It’s easy to eat your way through 3,000 miles of Big Macs and Starbucks lattes. But the road less traveled has much to offer the road tripper in gastronomic treasures and oddities. As we trek across the U.S.A., I’ll share with you some diners and cafés worth a detour.
Paper Moon Diner, West Baltimore, Maryland
Paper Moon ain’t a diner, it’s an acid trip with hamburgers. I don’t know what I love more about this place – the bizarrely artsy decor or the bizarrely delicious menu choices.
They have BACON SHAKES, people. Yes, you heard me — a milkshake flavored with freaking BACON.
We order the crab mac & cheese, a beautiful chicken salad, moonburger with cheese, and sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries are crispy pillows of pure delight. Burger is juicy and perfect, everything is lovely. While the prices are a bit high for diner food (about $9 – $11 for a burger), the atmosphere, service, and experience is well worth it.
New York Pizza, Vinton, Virginia
New York Pizza is a local treasure of my beloved Southwest Virginia – we make a pit stop in sleepy, sweet Vinton just for this restaurant. Why? Two reasons: the best pizza in a 100 mile radius, and the enormous plaster Jesus welcoming us with open arms in the parking lot.
Prices are decent, the vibe is jukebox-casual, and the booths are teeming with locals in baseball caps sipping on Coke and Budweiser. On nice days, you can sit on picnic tables shaded by grape vines. Ahh…just like Italy. Or, New York. Whatever. Just go with it.