What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA)

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Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
2010/04/09 06:50:46
Looking over a bunch of 35mm slides from Roadfood's early days, I realized just how compelling (and how much fun) restaurant signs are. Here is one of my favorites, from Lighting's Bar-B-Q, which I believe was in Arkansas. The pitmaster made some wickedly good sauce which we took away in a Jack Daniel's bottle (the only container he had on hand; and, I believe, one of the sauce's secret ingredients). The sauce, alas, was lost when our car was tail-ended by a gravel truck, splattering a whole trip's worth of great sauces across the highway.
 
If you have a favorite Roadfood sign, please post it here. We would love to see it.
 
BTW, I recently digitized several hundred vintage Roadfood slides and will be posting them in the forums (or with restaurant reviews, if the slides are still apropos). Next up: I will supplement the Arthur Bryant's review with a shot of legendary barbecue master Arthur Bryant at work in the kitchen of what he used to call his "Grease House."
 

 

buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 08:29:22
Michael, I think you told the story about the guy filling up a not so clean Jack Daniel's bottle in Two For The Road.  I know it is one of my favorite moments in the book.  It is great to see the photo of where that took place and what a great sign they have.  The guy tackling that pig (it is a pig, isn't it?) is absolutely priceless!  Can we assume Lighting's BBQ is long gone?
 
So glad that you digitalized your photos and I can't wait to see them.  I have a couple of favorite sign candidates and will look for the photos.
porkbeaks
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 08:55:08
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 09:04:37
porkbeaks-
Leonard's was one of the first ones I thought of.  And as good as it looks during the day, it looks even better at night!
Tony Bad
Fire Safety Admin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 09:39:16
A few personal favorites:















porkbeaks
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 09:46:20
That last one is interesting. Must be a pretty classy place to have a couple condom dispensers next to the menu-board.
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 10:10:26
I bet that Coney Island sign looks great at night.
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 10:29:32


Psssst.


That's Tony's Living Room.
Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 10:40:27
Cliff, I am assuming Lighting's indeed is long gone. That was about 30 years ago. Here's another sign from that era from a BBQ we found in Front Royal, Virginia. Earl's was in the original edition of Roadfood.
 

Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 10:41:38
One of the all-time greats, for sure!
porkbeaks




wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 10:54:34
This has to be one of my favorites

My visit to Bruce's Bar in Severance Colorado this past summer.

Tony Bad
Fire Safety Admin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 10:57:30
bill voss

Psssst.


That's Tony's Living Room.



No, we have a cigarette machine and charge for the knuckle sandwich
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 11:22:20
My favorite was a sign on an East Columbus place that is now a used tire shop. It read:
                GRACES TAVRN
             HOME COOK FOOD
 
And no, I did not leave out any punctuation marks or letters.
post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2010/04/09 11:24:27
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 12:01:18
I'm very fond of this one, particularly because it was a childhood favorite of Lori's on her trips to Cook Forest. Unfortunately, the food isn't quite as splendid as the sign.



The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 12:31:02
Maybe it's just me, but I have always been partial to this sign:


buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 13:01:19
Two classics from out West.

The bucking bronco at The Mint Bar

and the spinning, futuristic design at Maddox Ranch House.
Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 13:44:35
I suppose 3-D statues should be a whole other category, but my two favorite top-of-the-roof characters, Maurie and Flaurie, are Roadfood signs par excellence:
 

Tony Bad
Fire Safety Admin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 13:51:22
I love those dogs!

Here is another classy sign...and no Bill...this one isn't in my living room either...



DocChuck
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 14:41:28
WOW!
 
What a super thread this could be (or ALREADY is) for us old-timer road warriors.  I, for one, will copy and paste EVERY photo into a 'special album' on my computer (whether, or not, that is legal --- LOL).
 
During our travels, my wife and I have collected hundreds of photos of vintage eateries from coast to coast (and in Europe --- where there are some REAL doozies, especially of some of the pubs in Ireland and Scotland). 
 
I look forward to viewing and collecting copies of YOUR photos.
 
Thanks for the effort.
 
mimicooks
Junior Burger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 14:48:13
Seen on a diner menu in Arkansas years ago: Special today - Salad Bowel
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 16:10:59
In a Nashville BBQ Brew Pub in 2006 Poverty Pete pointed out this poster for a 'Charity Walk' to raise funds for training 'Sight dogs'. While a bit on the risque theme, It certainly attracted our attention while we ate !

