Experience life in simpler time with a trip down iconic Route 66 in the Show-Me State. Feel the wind in your hair, admire the restored neon-lit motels and motor courts, stop often at roadside attractions. When it's time to fill your gas tank – and your belly – you can find everything from greasy spoons to sweet shops, pizza to barbecue.
There are so many great places to eat, you may want to slow down and spend a few days on Missouri's stretch of the Mother Road. Here is just a sampling (note - slight detours off the route may be required):
Red Onion Cafe, Joplin - Head downtown for hand-cut steaks, gourmet burgers, chicken and pasta dishes served in a casual setting.
Whisler's Drive-Up, Carthage - In business since 1953, this joint knows a thing or two about making awesome burgers.
Steak 'n Shake, Springfield - This neon-lit spot on St. Louis Street is a Route 66 institution, dating to 1962. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Route 66 Hot Dogs, Springfield - Sometimes simple is the best: hotdogs and cold drinks from an old grocery store built in the 1920s. If your timing is right, this spot has movie nights, too.
Joe's Diner, Strafford - This small local diner is a bit rustic, but it's a great place for a hamburger. Don't pass on the onion rings.
Route 66 BBQ & Catfish, Strafford - Discover one of the best kept secrets in Greene County, featuring fresh, hickory-smoked meats, hand-breaded catfish and homemade barbecue and tartar sauces.
Yogi's Pizza, Conway - Fresh dough, tasty sauce and savory ingredients help make Yogi's one of the top pizza stops in Missouri.
Hopper's Pub, Waynesville - This charming pub/restaurant sits right on Route 66 in the downtown area. It offers a diverse menu and dozens of beers on tap.
Slice of Pie, Rolla - There's no denying the big appeal of the pies at this small bakery. They've got pies galore, from traditional apple and peach to sweet potato and custard.
Missouri Hicks Bar-B-Q, Cuba - This Missouri original has earned a reputation as one of the best barbecue joints entirety of Route 66. The serve up all the traditional options, from ribs to smoked chicken to pulled pork. Try a classic taste of Missouri with a pork steak sandwich.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, St. Louis - It doesn't get much better than frozen-custard on a warm Missouri day - or a cold Missouri day, for that matter. Ted Drewes has been making sweet teats for more than 80 years.
Written by Barb Brueggeman