burgers, salads, and daily rotating specials. In addition, a pastry chef makes all desserts in-house daily, and there's a juice bar serving raw juices and smoothies.

White Pillars Restaurant

White Pillars Restaurant

Biloxi, Mississippi
There are numerous memorable food stops to choose from along the Mississippi Gulf Coast's Highway 90. Among them is White Pillars Restaurant, which is in an old beachfront mansion and features farm-to-table fare including Mississippi-raised meats and local vegetables. The menu changes with the seasons. 

Grain & Cain in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
Grain & Cane/Yelp

Grain & Cane

Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
A progressive American brasserie, Grain & Cane is an homage to the Connell family, once the largest nongovernmental rice and sugar purveyors in the world. The menu features traditional family offerings with a contemporary twist and regional flair. Duck-fat fries, sourdough pizzas, and a custom-grind burger are just some of the options. There's also craft beers, wine, and cocktails — all of which can be enjoyed amid a collection of vintage art and antique photographs from past Connell generations. The restaurant is just off the Phillipsburg-Newark Expressway.

Redneck BBQ Lab

Redneck BBQ Lab

Benson, North Carolina
Featuring pulled pork, brisket, turkey, ribs, and chicken, as well as classic barbecue sides such as slow-cooked beans, green beans, collard greens, and jalapeño mac and cheese, Redneck BBQ Lab is a Southern gem off Interstate 40. Just a little south of Raleigh, the restaurant is owned by Jerry Stephenson, who competed in  "Chopped: Grill Masters," on the Food Network. The Redneck "Scientific team" has earned 23 grand championships in the Kansas City BBQ Society competitions.

Goody's Family Restaurant
Cindy G./Yelp

Goody's Family Restaurant

Victorville, California
A cozy eatery off Interstate 15, Goody's Family Restaurant serves diner-inspired dishes at reasonable prices. Popular choices include the hearty biscuits and gravy, burgers, and muffulettas. Be prepared to leave with your belly full, as Goody's is known for its large portions.

Bianca B./Yelp


West Nashville, Tennessee
The latest concept from acclaimed pitmaster Pat Martin, Hugh-Baby's is a fast-food burger and barbecue shop that aims to offer a simple yet delicious menu. The restaurant prides itself on quality, hand-prepared items: The beef is ground onsite, the fries are hand-cut, and the milkshakes hand-spun daily. On Fridays you will find Hugh-Baby's serving its famous Slugburger, a deep-fried creation made of ground pork and soy meal and served with pickles, chopped onions, and mustard. The West Nashville location is just off Interstate 40.

Related: Where to Find a Good Cheap Burger In Every State

Prison City Pub and Brewery in Auburn, New York
Thomas C./Yelp

Prison City Brewing

Auburn, New York
A brewpub in an industrial-chic space, Prison City Brewing serves a variety of craft brews and new American bites. The restaurant is most well-known for its Sunday brunch featuring dishes such as the eggs-and-potatoes Prison Plate, shrimp and grits, and Beer-mosas. It's right off Highway 20.

Woodstock Garden Café in Woodstock, Virginia

Woodstock Garden Cafe

Woodstock, Virginia
Less than a mile off Interstate 81 is the Woodstock Garden Cafe in the Fort Valley Nursery, an ideal respite from traffic jams and cramped cars. Stretch your legs among the flowers and trees, then sit down for a memorable meal of sandwiches, salads, soups, and flatbreads, all from locally sourced ingredients. There's a coffee shop onsite known for its desserts.  

Wagner's Drive-In in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Julie V./Yelp

Wagner's Drive-In

Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Wagner's is a classic burger joint that will whisk you back to a simpler time. Located just off of Interstate 94, the Brooklyn Park drive-in has been serving food made from scratch for more than 35 years — gourmet hamburgers, chicken tenders, chili dogs, and homemade soups among it. There are also root beer floats, shakes, and malts that customers can order from their car and have delivered and hung on the window. (There are also picnic tables onsite.)

Hank's Place in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
Archie M./Yelp

Hank's Place

Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
Everything served at Hank's is homemade. The restaurant, in the famed Brandywine Valley at the intersection of routes 1 and 100, offers specialties that have become customer favorites over the years, such as homemade sticky buns, hot turkey sandwiches, and a mushroom strudel. The busy little diner, a favorite of famed local painter Andrew Wyeth, has been recognized with a variety of awards and publicity over the years including from The New York Times and Gourmet Magazine.

Gordy's Hi-Hat

Gordy's Hi-Hat

Cloquet, Minnesota
Serving up fresh, hand-pattied burgers, homemade onion rings, hand-battered Alaskan fish, and other classics, Gordy's Hi-Hat has been open since the 1960s. Adored by locals and a favorite for travelers headed to cabins and the lakes in northern Minnesota and Canada,  the family-owned eatery near State Route 33  also hosts an annual curbside classic car show.

The Whale's Rib

The Whale's Rib

Delray Beach, Florida
Just a few car lengths from the road, this seafood joint has plenty of oceanic favorites ranging from crab to shrimp, though the menu also includes sandwiches and wraps. Fans give the whale fries a thumbs-up for coming in a big enough serving or two people. 

The Big Texan

The Big Texan

Amarillo, Texas
This massive steakhouse along Route 66 has been open since 1960 and has become famous for its 72-ounce steak challenge, but if you don't want to try eating that monster (which Adam Richman managed to swallow on the TV show "Man vs. Food"), there are more reasonable options, including quesadillas and hamburgers. 

Soulman's BBQ