They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them

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michaelcarraher
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2011/07/09 13:41:42 (permalink)

They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them

Which fast food franchises and restaurant chains do you think are roadfood quality; they'd be listed in Roadfood if there were only one of them?  As an example, I suspect the McDonald brothers' original drive-in in San Bernadino would have made it, if Roadfood had been around back then.  My criteria: Good food and the places have some real character and don't seem "designed" to look like they have character.
 
Here are my choices:
Waffle House
Checker's/Rally's
A&W Drive-In
Stewart's Drive-In
White Castle
Boston Chicken (pre-Boston Market)
Handel's Ice Cream
Howard Johnson's (pre-70s - not on the turnpike)
Skyline Chilli
Morrison's Cafeterias (pre-Picadilly)
Black-Eyed Peas Restaurant
Big Boy Drive-Ins (pre-Marriott): Elias Brother's, Frish's, Marc's, Shoney's, Bob's, etc.
 
I like Five Guys burgers, hot dogs and fries but the place seems too artificial; some corporate designer's idea of Roadfood, so I left them off.   Same for Bob Evans but I love the biscuits and gravy. 
post edited by michaelcarraher - 2011/07/10 17:28:36
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 13:50:08 (permalink)
    Good idea for a topic.  Culver's is on my list. You'll get a lot of votes for In 'n Out  and 5-Guys.
    #2
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 14:17:28 (permalink)
    Another vote for Culver's.
     
    Buddy
    #3
    AndreaB
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 15:26:09 (permalink)
    My votes:
    Pollo Loco (only ate there in Florida)
    Cracker Barrel
    5 Guys
    Mellow Mushroom
    Captain D's
    Rally's
    Frisch's
    White Castle
    I can't comment on In 'And Out because we don't have them around on our travels.  I'd put Krystal on my list but after our last visit there in May NO.
    Andrea
     
     
    post edited by AndreaB - 2011/07/09 15:28:36
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    MiamiDon
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 15:38:57 (permalink)
    In-N-Out is a Roadfood.com restaurant.
     
    http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/1647/innout-burger
     
    Five Guys Burgers and Fries used to be, but recently was removed after they went mega-chain (at least I can't find it anymore).
    #5
    BackAlleyBurger
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 15:56:01 (permalink)
    WAFFLE HOUSE !!
    five guys
    mellow mushroom !! i didnt know they were corporate :( i drive 90 miles every blue moon to eat at the one in wilmington :)
    cracker barrel
    #6
    felix4067
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 16:34:55 (permalink)
    Cracker Barrel
    Mellow Mushroom
     
    That's about all I can think of. White Castle is not good food, it's just cheap food. I almost added Waffle House because I love it (also Checkers), but really not. Steak 'n Shake is a Roadfood restaurant, and I still don't get it. 
    #7
    Holly Moore
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 17:04:29 (permalink)
    I'm curious if, by the Stern's definition, large regional and national chains can be Roadfood worthy. 
     
    For me, yes, if through their employees or other flashes of independent thought and cooking, they have some character and don't seem McStamped out of the same mold. Great grease works for me too.
     
    Of the one's mentioned so far, I'd say yes to the following:
     
