2020 Best EATS!

What a whacky year. Hopefully COVID-19 didn’t touch you, your family or friends in 2020 — and won’t in 2021. The pandemic certainly caused all kinds of changes to everyone’s “normal,” and when you live on the road as we do, “normal” is already mostly off-kilter from everyone else’s “normal.”

We visited many of the same places as last year, but because we had to order to-go rather than eat-in we ordered some different things and tried some different restaurants. Hard to eat our favorite Ham and Eggs O’Brian breakfast from Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma when you have to eat it from Styrofoam teetering on your lap in the crowded front seat of a Jeep, right?

Sadly, we lost a few favorite places. T+D’s Restaurant in Baker, Nevada, closed when the owners decided it was time to retire. Katy’s Korner in Cloverdale, Oregon, has been replaced by Antonette’s Kitchen South. We’ll miss both! And the Bulldog Diner in Rufus, Oregon, was closed when we stopped — whether it’s permanent or not, it did lead to our finding a new place down the road.

It’s sad for the restauranteurs, who have had a very difficult year, but the upside for us was discovering new eateries. In some cases, we tried the usual spots and weren’t as impressed, so ventured out. We were thrilled to have the Pie Hut in Sandpoint, Idaho, recommended to us — it comes into the Best list with THREE entries! You’ll see a few other new names in this year’s listโ€ฆ I’ll let you find them ๐Ÿ™‚

So whet your appetite, forget about your woes, and join us as we present the 2020 Bob and Ellen’s BEST EATS Awards!


  1. Ham and Eggs O’Brian at Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma, AZ
  2. Sirloin Steak and Eggs at Bob’s Texas TBone Restaurant in Rufus, OR
Bob’s Texas TBone Restaurant, Rufus, Oregon
  1. Steak and Eggs at Shari’s in Meridian, ID
Shari’s Restaurant, Meridian, Idaho

Goldsboro’s Bakery, Yuma, AZ

Brownie’s Cafe, Yuma, AZ


Chicken Tortilla Soup at Jimmie K’s Diner in Yuma, AZ

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

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID

Pie Hut, Sandpoint, Idaho

BEST DRINK [Nope, no alcohol here!]

Strawberry Lemonade at The Smokehouse in LaGrande, OR

Smokehouse Restaurant, LaGrande, Oregon


Steamer Clams at Hook, Line & Sinker in Garibaldi, OR

Hook, Line & Sinker, Garibaldi, Oregon

Fried Ravioli at Nicco’s in Pahrump, NV

Cheesey Garlic Bread at Bit of Italy in Nampa, ID

Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho


Best Side Salad

  1. Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID
Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

Best Spinach Salad

  1. Shari’s Restaurant, Nampa, ID
Shari’s Restaurant, Nampa, Idaho


  1. Ronnie’s in Yuma, AZ
  2. Moose’s Tavern in Kalispell, MT
Moose’s Tavern, Kalispell, Montana


Best Burger
International Cafe, Austin, NV

Best Reuben

  1. Buffalo Cafe in Whitefish, MT
Buffalo Cafe, Whitefish, Montana
  1. Chalkboard Cafe in Wallace, ID
Chalkboard Cafe, Wallace, Idaho

Best Panini
Heather’s Special at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID

Pie Hut, Sandpoint, Idaho


Halibut and Chips at Sea Baron Food Trailer in Garibaldi, OR

Sea Baron, Garibaldi, Oregon

BBQ Grilled Oysters on the Half Shell at River View Dining in South Bend, WA

River View, South Bend, Washington


Best Fajitas
Jalapenos in Nampa, ID

Jalapenos, Nampa, Idaho

Best Comfort Food (Tie)

  1. Scalloped Potatoes and Ham at Minnie’s Montana in Thompson Falls, MT (Bob)
Minnie’s Montana Scalloped Potatoes
  1. Chicken Pot Pie at Montana Minnie’s in Thompson Falls, MT (Ellen)
Minnie’s Montana Chicken Pot Pie


Best Spaghetti
Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID

Spaghetti at Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

Best Lasagna
Nicco’s in Pahrump, NV

Best Pasta
Maryland Blue Crab Ravioli with Housemade Pesto at Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID

Maryland Blue Crab Ravioli with House Made Pesto at Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho


Best Tiramisu
Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID

Tiramisu at Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

Best Fruit Pie
Marionberry Pie at Alice’s Country House Restaurant, Tillamook

Alice’s Country Restaurant, Tillamook, Oregon

Best Cream Pie

  1. [Tie] Chocolate Cream Pie at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID
Chocolate Cream Pie at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, Idaho

and at The Smokehouse in LaGrande, OR

2. Peanut Butter Pie at Hook, Line & Sinker in Garibaldi, OR

Best Chocolate Cake
Chocolate-Blueberry Cake at Alice’s Country House Restaurant, Tillamook, OR

Chocolate Blueberry Cake at Alice’s Country Restaurant in Tillamook, Oregon

Best Hot Fudge Sundae
Hought’s 24 Flavors, LaGrande, OR

Hought’s 24 Flavors, LaGrande, Oregon

Alligator Bites at Icons Grill in Yuma, AZ: You don’t get many changes to eat alligator, especially out west. This was tasty and worth trying, but other than that it wasn’t anything special.

Icons, Yuma, Arizona

Yep. It’s a much shorter list this year, with our very best meals coming out of our own kitchen, thanks to Chef Bob ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pan-Seared Netarts Bay Oysters (from JAndy Oysters) with Cheesy Broccoli and Corn on the Cob
Ham and Eggs with Potatoes and Toast
Garden Salad with Shrimp and Mussels

What about you? What kinds of great (or not so great) experiences have you had with road food this past year?

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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2 Responses to 2020 Best EATS!

  1. Every year I read your Best Eats post and the more I read and look at your photos the hungrier I get! Our only road trips this year were to places in our home state of Georgia. We have had lots of take out dinners and ate at a few of our local restaurants. When dining out here we usually stick to local crab, shrimp or fish dishes. It doesn’t get much better than wild caught fresh Georgia shrimp.

    • Ellen says:

      Oh, Beth… you’re making ME crave fresh seafood!!! In all of our travels, the Deep South is an area we’ve missed. Two of the three states I’ve never been to are Alabama and Mississippi…. just seems to always be raining or too darned hot to even want to venture there. Glad you’ve been able to keep the foodie in you happy, despite the shut-downs! Take care!

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