Whether you’re setting out to ski or sail… whether you’re reuniting with old friends or starting a new family tradition…. whether you’re taking the fastest route or taking your sweet time… food is an essential part of any road trip.
And when you hit the road in a 15-passenger rental van with lots of hungry mouths to feed, finding the right spot right off the highway is key.
So we thought we’d do you a solid and take a look into a few of the best pit stops in the country. Because somewhere between Point A and Point B, you’re going to get hungry.
Buckeye Express Diner
Just off I-71 between Cleveland and Columbus, you’ll find the Buckeye Express—a family diner tucked into a railcar towed from Roanoke, VA, in 2008.
Decked out in scarlet and gray filled to the brim with Ohio State Buckeyes memorabilia, it offers up a unique roadside eating experience for locals and visitors alike. From the Buckeye Mega Dog to the Lake Erie perch, the fare is hearty, satisfying and memorable.
There’s a playground (if you brought the kiddos), an excellent view of I-71 (if you love views of interstates) and an 8-lb burger on the menu (if you dare).
Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que
In 1971, Julius “Doc” Pierce, set out from Flat Creek, Tennessee with his family’s prized barbecue sauce recipe and set up shop six miles outside Williamsburg. More than 50 years later, Pierce’s Pitt is still turning passersby into loyal followers with its commitment to staying “clean, green and local.”
The beef is grass fed, the chickens are free-range and the meat and produce is all locally grown. Which may explain why the roadside institution has attracted and employed multiple generations of local families. And why they’ve been featured on The Travel Channel, The Food Network and National Geographic’s “The 10 Best of Everything.”
It’s the only open-pit barbecue in Virginia, with six smoking pits built for a max capacity of 6,000 pounds of Tennessee-style barbecue. And its culture of kindness and mutual respect continues to fuel its remarkable legacy.
Consistently ranked one of the best diners in America, Tops offers world-class food in massive portions in a newly renovated setting.
A recent multi-million-dollar reconstruction effort saw the original 5,000-square-foot space (established in 1942) replaced with a 15,000-square-foot one designed to comfortably seat 400 customers.
From its all-day breakfast menu (consider the Jambalaya Hash & Eggs) to its must-try Italian dishes (consider the Chicken Francese over spaghetti) to its full cocktail bar (consider the American Trilogy with Sagamore rye, laird’s straight applejack, bourbon maple and orange/chocolate bitter), Tops offers a little something for everyone.
Just because you’re stopping for a bite on the side of the road doesn’t mean you have to settle for fast food. America’s highways and byways are lined with amazing places to eat. So when it’s time to pull your 15-passenger van over for some grub, be sure to visit one of them.
Be sure to rent a 15-passenger van to make every mile of the journey something to remember.