Tony Bad
Fire Safety Admin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 16:47:40
buffetbuster

Two classics from out West.

The bucking bronco at The Mint Bar
 






This one reminds me of this place in Wyoming...
 






post edited by Tony Bad - 2010/04/09 16:49:25
Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 16:53:17
You know you are not in Kansas any more when you see this sign on a buckwheat farm at the northernmost end of Route 1 in Fort Kent, Maine:
 

Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 16:55:36
The Mint Bar at night:
 

carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 18:01:52
Here's a Milwaukee classic...


carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 18:09:21
... and a classic in Toledo.




JUDYJACOBS
Junior Burger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 19:09:38
I LIKE THE WOODEN PAINTED PRETZELS ON THE ENDS OF SMITTIES PRETZEL LIGHTHOUSE AND THEY HAVE A BLUE NEON PRETZEL IN THE TOP OF THE LIGHTHOUSE ROADSIDE STAND- YOU CAN SEE IT GOOD AT NITE CAUSE ITS LITE ALL NITE. JUDYJACOBS

Attached Image(s)

Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 19:13:10
How long have you been flacking for Smitties?
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 20:09:34
Everything is bigger in Texas!

 

Twinwillow
Sirloin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 20:13:13
All these signs are an absolute, hoot! Please, keep 'em coming!
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 20:35:16
Does anyone have a nighttime shot of the old Star Noodle Parlor (now closed) in Ogden, Utah in all its neon glory?  I have an old pre-digital photo, but unfortunately it's currently in storage.  It was in a Roadfood book at one time - Michael S, do you have one?  It may be the best neon sign ever.

I'm reluctant to paste someone else's photo over here, but here's a link: http://farm1.static.flick...4973650_2cdce79b01.jpg

porkbeaks
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 22:12:27
This is a place on the Indian River in Sebastian, Florida.

JUDYJACOBS
Junior Burger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 22:31:56
i also like the isaacs deli signs. judy 
post edited by JUDYJACOBS - 2010/04/09 22:37:48
JUDYJACOBS
Junior Burger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/09 22:35:15
I aint flaking for smitties- I also posted about fast eddies pit beef in north east md-- guess you did not see it.  judy
 
Michael Hoffman

How long have you been flacking for Smitties?


boyardee65
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 02:51:14
 Some really great signs. I've seen some really great ones all across this country. Vista View Drive-In, Manhattan KS comes to mind. The original Bill Johnson's Big Apple in Phoenix AZ. The Cheese and Stuff Deli sign also in Phoenix.

David O.
Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 06:45:54
I never can resist a giant animal. This is the elephantine chicken at Mr. D's in Henderson, Kentucky:
 

Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 06:49:21
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

Does anyone have a nighttime shot of the old Star Noodle Parlor (now closed) in Ogden, Utah in all its neon glory?  I have an old pre-digital photo, but unfortunately it's currently in storage.  It was in a Roadfood book at one time - Michael S, do you have one?  It may be the best neon sign ever.

I'm reluctant to paste someone else's photo over here, but here's a link: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/70/154973650_2cdce79b01.jpg


I did have a photo of it, probably still do. But where? As I recall, I was seriously photomaniacal in those days and probably was using a 2-1/4 camera, so it's likely a big transparency that's a PITA to scan.
DocChuck
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 09:50:47

 
 
Bliss' Route 101 Restaurant  in Florence, Oregon:  the whole building is a sign.  And you should see the INSIDE!  I took a lot of photos, but they obviously do not belong in this post.  By the way, Bliss' has some of the BEST roadfood one could want. My wife had a chicken fried steak and a root beer float, and I had fish and chips with a cold beer.
 
PS:  See the turquoise blue '57 Chevy (third from the right)?  A Bel-Air hardtop, exactly like the very first automobile I owned (a birthday gift from my parents), except that mine was the whole car  .
 
   
  
 
post edited by DocChuck - 2010/04/10 12:00:34
carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 10:56:26
Here's another favorite of mine, located in Morristown IN...


JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 14:38:58
DocChuck,

I didn't get it.  Now I feel like such a Hooplehead.

jrp
JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 16:17:03
Since Doc Chuck opened the door to bar signs, I'll post the famous National Liquor Bar sign, now at the Heaven City Restaurant.  The sign is beautiful at night, as the lights cascade into the shot glass, filling it.

