There’s just something about truck stops. Trucking culture is an inclusive society but lucky for the rest of us it fosters the existence of wildly non exclusive restaurants. Omar’s Highway Chef Restaurant is just such a place. I’ve heard legends over the years about how good their pie is, but had never checked it out for myself. For starters it seemed like it was so far away, it’s located off I-10 at exit 268, which I want to say is Craycroft but either way it didn’t take that long to get there. Secondly, though I like pie, it isn’t something I crave on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, Sean, Valarie and I made the trek last weekend on a whim. It was Valarie’s idea, Sean and I never would have thought of it and it sounded perfect. Upon our arrival I knew at the very least we were in for some good people watching. The place was full of truckers and white trash families tucking into various American classics like chicken fried steak, spaghetti and meatballs, and the aforementioned pie. It was perfect.
After pouring over the extensive menu which featured not just American fare, but Mexican and Italian as well, we all decided to go with hamburgers. The discovery of a great hamburger is on par with finding a ten dollar bill in your winter coat. Sadly, discovering the burgers at Omar’s Highway Chef Restaurant was more akin to discovering a button in the pocket of your winter coat that you didn’t realized had fallen off. At least you kept it but now you have to sew it back on, at least you’re full but you still ate a pretty crappy hamburger. First of all, I had a bad feeling when, after we ordered, our matronly waitress didn’t ask us how we wanted our burgers. This typically means flattened dry burgers. Not all thin burgers are bad, just most. I see the benefit of serving them, they cook faster so you can move more of them through the kitchen which can only help at place that gets as busy as this truck stop must. Aside from the thickness the burgers had other problems. Sean’s mushroom swiss burger had canned mushrooms, an unforgivable act in his eyes. Valarie’s burger, with green chile fared much better than Sean’s but it was still not all that special. They both got fries which were deemed, “whatever.”
My bacon cheeseburger was on par with the other two. The bun held together adequately but added nothing to the hamburger. The pickle, tomato, onion, and lettuce were all fresh but they just didn’t come together. I ordered onion rings which were clearly frozen beforehand but were still pretty tasty. I was really craving a big thick juicy burger so perhaps I’m being a little harsh on these guys but they just didn’t bring it, even for a truck stop.
All critiques of the burgers aside, the real reason we drove all the way out there was for the pie. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’d heard about it so many times from various people. What we got was something of a monstrosity. If I happened to believe in god, I would have considered this pie a great affront to his listless self. Like the Puritans avoided spice, I would avoid this pie. But since I am as staunch an atheist as Sarah Palin is a Jesus Humper I ordered the pie. Initially I thought we should all get one, but we wisely decided to share a cherry pie since when it came out it was almost as big as a baby.
Never in my life have I seen so much soft serve pile onto one plate. I hope I never do again. To be honest, this pie was pretty gross. The filling tasted store bought and tasted of little else besides sugar. I’m not sure what the big deal is other than the portion size. After about ten minutes of continuous eating the sugar failure pile still looked like this.
I have to say, Omar’s Highway Chef is a hard place to rate. I want to give it so many points for ambiance and people watching but the food was pretty horrendous. I guess I’m going to give it four and a half huge piles of soft serve. I also bought what I think might be a racist condom from the vending machine in the bathroom. I’ll let you decide after I post the picture.