Our Annual BEST EATS Awards — 2017!

Every year about this time we give a shout-out to the best restaurant experiences we’ve had. Bob’s such an awesome cook (see our Best Of the Best post if you want to make yourself REALLY hungry) we’re spoiled, which means if something makes our BEST list, it’s pretty darned good.

We posted our first BEST list back in 2011 (!) and over the years, the list got pretty long, some of the restaurants went out of business and the quality in others dropped…. We haven’t been back to many of the places where a specific meal or menu item caught our palate, so the BEST list now focuses on places we’ve visited over the last year or two.

Let us know if you’ve been to any of these places or add your own BEST EATS to the comments so everyone can check them out!

Best Breakfast
Ham & Eggs O’Brian at Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma, AZ

Best Home Fried Potatoes
Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT

Best Pancakes
Johnny Cakes at Red Rooster in Enterprise, OR
[Unfortunately, when we returned, we had a different server who was so rude we left before ordering. Flavor is important, but service is key!]

Best Regional Salads
Calamari Salad from Old Oregon Smoke House in Tillamook, OR

AND
Seaweed Salad, from Old Oregon Smoke House in Tillamook, OR

Best Macaroni Salad
1. KC’s Outpost, Beatty, NV
2. Blossoms & Brews in Buffalo, SD

Best Soup and Salad Bar
Millstone Restaurant in Rapid City, SD

Best Hot and Sour Soup
Ming Dynasty, Battle Mountain, NV

Best Clam Chowder
Cafe on Hawk Creek, Neskowin, OR

Best Split Pea Soup
Minnie’s Montana Cafe, Thompson Falls, MT

Best Chicken Noodle Soup
JC Mickelson’s in Nephi, UT (with house-made, thick noodles)

Best Unique Soup
Taco Soup at Minnie’s Montana Cafe, Thompson Falls, MT

Best Regional Appetizer
Sweet Corn Nuggets, Apple Barrel south of Council Bluffs, IA

Best Appetizer
Jalapeno Poppers, in-house made at The Embers in Joseph, OR

Best Pizza
1. Ronnie’s, Yuma, AZ
2. Moose’s Saloon, Kalispell, MT (we’ve been known to drive more than a hundred miles in a day just to get Moose’s pizza!)

Best Comfort Foods
Minnie’s Montana Cafe, Thompson Falls, MT
— Liver and Onions
— Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (photo)
— Baked Macaroni and Cheese
— Chicken Pot Pie

Surprised to Find on the Road Comfort Food
Salisbury Steak at Dad’s Diner in Potlatch, ID

Best Ravioli
1. Butternut Squash in Maple Butter Sauce at Botticelli’s in Rapid City, SD
2. Lobster Ravioli at Bravo! in Albuquerque, NM [below]

Best Lobster Mac & Cheese
Fire Rock Steak and Seafood, Casper, WY

Best Turkey Sandwich
T-Bird (turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce on home-baked French bread) at KC’s Outpost, Beatty, NV

Best Tuna Melt
1. Mom’s Diner, Pahrump, NV
2. Paradise Cafe, north of Anza, CA

Best Crab Melt
Old Oregon Smoke House, Tillamook, OR

Best Burgers
1. Prospector Burger (burger with jalapenos, and pepper jack cheese; rye toast requested instead of the bun) at Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT (photo above)
2. Bacon Cheeseburger on homemade roll at Dad’s Diner in Potlatch, ID (photo below)

Best Non-Burger Burger
Root Burger (made with beets, carrots and other root veggies) at Trinity on City Beach in Sandpoint, ID

Best Scones
1. Triple Berry at Sugar Time Bakery in Enterprise, OR
2. Orange Cranberry at The Brew in Dickinson, ND

Best Cannoli
1. Peach at Botticelli’s in Rapid City, SD
2. Chocolate at Capelli’s Deli in Temecula, CA

Best Ice Cream
Wende’s Hit & Miss Ole Fashion Ice Cream, found wherever they park their mobile ice cream parlor — we found it in Beatty, NV

Best Cake
1. Huckleberry Cake at Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT (below)
2. Chocolate Cake at Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, AZ

Best Pumpkin Pie
Apple Barrel in SE Nebraska

Best Berry Pie
1. Razzleberry Pie at Mom’s Diner in Pahrump, NV
2. Apple, Blueberry & Peach Pie at Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, AZ

Best Chocolate Cream Pie
Tied 1. Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT
Tied 1. Sugar Time Bakery in Enterprise, OR
2. Apple Barrel in SE Nebraska

Best Key Lime Pie
1. Mamacita’s, LaGrande, OR
2. Sugar Time Bakery, Enterprise, OR

Most Entertaining Wait
JC Mickelson’s in Nephi, UT, where trains run along tracks hanging from the ceiling

Most Entertaining Restroom
Buck’s Sports Bar in Rawlins, WY, where there are two TVs in the bathroom

Prettiest Restroom
The Brew in Dickinson, ND, which was once a small church, had beautiful stained glass windows in the bathrooms

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About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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