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Old 11-15-2015, 09:47 PM   #1
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Looking for the quintessential Norman Rockwell Coffee Shop

When I travel across country I am always on the look out for the quintessential Diner or Coffee Shop that the people are friendly and I can get a good basic breakfast. Doesn't have to be fancy nor does it have to be featured on a Food Network show. As I try to avoid chain restaurants when traveling so that I can sample the local cuisine I am not looking for recommendations for chain restaurants. The place I envision would most likely have tables, stools and a counter. You can tell by the rapport between the people that most are from the area and know each other. So far to locate them I usually ask at the campground office for a recommendation but the responses have been a mixed bag of commercial places or the place nearby. So far I have been disappointed in what I am finding. I am looking for recommendations from fellow travelers that I can use during future travels.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:40 AM   #2
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get yourself a copy of Jane and Michael Sterns roadfood book. This couple travel around the USA looking for good food and than publish they're findings. We have the 1rst and 2nd edition and use them all the time when were on the road.We find we agree with their ratings about 95% of the time and find it is fun following their leads. To the best of my knowledge they don't mention chains, all locals.
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Old 11-16-2015, 11:45 AM   #3
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Bob & Cathy,

We usually have lunch in small town cafes and always look for places with lots of cars and trucks. One time we took a short detour off US 97 to see if a likely café could be found in Goldendale, WA. This place was full of friendly people; ladies in groups and farmers and mechanics there after morning chores. We spotted it, circled the block to find a parking place for our fifth-wheel combo and walked a couple blocks back to the restaurant.

When we walked in the chatter stopped - "Strangers in Town" - then everyone seemed to catch themselves and jumped back into their conversations. I think the locals were a little embarrassed because the place got sooo quiet for a couple seconds but they quickly recovered. Can't remember the name of the café put on the south side of the main drag in town. Popular place with good food.

lakewoodpaul- Thanks book info.


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Old 11-16-2015, 12:53 PM   #4
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I have a Norman Rockwell Lithograph but it's not a coffee shop.
Sorry couldn't help my self
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:13 PM   #5
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Sometime in the late 90's not sure anymore which year it was. Two of us were on a motorcycle trip. We left around dawn, stopped for a few minutes at the Lawrence Welk homestead on Hwy 83 near Strasburg, ND at around 7 AM or so. Then we continued south looking for a place to have breakfast. I was leading as we went through Mound City, SD. I noticed a half-dozen or so cars and pickups parked at the bar so I pulled over and stopped. This resulted in the question "Why are we stopping? There's no cafe here." True, but if there are that many cars in front of the bar at this hour, they're serving breakfast.

Good food, good price, friendly folks. I don't know if they're still open, but if I go through there again, I'll stop and check.
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Old 11-16-2015, 10:52 PM   #6
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There are three for you in Littleton, NH. All local, not chains, all on Main St in Littleton. They'll be busy for the next couple of months, because Littleton is a popular spot for campaigners in the NH primary, and candidates love to drop into diners, interrupt your breakfast, and pretend they give a hoot.

The Littleton Diner is mid Main St, across from the Post Office. The other two are toward the east end of Main, the Coffee Pot on the north side of the street, and the Topic of the Town right across from it on the other side. All three have good food reasonable. Been to each many times, but tended to gravitate to the Coffee Pot as it seemed more homey, and they have great home-made wheat bread toast.


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Old 11-16-2015, 11:23 PM   #7
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Some good tips on locating those places one might not stop at. I will keep them in mind when looking for that special place. It is true you can't tell a book by it's cover - I stayed at a campground in Welcome, MN and we asked at the campground for a recommendation of a local place for dinner. We were sent to a local bar that from the outside I probably wouldn't think of stopping at. Because of the recommendation we did and once inside the place had great food and cold local beer. It seemed to be the focal point for the entire town with a lot of older couples getting the dinner special as well as people getting off from work at the bar. It's one of those places that you remember.

Regarding Roadfood - nice website with a lot of information. Will be checking out the books on Amazon and see what they are all about. The Roadfood forum on their website seems to be pretty active with most post being made recently. Thanks.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:16 AM   #8
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RT 219 in Great Valley, NY, which is south of Ellicottville (WNY ski country) and 60 miles south of Buffalo is Katie's Fly In --the place has a huge parking lot which is awesome for RVs and is across the road from a small strip airport. It's a destination for those with planes who like to take day trips and have a place to have lunch.


