At the front of Joe & Aggie’s, cases and shelves display souvenirs of Route 66: decks of playing cards, key rings, hats, and nostalgic books about the “Mother Road” that took travelers through Holbrook long before Interstate 40 bypassed town. Despite the interstate, Holbrook remains one of those places where you can get a real feel for what life was like along western roads in the two-lane days. It still has the famous “Sleep in a Wigwam” motel; there are some fascinating pawn shops and Native-American jewelry emporia; and at Joe & Aggie’s you can have a real old-fashioned roadside diner meal.
Tables are outfitted with squeeze bottles of honey for squirting onto sopaipillas (puffy triangles of fried bread); and meals begin with a basket of chips and an empty bowl in which you decant pepper-flecked hot sauce for dipping. The sign on the front window boasts of “Mexican and American food”; but in fact, the menu at Joe & Aggie’s is not quite either; it is a blend of Mexican, New Mexican, Texican, Navajo, and American food that is unique to the southwest. After the chips and salsa, you move on to such meals as enchiladas made with red or green chili, big stuffed burros, crisp tacos, or chicken fried steak with potatoes and hot sopaipillas on the side.
Joe & Aggie’s is the oldest restaurant in Holbrook, dating back to 1946, the year Bobby Troup headed west in his Buick convertible and wrote the song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.”