Pointer post: Chicago to LA drive

I posted on Chicago board (starting point). I’ll be driving Chicago to LA and was hoping for tips on good stuff along the way.

Stop in Las Vegas put it all on black and drive to LA with double the :moneybag:!!


I thought we were supposed to put it all on red?


No no no, you put half on black and half on red, that way you win no matter what!*

*unless it lands on 0 **

** please nobody do this.


“always bet on black” - Wesley Snipes


Back sort of on topic - I made this drive in reverse a few years ago (LA to Chi, not literally backwards). We went through Denver and then up to Minneapolis to see friends, both of which have great beer and pretty good food. We also stopped by Mt Rushmore, which was fine.

Didn’t have much luck eating anywhere outside of big cities, but that was probably our fault as much as the places we were driving through.

If food is the focus, your best bet in general may be driving the South and Southwest route for bbq and chiles and flour tortillas and tex-mex instead of through the plains.

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So that’s roughly Omaha / Lincoln > Denver > Vegas.


I’d also check lthforum.com which is a food forum based in Chicago.

Here’s a thread on Chicago to Santa Fe


Its pricey, but in Denver definitely hit up The Wolf’s Tailor, https://thewolfstailor.com/. The chef/owner cooked at Bestia here in LA and it is really, really good.
Driving on the 70 through Colorado stop for lunch just past Glenwood Springs (a beautiful part of the drive) at Elk Creek Mining Company, http://elkcreekmining.com/. Great burgers including one called the North Hollywood (go figure) a take on In 'N Out’s Double Double.
If you stay on the 70/15 route Mom’s in Salina, Utah, Mom’s - Salina, UT | Review & What to Eat, has good diner food including the Utah scone which is more or less frybread. I would take the 89 cutoff and drive through Zion, which charges a fee, but is some of the most beautiful country in America. If you don’t and end up going by Cedar City Charlie’s Southern BBQ is excellent, https://www.charliessouthernbbq.com/
This site, https://roadfood.com/, is pretty dependable for road trip dining. It has good recommendations for local gems like pork tenderloins in Iowa, and runzas in Nebraska.
Have a great trip!

For me that’s a pretty aggressive itinerary. I’d be doing drive-thru FF.


No disrespect for the route you mentioned (it sounds awesome) but if you’re going to cut south for Zion I’d recommend doing it a little earlier at 72 so you could also catch Capitol Reef National Park, the Hogback Ridge/Grand Staircase drive outside Boulder Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park as well as Zion.

To keep it marginally food related, I highly recommend the individual fresh baked pies at Capitol Reef and the apple picking if it’s in season.


Great idea! Last time I went through I wanted to do this but had to cut it short as I had booked a job. Next time I go visit ebeth in Boulder I will do this. Utah is so beautiful!!! Thanks!

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This is all really great! Thank you! I have a driving companion, but I bet I will do most of the trip.

Rand McNally here I come!

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it’s not necessarily practical, but i’d consider st. louis and a detour through kansas city (BBQ) and then deciding whether to take the southern route from there into oklahoma and texas (more BBQ). or just head west to the 15. has topography/geography been considered (mountains, etc)?

If you pick the 80 route in Iowa the 30 parallels the 80 for most of the way. Its a smaller road, and Iowa is surprisingly beautiful. I did this drive several years ago as my sister lives in Cedar Falls and I had to drop off some family heirlooms. Definitely find some great breaded pork tenderloins on that route. Nebraska is pretty flat and boring so I would stick to the interstate there. Once you pass Denver, Colorado and Utah are some of the most beautiful country in America, and good local food is pretty easy to find. Nevada and eastern California are pretty bad except after a wet winter. Don’t be fooled by all the signs for the Mad Greek or Peggy Sue’s. Both are pretty mediocre although the Mad Greek makes a good milkshake. There are a couple of good places for lunch in Barstow, including an Asian noodles place in the outlet mall on the western edge of town. If you are doing the 15 on a Sunday use WAZE or another traffic app as the homeward bound traffic from Vegas can be ridiculous. There is an alternate route turning off at Victorville and cutting through the Antelope Valley. There are some good options in Victorville as there is a fairly large Asian community there as well as some excellent Mexican places. If you do go that way some good BBQ in Little Rock.
Barry’s suggestion to head south is another good idea, but it will add time to your trip, and west Texas and Oklahoma are some of the ugliest country in America. Might be worth it for southwest cuisine though.

butterflied in a sandwich with mayo and a sweet pickle.

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Oh yeah!!! Darrell’s Place - Hamlin, IA | Review & What to Eat

So having done the drive with a friend both ways (LA to Chicago - we went via Vegas, Colorado, Nebraska Iowa) IMO there’s not much good eating after Denver, there’s nothing but corn for 12 hours driving from Nebraska thru Iowa.

Are you on a timetable because if you can take your time and make a trip of it I would rather drive thru the south like I did on a future trip when we went from Chicago thru Texas and then Arizona. You could potentially hit up Oklahoma and try Nonesuch, that modern tasting menu place that won Bon Appetits Best New Restaurant last year), even if you only hit Dallas theres still some decent food there. The drive out of Texas into New Mexico is a bit rough as there is nothing but desert (make sure you keep your gas tank topped off, there are periods where we didn’t see a gas station for almost 100 miles). Then there’s Phoenix on the way to LA and of course there’s stuff Palm Springs once you get to California.

If you want to swing by Vegas then I’d probably do Kansas City to Denver then to Vegas.

that looks awfully good. but the pickle should be inside the sandwich. not quite tartar sauce, but close.

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