6.02.2006

Tastes of the Region #9: Road Food

For those who, like myself, love diners, mom-and-pop restaurants, fish fries, hot dog stands and their like, I’m proud to devote this post to www.roadfood.com. The authors of the book Road Food: The Coast to Coast Guide to 600 of the Best Barbeque Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners and Much Much More have gathered up their notes to launch a website dedicated to helping hungry travelers and ignorant locals discover the culinary delights of most larger towns across America.

Don’t expect fancy foods here, this is a website dedicated to plebian cuisine. Here in Upstate New York, that typically means 50’s era diners serving deep fried items and various types of meats. For example, in my neighboring city of Binghamton, Danny’s Diner
and Sharkey’s Bar and Grill are featured but the ritzier spots like the Number 5 and Za Zou are completely ignored. To put it another way, this is a website for the hash brown connoisseur.

Their search engine offers several neat features. Each location is rated in three categories: “Visit Again,” “Food” and “Atmosphere.” It then (somehow) calculates how many miles the spot is worth driving out of your way to visit. An average meal price is given as well as prices for the more popular items. There are also extensive write-ups and specific details on making reservations, maps on how to get there, etc.

For example “Duffs
” in Buffalo is introduced with the line: “In the Buffalo world of wings, there's Anchor Bar, which everyone in America knows about, there's Duff's, which everyone in Buffalo knows about, and then there's just about every other restaurant and bar in the city (where most Buffalo wings are actually consumed).” The bar is given a 100% rating for “visit again,” 70% for “food,” 80% for “atmosphere” and is worth driving 20 miles out of your way to visit. There are four descriptive paragraphs and four photos of food and the place’s exterior.

Overall, www.roadfood.com
is a fascinating website that allows your to discover diamonds in your own backyard or give you a taste of real local food when you’re out traveling.

-By Jesse

1 comment:

Al Z. said...

30+ years ago my dad used to take the family out to Sharkey's on occasion and I still remember playing that "bowling" game! "Tic Tac Strike". I don't know why this slipped my mind: unbelievable. I'll have to bring my own kids there soon. Great post. It reminds me Webers or Shifty's here in 'Cuse. These taverns really give that sense of "place" to a neighborhood.