What happened to the days when Roadfood meant a simple, inexpensive meal at a BBQ joint or clam shack where you paid cash only? Now, we see reviews for exensive fancy places like Peter Luger's, etc. What happened?
Jane & Michael Stern say it best:
Roadfood means great regional meals along highways, in small towns and in city neighborhoods.
It is non-franchised, sleeves-up food made by cooks, bakers, pitmasters, and sandwich-makers who are America’s culinary folk artists.
Roadfood is almost always informal and inexpensive; and the best Roadfood restaurants are colorful places enjoyed by locals (and savvy travelers) for their character as well as their menu.
It is our intention that Roadfood.com will lead the way to:
- great local color
- the best regional specialties
- unforgettable diners, celestial barbecue, and four-star pig-outs galore!
There is nothing there restricting it to downscale dining.
There's nothing more to be said that hasn't been said before.
Don, I think you covered everything, I couldn't have said it better myself!
Miami Don and WanderingJew -
Thanks for addressing this concern. I had been wondering about it for a while. I'm probably a traditionalist and go more by the original definition of RoadFood. I distinctly remember in one of my earlier Roadfood editions (in the 1980s), the Sterns put a $10 limit on meals. I remember it being a big deal when they made an exception for Twin Oaks in Cranstoin, RI. (By the way, WanderingJew, I'm from near your area. I grew up near Wickford, RI).
Anyway, obviously there is inflation and that 1980s $10 limit might be $18 or $20 today, but certainly no Peter Luger.
Here is quote from the COVER of the 1992 edition of "Roadfood":
"The all-new, updated and expanded edition of the classic guide to America's best diners, small-town cafes, BBQ joints, and other very special eateries serving great, INEXPENSIVE regional food." --- (CAPS added by me for emphasis).
Inflation changes prices, but "inexpensive" is considered inexpensive for whatever time period it falls. Something like peter Luger's was expensive for the 1970s back then, and it's expensive today for today's prices.
Just found my newer 2008 edition ......
From the back cover of the 2008 edition:
"An extended tour of the MOST AFFORDABLE, most enjoyable dining options along America's highways and backroads, Roadfood offers enticing, satisfying mealtime alternatives for chain restaurant-weary travelers. The Sterns provide vivid descriptions and clear regional maps that direct people to the best lobster shacks on the East coast; the ultimate barbecue joints in the South; the most sizzling steakhouses in the Midwest; and dozens of topnotch diners, hotdog stands, ice cream parlors, and other terrific spots to stop for a bite countrywide."
So, did the Sterns change the their definition of what is Roadfood? If so, when did they make this change. When was "INEXPESIVE" (from "Roadfood" 1992 ed.) and "MOST AFFORDABLE" (from "Raodfood" 2008 ed.) dropped as part of the definition of Roadfood? Apparently in 2008, they still went by the old definition, or they wouldn't have bothered using the words "most affordable" on the back cover.
Also, if Roadfood is not "down-scale" and relatively inexpensive food, then what resatuarants are NOT Roadood other than chains? If expensive, upscale places are included now, then what non-chain restaurants do NOT qualify to be called Roadfood now? It seems almost everything but chains could be included now. ??
To me, Roadfood had been a roadside diner, BBQ joint, or clam shack, etc. just off the highway, or down a country road. With the new definition, it seems it can be fancy-pants city places that can run north of $200 per couple. What's NOT covered as roadfood besides chains now?
<message edited by Glenn1234 on Sun, 01/23/11 9:59 PM>