    Waffle House
    A&W Drive-In
    Stewart's Drive-In
    White Castle
    Howard Johnson's (pre-70s)
    Skyline Chilli
    Big Boy Drive-Ins (pre-Marriott): Elias Brother's, Frish's, Marc's, Shoney's, Bob's, White Castle
    Culvers
    I'd also add Chick-Filet
    And maybe Hardee's for its breakfast biscuits and, I gotta admit, McDonald's only for its Egg McMuffin.
    #8
    Sundancer7
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/09 17:48:58 (permalink)
    Holly, I agree with your assessment.  Nothing like a Hardee's biscuit for breakfast.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    mr chips
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 01:34:53 (permalink)
    Skyline Chile  has been reviewed in the  books. Burgerville, a northwest regional chain has been reviewed in the books and on this site. Waffle House is a place where I tend to eat when i am in a place that has one.
    post edited by mr chips - 2011/07/17 00:09:09
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    mjambro
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 10:54:56 (permalink)
    To be "road food" I'm thinking there has to be a level of quality / unique food and usually combined with a homey feel.  IMO, that would certainly disclude Bob Evans, Black Eye Peas, McDonalds & Cracker Barrel (all way too sterile / plastic), but would allow for Waffle House, Stewarts and A&W (with draft root beer served in glass mugs) as well as Pollo Loco.
    post edited by mjambro - 2011/07/10 10:57:11
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    SeamusD
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 13:54:00 (permalink)
    A&W is a good choice. I just had a burger and a mug of root beer at the A&W drive in in Cortland, NY a little while ago. Hit the spot.
    #12
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 16:26:33 (permalink)
    I haven't been by an El Pollo Loco in ages.  There's one not too far from me, in Smyrna.  I should swing by one day this week.
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    Greymo
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 20:55:21 (permalink)
    In a million years, would I ever consider Cracker Barrel to ever have been Roadfood worthy!  I had to endure breakfast there last swwek as someone's guest  and  it  was  as  dreadful as I remembered from  15 years ago!    YUCK!                                                                                                                                                                
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    ann peeples
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 21:59:28 (permalink)
    I agree, Greymo.Cant stand Cracker Barrel.
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    felix4067
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 22:02:11 (permalink)
    What Cracker Barrel has to offer those of us in the North is a reasonable facsimile of a Southern breakfast. And it remains the only place within 50 miles of my house where I can actually order and receive greens with salt pork. Perfect? No. But as close an approximation as I can get here. Unfortunately, the one right by my house closed a few years ago, so the closest one is so far on the opposite side of town as to be a planned outing.
    post edited by felix4067 - 2011/07/10 22:04:10
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    AndreaB
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 22:33:08 (permalink)
    felix4067

    What Cracker Barrel has to offer those of us in the North is a reasonable facsimile of a Southern breakfast. And it remains the only place within 50 miles of my house where I can actually order and receive greens with salt pork. Perfect? No. But as close an approximation as I can get here. Unfortunately, the one right by my house closed a few years ago, so the closest one is so far on the opposite side of town as to be a planned outing.

    I don't see a problem with Cracker Barrel - they have a good variety of food and if you are on the road and want something dependable at an exit and to get back on the road it's fine.  If you have more time there are probably better places, but I think Cracker Barrel is just fine for a road trip. 
    Andrea

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    Foodbme
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 22:52:22 (permalink)
    I lived in Nashville, their hdqtrs, and they are a very scripted, canned as in cookee cutter, food concept dispite their so called Southern menu. The Store also knocks them out of contention. They are Faux, Imitation Roadfood.
    A decent place to eat??? OK. But don't call it Roadfood.
    post edited by Foodbme - 2011/07/10 22:55:40
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    AndreaB
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 23:34:26 (permalink)
    Foodbme

    I lived in Nashville, their hdqtrs, and they are a very scripted, canned as in cookee cutter, food concept dispite their so called Southern menu. The Store also knocks them out of contention. They are Faux, Imitation Roadfood.
    A decent place to eat??? OK. But don't call it Roadfood.

     
    I'm just saying if you're on the road and need to make a relatively quick stop you could do a lot worse than Cracker Barrel re the other eating establishments off of the interstate exits.
    Andrea

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    felix4067
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/10 23:42:41 (permalink)
    Foodbme
    A decent place to eat??? OK. But don't call it Roadfood.

    Exactly how I feel about the vast majority of chains that are deemed Roadfood by this site.
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    ann peeples
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 02:45:19 (permalink)
    I have never had a decent meal there. I find their food tasteless. Just my experience and opinion. And having traveled extensively in the south, their breakfasts arent even close to southern style.Again, just my experience and opinion.
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    AndreaB
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 03:54:53 (permalink)
    I think I meant "Pollo Tropical" and not "Pollo Loco" - we don't have either here.  The Pollo Tropical we ate at in Delray Beach was great.
    Andrea
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    mayor al
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 06:56:03 (permalink)
    I used to frequent El Pollo Loco when living in SoCal.  I really like their chicken...and the Black Bean Bowl is a good, filling, and cheap lunch on the run.  Same with Popeye's here in Louisville. I do like the Chicken Popeyes puts out...but I don't sit in the place, it is drive-thru for me !!
    Roadfood, not really, but better food than many alternative choices.
    Add my vote for
       Culvers
       In n Out
       Farmer Boys
     