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Old 11-18-2015, 01:54 PM   #9
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maybe you mean like Joe's diner in Norman Rockwell's "The Runaway" pic below?

I've eaten there, could use some updating but still a piece of Americana

a favorite of mine that we take the 3hr drive on occasion for is Papa Pete's on the east end of Bennington, VT Restaurant Bennington, VT - Papa Pete's
a true locals only, hasn't changed since the 30's feel we found in Walsenburg, Co on a recent cross country trip. Alpine Rose café, interior décor hasn't changed in forever but real good pancakes (the sausages could have looked better) Alpine Rose Cafe - Restaurants - Walsenburg, CO - Reviews - Photos - Yelp
closer to home in Central NY
Lafayette, Ny near I-81 Old Tymes café Old Tymes Cafe - Cafes - 2474 State Rt 11 - La Fayette, NY - Reviews - Yelp
there are many more that I've been too. and many more I hope to discover.
Dan from Syracuse, ny








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Old 11-18-2015, 07:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danfromsyr View Post
maybe you mean like Joe's diner in Norman Rockwell's "The Runaway" pic below?

Dan from Syracuse, ny

Dan,

Exactly what I was trying to describe. We have one down by us in Cape May County, NJ - Steve's Cafe 47 Steve’s Cafe 47 Dinner - Diners - Cape May Court House, NJ - Reviews - Photos - Yelp it's a place that every time I go in I see someone else I know that I haven't seen in a long time. Everybody's friendly nothing fancy on the menu just simple good food. It has 10 stools, 8 booths and one table. We hit it every Sunday for breakfast and usually once or twice a week for lunch. It's adjacent to a couple of campgrounds on Rt. 47.

When traveling across the country I've only stopped in two places that I felt the same in one was Peter's in Cody Wyoming Peter’s Cafe & Bakery - Sandwiches - 1219 Sheridan Ave - Cody, WY - Reviews - Photos - Menu - Yelp we asked at the information bureau for a recommendation and after describing what we were looking for we were given directions to Peter's. We had a nice breakfast there. The other was the Southern Kitchen, in New Market, VA Southern Kitchen - 70 Photos - Southern - 9576 S Congress St - New Market, VA - Reviews - Yelp where we stopped for lunch and went back the next day for breakfast.

I am saving all the recommendations. Every summer we spend about a month away from home criss-crossing the country in addition to the several spring trips of shorter duration and I am sure we will in the vicinity of one the suggested places.
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Old 11-18-2015, 09:18 PM   #11
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Kahlotus Washington.
Small restaurant, store and museum.
One of the highlights of our summer trip!
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Old 11-18-2015, 10:14 PM   #12
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Birdseye Diner, Castleton, VT. Home | Birdseye Diner

Blue Benn Diner, Bennington, VT. (No website).
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Old 11-20-2015, 03:35 PM   #13
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Bridge restaurant in Vermont just across the Crown point bridge
The Bridge Restaurant: Home
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Old 11-21-2015, 09:03 AM   #14
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We were on a motorcycle trip a few years back and decided to stop in Ennis, MT for breakfast (my favorite meal to eat out). As we were taking our riding gear off, a gentleman was crossing the street and made a direct detour to greet us and recommend the eating establishment he was headed to; "best food in town", he claimed. We walked in and were greeted by just about everyone in there. Food was great, a bit of a slow pace, but were on vacation, so it didn't matter. As we left you would have thought we were family, by all the friendly waves and goodbyes. Sorry I don't remember the name of the joint, but it was on the North side of the street in about the middle of the block; the friendly people had me in awe. OH...and the gentleman that recommended the establishment came by and checked on us while were eating...must have been the mayor.

Another motorcycle trip, back in 2005 (yes I Rode a lot; all the lower 48 and Alaska), led us to the Water Wheel Breakfast and Gifthouse on the Presidential Hwy in Jefferson Twn, NH. It was a misty overcast morning and we proclaimed "we are stopping at the first place we see". Well, it looked like a barn on the outside with a water wheel planted in the front of the building. We were a bit skeptical about entering, however, when the front door was open it looked like better homes and gardens had just done a refurb. The owners were friendly, food was great and they figured out we were Michiganders and joined us for breakfast; they were originally from Michigan as well. Definitely on the return list.

I too like to find the little mom and pop eatery's and I have come across to many to recall; just the most memorable ones.
Enjoy the journey, while searching for the destination.
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