Route 66 Classics: 21 Affordable Eateries from Chicago to Los Angeles

21 STOPS | 2213 MILES | 34 hr 19 min

What a yummy trip it is to eat one’s way from Chicago to L.A. along old Route 66! This tour of 21 excellent stops along the way includes some that are directly on the old road as well as a few that are worthy short detours. None require a reservation, all are easy on the wallet, and the meals you’ll eat provide a juicy taste of a nation that is colorful, diverse, and delicious.


Freddy’s Pizzeria

A small corner grocery with an immense menu of sandwiches, hot dishes & superb gelato, Freddy's is a treasured destination for Italian food in Chicagoland.


Green Gables

Green Gables is a middle-of-nowhere tavern / grocery store / restaurant serving central Illinois' scrumptious smashed crispyburgers.


Cozy Dog

Dipped in batter and deep-fried when ordered, the Cozy Dog has vivid crunch and succulence. French fries are cut here and delightful. A Route 66 landmark.

Must Eats


Hodak's of St. Louis is a full-menu tavern, but most customers come for fried chicken, made from a recipe used by the Hodak family since 1962.

Must Eats

Ted Drewes

Ted Drewes’ frozen custard, a Roadfood legend of St. Louis, Missouri, is fresh, pure and tons of fun. Must-eat: a concrete milk shake, thicker than thick.


A Slice of Pie

Central Missouri's premier pie shop, A Slice of Pie is just off I-44 in Rolla. pies, cakes, and cheesecakes all are outstanding.

Must Eats


An original Route 66 cafe in Vinita, Oklahoma, Clanton's is where locals gather for chicken fried steak, catfish every Friday, and blue-ribbon pies.


White River Fish Market

A fish market and semi-cafeteria restaurant, White River is a Roadfood gem in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Have it your way: fried, broiled, grilled or raw (oysters).


Rock Cafe

A Route 66 landmark known for a well-seasoned griddle that imparts deliciousness to everything that touches it, Rock Cafe is a best-stop in Oklahoma.



Dilapidated but very friendly, Leo's BBQ on the outskirts of Oklahoma City serves fiery hot links, beef brisket, pit-cooked bologna, and magnificent spare ribs.



Sid's onion-fried burgers are cooked so onions mashed into the meat are charred from the grill, adding sweet & smoky zest. An Oklahoma specialty!


Country Dove Tea Room

Country Dove Tea Room serves lovely lunch for road-trippers along Route 66 in Elk City, Oklahoma. French silk pie is the best, ever!


Arnold Burgers

Arnold Burgers cooks hamburgers in sundry shapes and sizes depending on your level of hunger. Musts: homemade jalapeño dressing and fresh-cut potato chips.



The Frontier is great New Mexico quick-eats: huevos rancheros, green chili stew, tacos, & burgers. Cinnamon rolls are legendary. Vegetarian options abound.


Golden Crown Panadería

Green chile bread is worth a detour to this squat bakery near Old Town Albuquerque. New Mexico’s state cookie, biscochitos, are great, as are pizzas.


Joe & Aggie’s Cafe

In Holbrook, Arizona, Joe & Aggie's serves a uniquely Southwestern mix of Mexican & American fare. It's a taste of vintage Route 66.


Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market

Modern food in a vintage Arizona waystation makes Indian Gardens a best bet for healthful meals, fresh-pressed cider, lattes, and great sourdough bread.


Donut Man

Donut Man in Glendora on Historic Route 66 is one of the country's best donut destinations. Summer-only fresh fruit-filled donuts are truly peerless.

Must Eats
Fresh peach donut , Tiger tail , French crueller , Old-fashioned , Bavarian cream filled, Fresh Strawberry Donut

Pie ‘N Burger

Beautiful fruit and meringue pies are made fresh daily; burgers are classic California: thin with crisp edges, loaded into squishy buns with pickles & onions.

Must Eats

Apple Pan

A Los Angeles landmark, serving great burgers and fries since 1947. Apple Pan's pies are the best, baked daily and from-scratch excellent.



With no real signage, Ramenya is easy to miss. But the menu, full of interesting takes on long-lost ramen dishes, will make you glad you've come.

Must Eats