    #23
    Sundancer7
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 07:00:07 (permalink)
    Al:  I wish Farmer Boys were in Knoxville.  Many thanks to you for turning me on to them when I was at the NHRA banquet and award ceremony at Pomona.  Great breakfast and burgers.
     
    Paul E. Smith
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    michaelcarraher
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 07:06:27 (permalink)
    Looking over these posts has sort of clarified my thinking on what makes a chain/franchise restaurant Roadfood-worthy.  (1) Quality, of course.  That can sometimes vary from one location to the next (even one day to the next).  (2) "Americana" type cuisine. (3) Originality.  The place feels like it started out as an original Roadfood restaurant someplace and then opened another location, then another ....  As opposed to someplace (like Cracker Barrel IMHO) which some corporate types designed from scratch to look like their idea of a Roadfood restaurant.   
     
    There some good chains out there and I enjoy the food but they ain't Roadfood.  I wouldn't drive to get to them.  There's no "color," no unique experience.  When the Stern's write their reviews, they don't just review the food - they review the place, the people and the experience.  Of all the chains I listed earlier, Waffle House is probably the most "roadfood."
    IHOP has good waffles and pancakes but it doesn't have the color.
     
    #25
    David_NYC
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 10:00:55 (permalink)
    In-N-Out is a Roadfood place. Part of this has to do with the fact that they still operate their own commissary. They even built a second (temporary) commissary in NW Dallas to support their Texas expansion:
    http://articles.ocregister.com/2011-03-10/news/28692595_1_beef-processing-plant-texas-panhandle-dallas-area
    I can't see any of the other places listed, in their present form, being Roadfood. Just about all get their food from a dedicated supply chain. Many have food items custom manufactured for them in a factory which they then just heat and serve. These could not be prepared by a owner-operated restaurant.
     
    One interesting case is the Howard Johnson chain. There are just three of them left, all in places I don't get to. AFAIK, their supply chain is gone and they are left to fend for themselves. Seems even the vendor who made the coating for their Tendersweet claims dropped the account because of insufficient volume. Google maps show the last commissary and ice cream plant in Brockton, Massachusetts bulldozed. Even the outsoured food manufacturers who took over are no longer providing product.
     
    I'd be interested in hearing from members who have recently eaten in Bangor, Maine, Lake  George, NY, or Lake Placid, NY Howard Johnson's.
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    felix4067
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 10:27:35 (permalink)
    ann peeples

    I have never had a decent meal there. I find their food tasteless. Just my experience and opinion. And having traveled extensively in the south, their breakfasts arent even close to southern style.Again, just my experience and opinion.

    And I never claimed they WERE true Southern style. What I said was, it's the closest I can come here. Much like Red Lobster being the closest I can come to decent seafood (without paying an arm and a leg) here.
    post edited by felix4067 - 2011/07/11 10:28:54
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    mar52
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 11:08:25 (permalink)
    Versailles, a small chain in Southern California.
    I've always wondered why a Cuban restaurant would be named Versailles.
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    ann peeples
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 11:56:44 (permalink)
    Relax, felix.As I said, my experience and opinion. Others have different, and I certainly respect and understand that.
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    Greymo
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    Re:They'd be Roadfood if there weren't so !@#$ many of them 2011/07/11 12:02:34 (permalink)
    mar52

    Versailles, a small chain in Southern California.
    I've always wondered why a Cuban restaurant would be named Versailles.

     
    I am not sure about the small chain in California but the  large Cuban restaurant in Miami is called Versailles and I think that they chose that name because of the way it is decorated. The place is loaded with etched mirrors and loads of chandeliers and murals as supposed to look  like a palace.  The food there is wonderful!


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