The Best Road Food - From Texas to Virginia

Texas Road Food
If you’re passing through Texas on your road trip, there are three "must-have" road foods you must eat while you’re in the state. Prepare to enjoy large servings, too – they’re not kidding when they say that everything’s big in Texas!

Road Food

First, if there’s one dish that Texans are proud of, it’s their particular brand of chili which is meaty and smoky and rarely contains beans (purists say that real chili never has beans or tomatoes). Sometimes the beef is cut into bite-size chunks and sometimes it’s finely ground, but it’s always flavored by chili peppers and other spices. There’s nothing like a hearty bowl-full.

The next top choice for road food is barbecue, and the best place to get it is in central Texas. Texas barbecue is all about beef (pork ribs sometimes) and smoke, unlike Southern barbecue which is always pork and a lot of the focus is on the sauce. In Texas, some places don’t offer barbecue sauce, not even on the side! That’s how proud Texans are of their famed pit-masters. Make sure to have a big ol’ plate of beef brisket – an ultimate Texas road food.

Tex-Mex is another great road food for your visit to this state. With a name like that, you know what it is: Mexican food influenced by the early settlers of the area. The biggest changes were the addition of cheese and beef to recipes that were once simpler bean and corn dishes.

The best place to get it: When it comes to Texas chili, it's generally a home-cookin' experience, but if you're traveling through this state when a chili cook-off is being held, definitely attend one and try some of the best Texas chili out there.

For the best Tex-Mex you’ll find anywhere, look no farther than Little Diner in Canutillo. Their red chili is the real thing and people can’t stop talking about their gorditas and flautas. For a place with "little" in its name, the flavors are HUGE!

There’s a big battle on for the best Texas barbecue, but if you stick to the two rules of true Texas barbecue: cooked in a pit with wood/smoke and no sauce added whatsoever, then the hands-down winner according the popular vote is Louie Mueller’s in Taylor. The incredibly juicy and flavorful beef brisket here is so good, it’s awe-inspiring. Locals and road trippers everywhere would drive to Texas just to get some of this unbelievable brisket. What are you waiting for?

Utah Road Food
Honey is one of the chief commodities of Utah, "the beehive state", and if you pair some honey-butter with a food truly unique to Utah, deep-fried scones, you have a deliciously perfect road food for your visit to this state.

This scone isn’t anything like the fluffy crusty puffs you get in England or at someone’s hoity-toity tea party. These buggers are practically the size of your plate, fried to a perfect golden hue, and topped with a big scoop of melting honey-butter. Feeling guilty about all that fat? Don’t! If you’re passing through Utah you’ll find that there are tons of gorgeous parks to hike through and burn off all of that butter!

The best place to get it: If all that buttery goodness has you thinking of home, Sill’s Café in Layton will serve up the closest thing to a home-cooked breakfast you’ll ever have outside of your own grandma’s kitchen. Sill’s specialty is their huge and delicious scones dripping with honey-butter. The atmosphere is like a friendly truck-stop and the portions are huge, so bring your appetite. It’s just off the highway, so there’s no reason you can’t make it a stop on your road trip through Utah.

Vermont Road Food
If there’s anything Vermont is well-known for, it’s maple syrup. Other nearby states produce it as well, but Vermont remains the king of this breakfast staple. Every shop in the state stocks bottles of the familiar amber liquid and there are tons of great pancake houses throughout the state where you can sample the freshest syrup around.

What you won’t find in Vermont (at least in any self-respecting Vermont restaurant) is that gooey glop consisting of maple-flavored corn syrup that sits on the shelves of most grocery stores. Real syrup is almost watery and pours quickly – no need to sing “Anticipation” waiting for it to reach your stack of pancakes. In fact, it’s easy to end up with too much on your plate.

The best place to get it: If you want the best possible Vermont road food experience ever, head straight to Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice in Mendon. Not only will you taste some of the best maple syrup you’ve ever had in your life, you’ll be able to watch them make maple syrup (in the early spring only, but they actually make it in the center of the restaurant and you can witness the whole process), purchase every maple product ever invented (maple candy, maple butter, etc.), and eat pancakes dotted with small chunks of maple candy that’s put right in the batter! This cozy little restaurant is the perfect detour on your road trip through or to Vermont.

Virginia Road Food
While you’re tooling through this state, grab some peanuts (if you’re not allergic) for a snack on the road. Peanuts are one of the state’s largest crops – try to get some local ones if possible for a true road food experience.

If there is any type of food you must have while on a road trip through Virginia, it’s some of the Virginia ham they’re so famous for. Salt-cured, spiced and smoked, this ham packs a powerful punch of flavor. Have a country ham dinner while you’re in Virginia with some peanut soup, and you’ll be enjoying a meal that’s all Virginia.

The best place to get it: Take a trip back to the 1950’s when you visit Southern Kitchen in New Market. The décor alone is a reason to visit this snapshot in time, but of course, you’ll be getting a perfect road food meal here.

Make sure to order their velvety-smooth peanut soup to start and then move on to a meal including country-ham to taste Virginia’s finest export. You can stop here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (it’s a diner), so it’s easy to fit a visit in on your road trip.

Return to Road Food Across the Nation

Return to Road Trip Planning Home