10 Interesting Eateries on the Back Roads of North America
Can you say “Yummiferous”?
As I have travelled across the wide expanses of Canada and the U.S., I have come across a few interesting places to eat. Not all are the best establishments in terms of taste, but the atmosphere and unique nature of the places is the drawing card. Following are a few of these places, and I have included photos where available. In my 1000s of photos, I have not been able to locate some of the older non-digital ones of some of the places. I will also provide web-links when available. Enjoy the ride and enjoy the food. By the way, these are not numbered in any particular order. They are in the order I got to them in this document.
1. Camp 31 BBQ – Paris, Ontario
Perhaps the best BBQ I have ever eaten, and in Canada eh? Actually, Camp 31 got its start in Alabama. In 1908 it was originally founded as a “Sawmill Store” in Brewton, Alabama. It hung around for quite a few years. Then, in 1985, Larry Murphy opened it up as a BBQ establishment. Larry is considered Alabama’s finest ribman and he carried on this tradition by partnering with Bernie Gerl in Ontario to open the eatery in Paris. Their BBQ is fantastic, but on Saturdays their smoked prime rib is Amazing. This is a must stop place if you visit Southern Ontario.
Camp 31 has a rustic feel and a savory taste
Larry Murphy and his award winning Camp 31
2.Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana
First of all, you have to find Alzada, Montana. Use Google Maps…that is the best advice I can give you. This is really as advertised “Located in the Middle of Nowhere.” You must drive State Highway 212 to the southwestern corner of the state. It is sometimes known as a State Hysterical Landmark. Known for its cheap drinks and lousy food, when we visited back in 2005
3.Traveler’s Club International Restaurant and Tuba Museum – Okemos, MI
This is another unique place in a small town. Okemos is located 3 miles north of Interstate 96 at Exit 110 in Michigan. They have different international delight every day including Latin, Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. They are famous for their home brewed beer (which I don’t drink) and their buffalo burgers, which I DO eat. But more unique is the collection of tubas and sousaphones that surround the place. They even have a working Sousaphountain in the garden to the side of the restaurant. So, if you are in Michigan, don’t blow it, stop by the Traveler’s Club.
Their famous homemade Buffalo burger was delectable. Seating is plentiful and the place is fun
Best things are all the Tubas
The famous and unique “Sousaphountain”
4.Space Aliens Bar & Grill – Waite Park, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota
Indeed, the Space Aliens have taken over in the north country with great barbecue and an out of this world atmosphere. On a trip to Montana in 2005 we came across the shop in Waite Park, just outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota. We were lucky to get there near closing time on a Wednesday, which happened to be all you can eat night. My two hefty sons were hungry and wiped the place out. The next day, as we drove through Fargo, North Dakota, we came across another one, but did not have time to stop…it was breakfast time anyway. Since our visit, they have opened more shops — there are seven of them throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.
Here I am in front of the Waite Park shop in 2005
These are shots of the Fargo, North Dakota shop
5.Ole’s Big Game Steak House – Paxton, Nebraska
If you don’t like big animals looking over your shoulder while you eat, than this is NOT the place for you. You walk in the door and are greeted by a life size real stuffed Polar Bear. then, as you are taken to your seat you see lions and tigers and bears, oh my. You also see a giraffe from the base of the neck up, a full elephant head with ears extended, moose, deer, elk, cougars, snakes and everything else. The food is expensive, but well worth the effort. Paxton, Nebraska is just a small town located off of Interstate 80 in Nebraska, at exit 145. Ole’s is in their small downtown area.
My son Solomon schmoozes with a polar bear while I snuggle with a moose
Yes, that is really a giraffe blocking the TV and an elephant staring at you
6.Ric’s Grill – Lethbridge, Alberta
Want a sky high experience? My son and I enjoyed one back in 2007 at Ric’s Grill in Lethbridge. It is located 150 feet high in an old refurnished watertower. It was late so we didn’t get many good photos, but visit the website and learn more. Expensive food, but very very well done. It is well worth the visit.
Two shots of Ric’s from below. Notice all of the windows in the water tower.
7.Lynn’s Paradise Cafe – Louisville, KY
Lynn’s is on of those really unique places to eat. I have been there three times, but for the life of me cannot find my photos. The above photo is borrowed from their website. From the giant coffee pot and cup in the front to the jungle-like interior, the place is lots of fun. Their servings are humongous. Nobody has the same kind of chairs, silverware or dishes. My family all loves this place.
8.Lambert’s Cafe (The Home of Throwed Rolls) – Ozark, Missouri
Yes, they really do throw their rolls at Lamberts. On a trip to Texas in 2007 we stopped at the Lambert’s in Ozark, Missouri (they have two other places, one more in Missouri and one in Alabama). I really wanted to see if they “throwed” their rolls. The food was great. Served family style, servers bring around big pots of black-eyed peas, fried okra, fried potatoes and macaroni with tomatoes…all you can eat. And another server walks into the middle of the room and yells “who needs rolls?” People raise their hands and the server literally throws hot rolls across the room. You have to catch them or eat dirty rolls….. Lots of fun!! So, if you are anywhere near Branson, you gotta visit this place.
They really do throw the rolls at Lamberts
And they also bring you plenty of other fixin’s
9.The Sparta House Tearoom – Sparta, Ontario
Located in the very small village of Sparta, just south of St. Thomas, Ontario, the Sparta House offers a unique opportunity to eat in a 300 year old building, enjoy old English country fare such as shepherd’s pie and other goodies. The owners, Ken & Norma Roberts, are from Liverpool, England. Ken is an avid Beatles fan and has a room dedicated to them with many rare posters and books, some even autographed by John, Paul, George and Ringo. Norma collects teapots and has hundreds on display. Great food, a comfortable atmosphere in a cozy little village. Find your way to Sparta. You’ll be glad you did.
Sparta House where Norma serves up old English country fare…yummiferous
Located across the street from each other, these are the two places that made Philly Cheesesteaks famous. I visited both in one night with a friend of mine while in Philadelphia to see him play football in an Arena Football League game. After the game, we made our way to Geno’s, where customers are not served unless they speak English. You also had to know what you want or they give you a bad time. Pat’s was a bit more friendly. As for which was better, well…it was a tie and I would go back to either one…actually, both.
Geno’s was packed the night we went. I enjoyed mine with provolone and the works.
Pat’s was also packed and you can see the cook busily grilling away.
All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.