Start the car, and bring your appetite. Here are the absolutely best places to eat along Western highways
Park Cafe, St. Mary, MT (pictured). “Pie for strength” is the motto here, and we couldn’t put it any better. Because, let’s face it, even the most idyllic of summer roadtrips have their stresses. The wrong turn, the misread map, the must-see natural wonder inexplicably closed for the season. In those perilous why-did-we-go-on-this-vacation-and-by-the-way-why-am-I-married-to-you moments, what can make things magically all right? Pie—warm, sweet fruit spilling out of tender crust. Pie—chocolate cream with a cumulus cloud of whipped cream floating above. Pie, pie, pie. 3147 U.S. 89 W.; 406/732-4482.
Sunglow Family Restaurant, Bicknell, UT. The menu reads like a joke. Pinto bean pie? Sweet pickle? Sunglow has earned its rep for odd flavors—and, really, they’re good. But if you’re not in the mood for exotic, dive into its tasty classics—the banana and coconut creams are especially noteworthy. 91 E. Main St.; 435/425-3701.
Rock Springs Café, Rock Springs, AZ. “The Rock” has been in business here in Black Canyon since 1918, so it knows how to do classic road food right. The mesquite-smoked pork ribs are fall-off-the-bone succulent; the chicken and biscuits wholesome yet indulgent, like what you’d get at a really good church supper. Still, many travelers make the 45-mile drive from Phoenix for one thing: pie. Dozens of varieties are arrayed in glass cases like diamonds at Tiffany’s, but tastier. Must-try: The Jack Daniel’s pecan and the rhubarb crumb. $; exit 242, 35769 S. Old Black Canyon Hwy.; 623/374-5794.