DocChuck
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 16:36:10
JRPfeff

Since Doc Chuck opened the door to bar signs, I'll post the famous National Liquor Bar sign, now at the Heaven City Restaurant.  The sign is beautiful at night, as the lights cascade into the shot glass, filling it.




What kind of roadfood do they serve at the Heaven City Restaurant?  Do you have a 'night' photo of that intersting sign doing its thing?
JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 16:49:35
It appears that the NLB had everything from breakfast to a fishfry.  They qualify as a Roadfood restaurant.  Heaven City not so much.



I tried taking picture at night and it didn't turn out.
cecif
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 17:22:48
Ok, I whittled it down to five... 5! So I'll post smalls since it's really too many I think. The first is just a cool sign from Nashville.

Followed by two places you will have to guess - both great favorite RF places.
(I know one says its name, but you'll have to say where it is!)

Then a sign I just really liked.

And finally a weird (but real!) sign from North Dakota.

Cheers & thanks for the cool thread Michael!
post edited by cecif - 2010/04/10 17:24:26
DocChuck
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 17:28:09
Yes, Michael DOES know how to start an interesting post, that's for certain!
 
And my wife and I REALLY appreciate it.
cecif
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/10 17:34:37
One more, because I cannot believe no one else has posted it yet!

billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 02:51:44

Just a few of my favorite signs.  

The neon cheeseburger from the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, NYC.




Bonus points if you can guess which Roadfood restaurant this is!


How about this one?


J.P. Licks Ice Cream Jamaica Plain, MA


Lexington Candy Shop Upper East Side, NYC Excellent egg creams and chocolate malteds.


Kane's Donuts Saugus, MA. Home of an insanely large and most tasty coffee roll!


The Village Smokehouse Brookline Village, MA


Sahara Restaurant Brooklyn, NY


One of my favorite signs! From the Hallo Berlin Wurst cart on the corner of 54th Street & 5th Avenue, NYC. You are missed, Rolf.

And another one from Hallo Berlin. Such a great sense of humor.

Anyone guess this one? One of Tony Bad's favorites!
[

Big Booty Bread Co. in the Chelsea neighborhood of NYC. Great Red Velvet cupcakes.


Brook's House of Bar-B-Q Oneonta, NY. Love that Cornell-style chicken!

Brook's House of Bar-B-Q Oneonta, NY
Who would refuse this offer from Brook's?


The Neptune Diner Oneonta, NY. Great home fries!

Not a from a Roadfood establishment, but an sign advertisting a classic Roadfood food, Hofmann hot dogs!


Voss Bar B-Q Yorkville, NY. Quite possibly my most favorite Roadfood establishment. Amazing BBQ sandwiches and chili dogs!


The now closed Doc's Little Gem Diner in Syracuse, NY


The sign for the sides menu at Hill Country Barbeque and Market in NYC.


The sign for the Gianelli and Dinosaur tent at the Great NY State Fair in Syracuse, NY. Going to see RUSH perform there this summer and will most definitely be making a stop here! Like the Sterns say, a dancing pig is a sign of good eats!


 

 

post edited by billyboy - 2010/04/11 02:59:58
Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 06:05:04
A snack shop / video store / dry cleaner / tanning s'alon in West Virginia for tho'se who collect misplace'd apostrophe's:
 

Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 07:13:18
The sign for the Longhorn Grill in Amado, Arizona, is pretty nice, but the framing of the doorway beats all:
 

DocChuck
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 14:11:25
Are you going to Maine, one of our very favorite States in America?   GOOD!   Then follow DocChuck and wife (Doctor E.) along Route 1 as we spot (and explore) some of the best RoadFood signs across America:
 
 
Here we stop at Wild Blueberry Land in Columbia Falls, Maine, billed as the 'World's Largest Blueberry'.  We enjoyed some fresh hot coffee and perhaps the very best fresh-baked blueberry pie on Planet Earth.  Oh, yes, we bundled up a bunch of "Blueberry" delicacies to take back to Maryland with us:  cookies, cakes, scones, chese, jellies, jams, etc. 
 
Movin' on ....
 
