When you’re a truck driver, you often find the only place you can count on a meal to sit is in one of the many trucks that stand out. Petro has the Iron Skillet, TA has the Country Pride, Flying J has the Country Market. But the same old, same old leaves you wanting more every now and then.
The problem is that a large rig can be 75 feet long or more. We can’t just pull into a Chilean parking lot, touch our horns, and say “We’re here”. Our choices are often limited by the size of our vehicles. Over the years, though, I’ve found several places to park my platform that delight my stomach.
The Cattle House
In Covington, Indiana, on I 74 at exit 4, there is a Pilot truck stop. Just across the street, it’s one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. It’s called The Beef House. They are open for lunch or dinner. A good steak dinner for two will give you about $ 40 or $ 50 depending on what you order. I go for the little filet mignon- and I promise you, it’s worth every penny. There’s a little fat on it, it’s wrapped in bacon and aged. I’ve never tried it but I imagine if you could cut it with your fork, it’s so tender. They have a meat stand and you can buy from them and take it with you to grill even later. They have a fresh salad that comes with your meal and wonderful soups (also included). Their service is the highest. Lots of people dine with dresses and gowns, but you can wear jeans and a sweatshirt if you choose so, and you won’t feel out of place. There are two buildings – a banquet hall and the restaurant. Be sure to go to the restaurant (not the banquet hall) – it’s the westernmost palace. They have space for several trucks to park in the gravel areas of their lot, but, for the less adventurous, you can park at the Pilot’s. It is a short walk away.
Nick’s Catfish and BBQ
In Carlisle, Arkansas, on I 40 at exit 183, there’s a small restaurant that doesn’t look very out of place. Thinking about it, it doesn’t look like much inside, but what comes out of the kitchen is worth stopping by. I have never had the BBQ but I have friends who have ordered it and have been very happy with it. The catfish is one of the best things I have ever had. It’s not a place to eat if you’re on a diet, but if you’re looking for a good meal, it’s a safe bet. They limited truck and camper parking on their land. They are only a few ways south of I 40 on State Highway 13.
(870) 552-3887 or (870) 552-7845
Weather in Guglie
In Carson, California, on Highway 405 at the Wilmington Ave exit, there’s a dining room with food that rivals your favorite “chain” restaurant. There is only one parking lot for 2 or 3 trucks on the road (unless you are a bobtail – then you can put it in the lot). The spots are marked 1 hour by truck parking and are long enough for a large rig. I can’t even begin to delve into their menu offerings – beef, roast beef, stir fry, salads … I’ve never heard of anyone who isn’t happy with their choice. The waiters were helpful every time I ate here. I know drivers who have parked their rigs a mile away in no parking area and have gone to Spiers to get a good meal. It’s definitely worth taking a walk around the block to get some truck parking.
Just outside Hollister, California, on Highway 152 (between Gilroy and Santa Nella) is a one-touch restaurant. Food is not the main attraction here, although it is a very pleasant change from a truck stop restaurant. This place is a whole house of EVENTS- there is a wine and wine tasting shop (not before driving, please), a sweet shop, and a fruit and nut shop. I had never stopped here other than for a quick meal or a place to sleep until recently when a friend of mine told me about the train. I had no idea there was more than fruit and food here. From the map of the place you can see that they have a small train, a zoo, and an arm of peacocks walking around. The restaurant is 24-hour and has a variety of options. I only had breakfast here, but it was very good.
In Fairfield, Texas, on I 45 at exit 197, there is a restaurant good enough to make Sam Houston proud. Another driver suggested dinner to Sam, and, to be honest, at first glance I didn’t expect much. The outside of the building looks like any truck will stop along the I 45 corridor, but what lies within these walls will surprise you. This place has a small gift shop with all sorts of nice nick-knacks to navigate – even though I never had to wait for a table. It’s not too elegant but it’s very beautiful. They have a nice salad, a fantastic catfish and a nice barbecue. They are located just east of I 45 and have plenty of land for truck parking. Don’t confuse it with the truck stop on the west side of the highway.
(currently the truck parking / stop is closed for the construction of Cabella and a new truck facility)
In Green, Nevada, at exit 3, there is a casino and a truck stop called Boomtown. Truckers can park at the truck stop and take the free shuttle to the main casino. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, the main attraction of the buffet is the lobster all you can eat. It’s not like what you’d expect in Maine, but it’s a nice change from your typical truck stop fee. He will give you $ 24 per person ($ 19.99 each if you show the Player Club card). The lobsters are on the small side, but it’s, after all, all you can eat, so why complain? Other than that, it’s a typical casino buffet.
In Oregon on I 5 at exit 307 (don’t miss the exit because you can’t just turn at the next exit (the two overlap and there’s no ramp when you get back on the highway) it’s a stop of badly marked truck called the Jubitz- follow the small signs along the path marked “Jubitz.” I wanted to stay away from the truck stops, but this is what is worth mentioning.The Cascade Grill restaurant in the main building is top quality and they also have a bar that boasts live entertainment.It is a nice change from the traditional truck stop with all the services that a truck stop provides (diesel, tires, showers, laundry, etc.). to go.
(503) 283-1111 or (800) 523-1193
I recommend other places but haven’t tried them:
The Country House
In Wendell, Idaho. The Farm has truck parking available (not confirmed), large portions, friendly service … and it certainly exceeds the regular fare at truck stops, if you know what I mean!
The big Texan
In Amarillo, Texas. This place is known for the 72 oz steak that you get free if you eat it in an hour. Other than that, I feel like his “regular” steaks are out of this world.
Rainbow Casino Steak House
In Wendover, Nevada. Reservations are recommended. There is plenty of parking for trucks and a free shuttle (although the casino is right across the street and is safe to walk on) I have heard that its combo of filet mignon and jumbo shrimp is better than playing a jackpot.