Get Our Picks On Route 66
If you're looking to take the road less traveled, Route 66 is probably not the path for you. This iconic highway, established in 1926, is easily one of the most famous roads in the US. Although it was removed from the US highway system in 1985 after being replaced by the interstate highway system, tourists today can still get their kicks by traveling along the portions of the historic route that parallel the interstate.
The original route began in Chicago and ended in Los Angeles, giving mid-westerners a chance the chance to discover the west coast while providing food, entertainment, and rest along the way. The route passed through eight states Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally California.
There is so much to do and see along the way, from the Cadilac Ranch to neon-laced motels, but for the sake of organization and interest, I’m going to focus on everyone’s favorite part of a road-trip: the food.
THE COZY DOG Springfield, IL
One day in the early 1940s while working on an army base. Ed Waldmire had the (dare I say, genius) idea of wrapping a hot dog in corn bread. Lucky for us, a friend of his advised him that the key was to fry the meat in the batter, and the cozy dog (or corn dog) was born. He opened up the first Cozy Dog stand in Springfield after he was discharged from the army in 1946, and its popularity and family-run atmosphere has yet to waiver.
RED’S GIANT HAMBURG Springfield, MO
Route 66 not only gave us the first corn dog, it is also claimed that it gave birth to the first ever drive-through restaurant-- the ultimate American road-trip staple. Red Chaney developed his drive-through window in 1947 to keep the Route 66 travelers fed, full, and fastly back on the road. Red's Giant Hamburg received its name due to incorrect measurements for the sign-- leaving no room for the 'er' in "hamburger." Although the business has since closed and Red has passed away, tourists can stop by the soon-to-be erected replica of the iconic sign.
DONUT MAN Los Angeles, CA
Famous for strawberry-stuffed donuts, the donut man serves loyal customers and tourists alike 7 days a week, 24 hours a day making it the perfect roadtrip stop to satisfy your sweet tooth. The donut man himself, 71-year old Jim Nakano, still runs and operates the business after 40 years.
POPS Arcadia, OK
POPS, best recognized by its 66-foot tall soda bottle statue, is more than just a landmark to take a picture in front of. This convenience store offers over 400 options of sodas- all cold and ready to drink. While your there, stop by the restaurant for shakes, burgers, and of course, sodas.
(Our own Roxie Mae at Pops!)
THE 66 DRIVE-IN THEATER Carthage, MO
It may not necessarily be considered a foodie's pit stop, but who can resist buttered popcorn when they're at the movies? This drive-in theater came about in 1949, and although it hit a brief time of desolation, it has since been restored to the likeness of its glory days. The theater runs during the summer months (April to September) allowing viewers a comfortable experience of movies under the stars.
- Roxie Mae Lackman