 
We spot Raye's Mustard Mill and Pantry Store here in Eastport, Maine, AFTER we passed it.  A quick U-turn, and we are BACK at the famous mustard dispensary that has been featured on television food shows and blogs all over the American airwaves.  We stocked up on a dozen or so jars (assorted varieties) of the BEST mustards (especially the jalapeno mustard) on the planet, some mighty good snacks and a couple of great sandwiches for our continued adventure along the famous ROUTE 1 coast highway in Maine.
 
 
 
YES, here we pull our trusty Optima into the parking lot of the famous Mike's Clam Shack in Wells, Maine, and parked underneath one of our favorite RoadFood signs.  Unfortunately, the food did not measure up to the absolutely wonderful ambience found inside the restaurant.  The lobster rolls were cold, the lobster rubbery, and very possibly the WORST lobster roll we have ever had (the $13.95 Lunch Special).
 
Maybe they were having a bad day.
 
Movin' on  ........
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
post edited by DocChuck - 2010/04/12 15:21:42
DocChuck
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 15:02:06
 
 
Does this image qualify as a 'RoadFood Sign'?  I'm not certain, but permit me to tell you why I think it might qualify:
 
 
 
Eastport, Maine, is a small town --- perhaps similar to the town featured in the movie, 'The Perfect Storm' where folks live and die in an attempt to earn a living (often, somewhat meager) by furnishing all of us RoadFooders with great king crab, fish, lobster and various other seafood delights.
 
So, YEAH, I personally think it qualifies as a "RoadFood Sign", but that's just my humble opinion, and I am pretty certain that someone will disagree with me, chastise me, or send me to the woodshed for misbehavin' newbies. 
 
Here's a wonderful 'RoadFood' stop in Eastport that ekes out a living serving some of that wonderful, hard-earned seafood that Maine's tourists (and Roadfooders) love to enjoy:
 
 
 
 
By the way, their Lobster Rolls are culinarily orgasmic!
 
   
   
 
post edited by DocChuck - 2010/04/12 15:31:50
DocChuck
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 16:11:08
Perhaps the sign on this wonderful RoadFood restaurant holds the BEST memories for me and for Doctor Elizabeth during our travels over the last three years.
 
When you are visiting the Mt. Rainier National Park, as we do as often as possible (twice in the last three years), PLEASE do NOT miss the historic Copper Creek Inn which is located only 2 miles from the Nisqually Entrance to the park.  I can assure you that the breakfasts at the CCI are as good as they get in the shadow of the potentially-killer volcano (and I mean SHADOW, literally!)
 
 
 
The CCI is just a couple of miles down the road from the lodge where we hole-up when in the area:
 
 
Trust me, you will NOT want to miss the Copper Creek Inn on your RoadFood travels.
 
Carrion, please.
post edited by DocChuck - 2010/04/11 16:17:45
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 19:55:14
cecif 

 
 
Elliston's in Nashville?
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 21:29:19
A Classic Neon Pig, overlooking Beale Street in Memphis.

buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/11 22:06:14
For simplicity and rustic charm, I love the Family Pie Shop in Arkansas.

 
Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/12 03:32:39
What seeker of Roadfood would not stop at this sign, outside the Woodyard in Kansas City, Kansas?
 

Michael Stern
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/12 03:38:14
Ahh, Cliff, that is one of the greats! I like this sign on the way into town, too:
 

 
buffetbuster

For simplicity and rustic charm, I love the Family Pie Shop in Arkansas.

 


TFitz
Hamburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/12 12:22:59
Here is daytime picture of one of my favorite types of signs (ice cream)

 
Here is another type of roadfood like place

 
 
Here is a nice evening picture with neon of a place where I didn't eat but it looks cool.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/12 12:56:49
Michael-
I've never noticed the nice "Welcome to De Valls Bluff" sign.  Most likely because I was too busy speeding by in anticipation of great 'que and pie!

Two of my favorite weather beaten signs are from Coursey's in Arkansas

and from North Carolina's Skylight Inn.
californyguy
Double Cheeseburger
Re:What's Your Favorite Roadfood Sign? (all across the USA) 2010/04/12 14:41:57
WHAT A GREAT COLLECTION! tHIS COULD BE A COFFEE TABLE BOOK!
 uNFORT MY CONTRIBUTION IS FROM MEMEORY ONLY....SIGN FROM A SMALL DINER ON ROUTE NINE IN TOMS RIVER NJ (SINCE DEMOLISHED)..EAT HERE OR WE'LL BOTH STARVE
 
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