We are very pleased at our success choosing places to eat lunch at while on the road. We've eaten at fast food joints I think about 4 times during this entire visit. Which is all around a success because Molitor and I actually love Whoppers and Big Macs but should have them but rarely. And it's always been at a rest stop on a toll road.
Our phone's internet connection plus a variety of apps (Yelp, Road Ninja) that work sometimes have helped us find local joints that, all in all, have been great experiences.
Wall Drug, near Mt. Rushmore, SD. Previously noted Total Tourist Trap, with its Hot Beef Sandwich, which I loved and amazingly didn't upset my stomach. Splitting these godawful meals with Molitor has been great.
The Dash Inn, in NE Wyoming, on our way to Hardin, MT - the food wasn't notable, but it was a local joint that's been around for several decades and clearly a local favorite. Perhaps if we'd gotten the fried chicken we would have been impressed, but instead we got grilled cheese, hotdog, and sweet BBQ (which just reminds me that all BBQ is yummy, but I really prefer the savory variety). They had high chairs...on wheels. So Beatrice had a ball being pushed around...and entertained many of the grandparently patrons in the process.
Pinky's Cafe in Livingston, MT, on our way from Hardin to Butte, MT. Already noted in a previous post. But this was the restaurant that started Alice's love of Breakfast for Lunch! Also notable because it was 47 degrees at noon and raining.
Gamers Cafe, in Butte, MT. We were put off by the name at first, thinking it'd be a sports bar type place that would serve unremarkable bar food. Thankfully, it was definitely a local family joint, and they specialized in pasties. I'd never had one before, so Molitor and I split one that was smothered in cheese and chili. It was giant, salty, fatty bolus of cheese, meat, and dough. It was explained to me (by the owner's father, a delightful wizened old man making the rounds) that it was Welsh in origin and the original miner's food (Butte is/was a mining town) because it was an entire meal surrounded by dough and you could slip the whole thing in your pocket. Alice got ham with her meal, which was oddly delicious, and Beatrice practically drank it.
Old Timer Cafe, in St. Ignatius, MT, on our short drive to Polson/Flathead Lake. Our food wasn't remarkable (though I certainly appreciated the blt Molitor and I split), but it was definitely a local's joint and people seemed a bit surprised to see us Obvious Strangers. It offered a cherry milkshake (this being Montana after all), which alas I wasn't in the mood to help consume, and we never saw it offered again.
Quinn's Hot Spring Resorts Restaurant, in nowheresville, MT, which we thankfully found as we drove away from the National Bison Range and passed through town after town on a small-ish road (which nevertheless had a speed limit of 70 mph) that consisted of a few ramshackle buildings and no sign of food, gas, or life itself. We got the Matador, which was kind of like a smothered burrito, though with a sauce that we couldn't identify (Molitor's best guess is regular brown gravy with a whole bunch of cumin) but that had me invoking the heavens in appreciation. The waitress explained that it was the chef's secret recipe and she doesn't tell anyone.
Some umremarkable Greek joint in Coeur d'Alene, which we took to the city park on the water.
Cow Creek Mercantile in Ritzville, WA. Evidently this town has lots of Germanic heritage, and it was reflected in the menu of this eclectic joint. In particular they sold runzas, which we'd never heard of before. I wish we'd bought one (instead of got some of their quite delicious pizza), after seeing another patron get one: it looks much like a piroshki. This place was in fact just off the interstate so we chose it because it had a giant sign and it wasn't a chain and we needed lunch. It was a lucky choice!
Twisted Cuban Cafe near Bellevue, WA. Mentioned this already in an earlier post today. The chicken breast Alice got, though quite plain, was delicious. And our Cuban sandwich was great, though thankfully we split it because, hello, meat and grease-tastic. The yucca fries were special for us...and delicious.