Guide

5 Delicious and Historic Pit Stops Along Route 66 

When coasting down the most iconic highway in America, Route 66, you’ll want to plan your pit stops carefully. Here are a few historic diners along the route that should be on your list. They were all recent grantees of Backing Historic Small Restaurants, a grant program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in partnership with American Express.

  1. Photo By: Rhys Martin

    Hi-Way Cafe (Vinita, Oklahoma)

    A beloved stop along the well-traveled Mother Road, the Hi-Way Cafe has been serving pies and diner fare since 1963. It’s known for its neon sign (which underwent a restoration project recently); 24-foot Muffler Man, “Big Bill”; and a 1963 AMC American Rambler that holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Stickers on a Car.”

  2. Photo By: Jonathan McKinney

    Wanda J’s Next Generation Restaurant (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

    Technically, this is a bit off the route, but Wanda J’s Next Generation is the epitome of down-home American dining, and it’s not to be missed. It is the second location for the family restaurant and is run by Wanda’s five granddaughters. The restaurant is located on Black Wall Street in Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District. The family honors the legacy of Black Wall Street by being one of several Black businesses still thriving there today.

  3. Photo By: Wikimedia (Public Domain)

    U Drop Inn Cafe (Shamrock, Texas)

    The U-Drop Inn got its name from a local student’s winning entry in a naming contest. It shares the Art Deco-style building with the Tower Station, a gas station. Built in 1936, this distinctive building’s shape reflects the image of a nail stuck in the soil. The building fell into disrepair, but a group of local citizens saved it from demolition. It has been restored to its former glory, and it served as inspiration for Ramone’s automotive body and paint shop in the movie "Cars." Visitors today can indulge in nostalgia at the retro soda fountain and see the booth where Elvis Presley once sat.

  4. Photo By: Wikimedia (Public Domain)

    Delgadillo’s Snow Cap (Seligman, Arizona)

    Built in 1953 from scrap lumber by Juan Delgadillo, the Snow Cap Drive-In has brought laughs and delicious food to delighted travelers along Route 66. Delgadillo’s penchant for humor is found throughout the eatery: signs for “cheeseburger with cheese,” “dead chicken,” and “Sorry, We’re Open” grace the exterior. Today, Delgadillo’s children continue their father’s legacy of serving pranks and burgers.

  5. Photo By: Google Street View

    Mitla Cafe (San Bernardino, California)

    Founded by Lucia Montaño Rodriguez in 1937, the Mitla Cafe is run today by her grandson and great-grandson. The café serves Mexican comfort food like chile rellenos as well as tacos dorados, the original inspiration for the tacos at Taco Bell.

Haley Somolinos is the manager of email marketing at the National Trust. She has a passion for places and the stories that they hold.

Share your stories from Route 66! Whether a quirky roadside attraction, a treasured business, or a piece of family history, we are looking for your stories from this iconic highway.

Share Your Story