When our family first began planning for our month-long Route 66 road trip, we were surprised to discover how many iconic Route 66 restaurants and drive-ins were still out there. It didn’t take long for us to decide that we should visit as many of these places as possible, even if all we got was a cup of coffee and a slice of pie.
Historic Route 66 is filled with all kinds of great diners and drive-ins that date back to the heyday of road trip vacations. Even though we managed to hit many of these on our trip, there were some popular ones that happened to be closed at the time we were driving into or out of town. This is why you won’t find iconic eateries such as the Ariston, Ted Drewes, the Snowcap Cafe, and Rocks Cafe on this list. Of the ones we did visit, here are ten of our favorites that had plenty of kid appeal.
The 50s themed Polka Dot Drive-in in Braidwood IL, filled with lots of fun Route 66 memorabilia and life sized 50s characters outside.
The Whirl-a-Whip in Girard, IL which recently reopened and serves over 50 different flavors of soft serve ice cream.
The Cozy Dog drive in in Springfield, IL which serves up a mean battered corn dog which we’ve discovered tastes great for breakfast too. They also have a cool gift shop where you can buy a couple of plush cozy dogs.
In St. Louis, Missouri, we ate lunch one afternoon at Fitz’s on the Delmar Loop. Fitz’s isn’t that old but is housed in a 1928 building in the popular university district. To creative an authentic retro vibe, they installed a 1940s bottling line alongside the dining area and make soda pop on the premises.
Springfield, Missouri is home to Steak n Shake which serves up a great burger at an affordable price.
Miami, Oklahoma is where we found Waylan’s Ku Ku Burger with their great neon sign and fun cuckoo bird speaker. We found the food to be tasty too.
Outside of Tulsa, OK is Ollie’s Station which has a great railroad theme that kids will absolutely love. There are 10 different model trains that run throughout the cafe on tracks that are suspended from the ceiling.
POPS diner is just outside of Arcadia, OK and even though it is a new roadside eatery, it captures that great old Route 66 vibe that makes it worth visiting. We stopped at POPs for a soft drink (they have over 2000 flavors), though they also serve lunch and dinner.
Amarillo, Texas is where you’ll find the Big Texan Steakhouse which is another fun stop for families. This place has been serving up steak dinners “boarding house-style” to Route 66 motorists since the 1960s and shouldn’t be missed. The food is expensive but the experience is something else.
The Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas is home to the “ugly crust” pie and great lunch food. Fran, the former owner of this place was the inspiration for “Flo” in the Pixar Movie “Cars”. She now owns the gift shop next door where kids can buy a souvenir plush armadillo.
Part of the fun of a Route 66 road trip is the experience of trying new places to eat. These are just 10 of our favorite kid-friendly restaurants we found on our Route 66 road trip.
More by this contributor:
How long is Route 66?
9 fun gift shops to visit on Route 66
How to start a travel diary with your children