Roadside Restaurant Power Rankings

Vincents-Restaurant-in-Colorado-Springs-Colorado-1000x636Nothing screams Americana like good old fashioned roadside restaurants. We’ve all seen the signs while logging long hours on this nation’s interstates.

“Eat at Joe’s.”

“Good eats.”

“Last chance for salmonella.”

In days gone by, most of these shops were run by Mom and Pops but alas, we now live in the era of cookie cutter franchises reigning supreme. And so with each passing exit on the highway we have yet another chance to stop and sample their delights.

We decided to take the guess work out of the equation for you and rank the Top 5 Roadside Restaurants, as we at FirstAndMonday see them.

You are more than welcome.

#5 Bob Evans

bob-evans-storefrontIf you like plastic looking food you’ll love Bob Evans. Most menus use professional food photography studios that employ artificial models as stand-ins for the real deal. Plastic photographs better than real food. At Bob Evans you get food that tastes as fake as its looks.

Recommended dish:


Pot roast sandwich

When to eat here:

If you are really pressed for time and all the other joints are backed up. Just remember, there’s a reason the Bob Evans parking lot is usually empty.

#4 Waffle House

Waffle House shootingIf the pulse of Small Town America’s residents can be felt by observing their local Walmart then so too can their dietary habits be gleaned by taking a look inside of a Waffle House. Perhaps the most polarizing eatery on our list, Waffle House’s fans are as passionate as it’s detractors are vocal.

To quote Jim Gaffigan: “Waffle House is like a gas station bathroom….that serves eggs.”

Touche, Jim. But don’t forget their glorious hash browns.

Recommended dish:

20111024-hangover-waffle-house-hash-browns-smothered-coveredHash browns covered, smothered, peppered, chunked and capped

When to eat here:

Before a drug deal. After a night of drinking. Before a noon kickoff. After an 8pm kickoff. Before heart surgery. After undergoing a colostomy.

#3 Shoney’s

28569745Shoney’s doesn’t do any one thing particularly well but they do offer a myriad of mediocre meal options. Many of their locations even offer a hot and cold salad bar style buffet.

Recommended dish:

thumb_600All-American Bacon Cheeseburger

When to eat here:

If your party cannot decide on breakfast or lunch type fare, then Shoney’s is a good compromise. It’s like the worst of both worlds.

#2 Cracker Barrel

16234633627_f258fa96a9_kSpecializing in down home whimsy, biscuits and gravy and latent racism, Cracker Barrel is a fairly decent option for a hearty roadside meal.

Recommended dish:

CpGc-fAWcAAOoXaUncle Herschel’s Favorite Breakfast

When to eat here:

Whenever your plans call for 4,500 calories in a single sitting or if you are in the market for some overpriced (and most likely imported) old-fashioned trinkets and trash.

#1 Denny’s

denny-sBreakfast? Check. Lunch? Check. Dinner? Check. Always open? Bruh, you already know.

Welcome to America’s Diner.

Denny’s tops our list for not only being the most consistently edible of the roadside restaurants, but for also being the most American.

Steak and eggs and a milk shake…God Bless The U.S.A.

Recommended dish:

dennysThe Grand Slam, son!

When to eat here:

Whenever the pangs of patriotism and/or hunger strike. For those about to eat, we salute you!

Did we miss your favorite roadside restaurant? Jump on our message boards and let us know or follow us on Twitter @firstandmonday.