Restaurant reviews?

6:17 p.m. on October 10, 2012 (EDT)
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If you've ever taken a long backpacking trip, you've probably dreamt about food--especially the meal you are going to eat once you get back to civilization.  Pizza, hamburgers, steak, cold beer, salad....they all seem to find a place on the menu, once you get started on the idea.  Shoot, we know people who have spent most of the last night of a trip talking around the campfire about what they are going to eat the following day at the nearest restaurant. 

And speaking of restaurants, there are a few that have quite a reputation among backpackers as well. The gas station at Lee Vining, the Old Priest Grade Inn, Pizza in Yosemite Valley all have their advocates.  We've come to really like Patty's Gourmet Cafe between Sonora and Columbia. 

But there is one restaurant that stands out in a completely different way.  We have eaten there at least five times in the last ten years, and every single time it has been worse than disappointing.  Sometimes the service has been absolutely rude and incompetent--waiting forever for a table in an empty dining room.  The last time we had perfectly nice service, and absolutely dreadful food--cold food without even a hint of sauce or seasoning.  And the amazing thing is that this restaurant is pretty much the only show in town in a National Park.  You'd think they'd want to do better.

It's the restaurant at Grant Grove Village in SEKI.  We can only wonder what amazing arrangements have been made to make sure that it has been so bad for so long. 

Anyone else have a least favorite place to eat?  Let us know, so we can avoid it!

9:48 a.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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How about 'most restaurants in a tourist town on a long weekend'?

Go where the locals go. Sometimes all you can get is a sandwich, but at least it will be a good one.

In the town of Jasper, you'll see morning lineups at The Bear's Paw bakery and its subsidiary The Other Paw. Fresh sandwiches and great baked goods at a reasonable price. I think that those, and others like them in the town, are the reason that McDonalds failed when they tried to open one there.

10:49 a.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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We got some meals in styrofoam clamshells at a cafeteria like place on the North Rim GC, something to eat while we watched the sun set. Really awful. I think a lot of the concessionaires in NPs don't give a hoot after they get the contract.

12:38 p.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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I understand that the consessionaires are often working in less than ideal conditions.  But there is no excuse for some of the low quality offerings we've encountered--particularly in Grants Grove. 


you have to wonder if those things are monitored at all!

12:46 a.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Gotta say for pure gutbomb glory, Zeke's on Steven's Pass, WA is quite good.  It features both ostrich and elk burgers if that's your choosing.

One of my favs is the deep fried mushrooms -- really like their batter. I like both the tartar sauce and ranch there. (Decent fries, too.)

Hear they have good milkshakes. Not a big shake fan, but they are popular there.

I stopped by twice in a couple weeks this summer, the first one after dropping my pickup car at the trailhead. Happened to be the last day of the Courage Classic bike ride.  Boy, was that place hopping!

And Balzaccom, you are right-- by the 9th day and 75th mile of the PCT, all I could think about was getting to Zeke's. I about flipped when my hiking buddy kept fiddly-dinking around. I was ready to eat the tires off of her car.

So, if anyone is in that neck of the woods in Washington, keep Zeke's in mind...

Or, there's always Wally's in Buckley, WA...My husband tells me they have some of the best milkshakes around. Good gutbombs too. :D

10:29 a.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Excellent! I love the comment about eating the tires off her car!

4:46 p.m. on October 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I dont remember the name of it but the resturant on the nantahalea river is excellent. Its right above the outdoor center, might even be affiliated with them. They serve a chili cheeseburger that is pretty impressive. I think its a half pound burger, open faced with fries on a platter then they dump a big bowl of chili over the whole thing. Absolutely delicious!!!

10:30 a.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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That sounds really good, Hotdogman. I've never eaten there, thought I've driven by many times and know exactly the place. 

There is a place or two like that on the Tellico as well. The Tellico Diner has amazing pizza, and I've been told the bakery has sandwiches to die for. Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to eat at the latter. 

Right below the Ocoee is a place that has videos of whitewater carnage playing all the time, and the food is great. 

10:44 a.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Ive been to both of those other places myself. I paddled most everything in that area for years. I think all three of them are way above average, but the on I mention really sticks in my mind. Its such a memorable meal, ive only eaten it after paddlin that section and being able to watch the falls while eating is great. You had better bring your appetite because its a huge meal. I miss those mountains, but the ones here in nh are still new and different for me.

11:02 a.m. on October 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Second gear,

Glad to hear a reference to Zeke's Drive In.  I have been going there since the 1970s.  When got busy Zeke used to get on the loudspeaker and announce that they weren't taking any more orders for onion rings until further notice.  It added to the mystique.

On a 152 mile canoe trip in Montana,  talk of cold beer and cheeseburgers during a week of hot weather, pushed our crew 36 miles in one day to a great restaurant in Lewistown.


8:04 p.m. on October 16, 2012 (EDT)
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balzaccom said:

..We have eaten there at least five times in the last ten years, and every single time it has been worse than disappointing...

 Why do you continue to eat there??!!  (I own a restaurant).


2:22 p.m. on October 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I was curious about that myself.(i too own a restaurant) maybe its the only option.

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