Where I eat on Highway 89

Originally posted on at www.anntorrence.com, updated here in 2009.

One of my favorite things about a roadtrip is eating in new places. High-brow, low-country, I’ll try them all. I’ve driven the entire historic route of U.S. Highway 89 for my project, a lot of miles, a lot of meals. I want good food after a hard day’s photography, and I have found some great places to eat. Here are some of my favorite places:

Tucson El Charro Cafe There are four locations, but I prefer the original restaurant in the central district, which has been there longer than the Highway itself. Mole, carne seca, and they will ship tamales.
Phoenix my Mom’s My Mom makes the best lasagne.
Yarnell Cornerstone Bakery Once on a scouting trip Mom and I stopped here for a coffee warm-up. I now have a standing order to bring her eclairs if I am driving through Yarnell.
Flagstaff Beaver Street Brewery After a full day drive from SLC to Flagstaff (I probably stop more than most), I’m glad to know that this place will be serving good food until at least 11 pm.
Page Strombolli’s Restaurant and Pizzeria I get the Strombolli Calzone, large enough that I eat half and pack the rest for lunch the next day. Strombolli’s closes in the winter.
Kanab The Rocking V Cafe The last thing I’d expect in a rural Utah restaurant is an extensive vegetarian menu. It looked good, but I had the elk. I’d stay in Kanab on the way to Zion NP so I could eat here again. Full bar too, not always easy to find in Southern Utah.
Springdale The
Spotted Dog Cafe and Pub
Springdale isn’t on Highway 89, but it is the main gateway to Zion. The chef at the Spotted Dog is sourcing scallops, salmon, and other gourmet items, and he knows what to do with them.
An “eat your fancy food in fleece and flannel” kind of place, one where I feel comfortable eating alone.
Panguitch The Flying M Restaurant A real coffee shop, full American breakfast. And a full liquor license. Hopefully you won’t need both at the same time.
Salina Mom’s Cafe Save room for pie.
Salt Lake City Coffee Garden Two locations, one in Sam Weller’s Bookstore on Main Street. I’m not a coffee drinker, but my husband says the Coffee Garden staff can make the best latte on the planet. (There’s one other place in Auckland, but it’s not on Highway 89.) If I’m in town, I’ll be having one of their pastries for breakfast on Saturday morning. And free wireless.
Salt Lake City Bambara Restaurant This is our household’s special occasion restaurant. Actually, there is a lot of fine dining in SLC, but this is my choice for my birthday and my husband’s choice for business dinners.
Perry Maddox Ranch House People drive an hour from SLC for the chicken-fried steak. It’s a must-drive-by in the evening to see the spinning neon creation.
Garden City Hometown Drive In Highway 89 is lined with shake shacks, but the Hometown Drive In is one of the few open on Sundays.
Alpine Yankee Doodles Cafe Everything, EVERYTHING in the place is red, white and blue. Must have been a huge After-the-4th sale at decorating time. Burgers, freedom fries, and plenty of flags.
Jackson Virginian Restaurant Jackson is a foodie town, but sometimes what I want is an honest American breakfast. You can get it here.
Jackson Jackson Whole Grocer I’ll stop here for a sandwich and snacks on my way into the park. The deli is full-stocked with takeaway foods for the road.
Grand Teton National Park Mural Room, Jackson Lake Lodge There are several classic national park lodge dining rooms on the Highway 89 tour, like El Tovar and the Old Faithful Lodge. I enjoy the dining experience in all of them, but I like the food at the Mural Room best.
Livingston 2nd Street Bistro Drive the hour north of Mammoth Hot Springs to eat here. I might move to Livingston just so I could eat here. This one is “better than it has to be.”
Great Falls Mackenzie River Pizza Company A small chain of Montana restaurants that doesn’t feel like it. The Great Falls location is next to the Missouri River, the patio lovely, the staff charming.
Choteau Log Cabin Cafe Another fabulous pie place, if you get there early enough.
Babb Cattle Baron Supper Club Don’t be misled by the simple exterior – winters are hard in Montana. The food is inside, big beautiful pieces of beef. This is not a place for light appetites or vegetarians. The waiter tried to interest us in dessert, a comical proposition considering the steak I had eaten.

These are my recommendations, but keep in mind that I haven’t eaten everywhere (yet). If I missed your favorite road food spot on Highway 89, won’t you please leave a comment with the details?

2 comments to Where I eat on Highway 89

  • Matt B

    You really need to add Park Cafe in St Mary Montana, and also Two Sisters, to the Montana places to eat section!

  • Just a suggested addition – Little Acorn at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon – old fashioned burgers and sandwiches on home baked bread. Dirt cheap (appeals to me!) Been visiting there for 6 years…don’t post unless you try it first.

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