Mile after mile, gas station after gas station. Driving a long journey down the highway can get real monotonous after a while. The food options are less than inspiring, too. Most of us eat poorly along the way to our destination, hitting whatever we find at the exit of the highway. 

But if the journey is as important as the destination, maybe it pays to embrace road trips and take the slightly longer way there. When you set your route to go through small towns, you can discover old downtowns, mercantile stores, and some real gems of restaurants. To give you a flavor, here are a few of our favorite places to eat along US routes, formerly known as red routes. 

Butcher BBQ Stand — Wellston, OK

Turn off Route 66 just 20 minutes from Edmond, Oklahoma and you'll find this very special BBQ joint. They serve a wide variety of meat, with dishes like beef brisket burnt ends, rack of ribs, and pulled pork burger— all grilled to perfection. Sides include "pickles n onions", apple pie beans, and mac salad. They serve beer, too. 

The Butcher BBQ Stand operates on a first come, first served basis, and the line starts forming by 10am. Get there early to guarantee they won't sell out of your favorite, and be prepared for a short wait— this joint is very popular. The restaurant has a dining area inside, or you can bring your own lawn chairs to sit outside.

Emma + Ollie — Fredericksburg, TX

This fresh farm-to-table bakery and restaurant is located off Highway 290— only 30 minutes away from Austin, Texas. Their brunch-style kitchen offers old-fashioned comfort food. Highlights from past menus include fried oyster nachos, beignets and bacon cheddar scones. Emma + Ollie is a first come, first served place— plus the menu changes with what's fresh and in season. 

Place to-go orders for pick up at the bakery counter if you're in a hurry. Otherwise, take a break from the road and enjoy the light, airy restaurant area, or the outdoor seating.

Big Bad Breakfast at the Country Boy — Leiper's Fork, TN

The cosy Country Boy Restaurant is located off highway 46, in the picturesque one-stop sign town of Leiper's Fork, Tennessee. Yet, it's just 15 minutes from Franklin. This is a classic Southern-style restaurant, serving only the finest quality vittles. Classic dishes you'll find include hushpuppies, grits, fried pickles, hash browns, and, of course, fried green tomatoes. 

Visit Country Boy for a classic slice of Southern hospitality— a warm visit, helping hand with the menu (if you're from out of town), and a full stomach.

Tips and Tricks For Road Trips on Red Routes

Taking a memorable trip on red routes feeds the soul as well as the body. Build lasting memories of something more important than how long the journey took— and drive on the road less traveled. 

Had a delicious meal at a gem of a restaurant you've found along the way, but now you have leftovers? Eyeing up that apple pie on the menu but you know you couldn't eat another bite? Keep food cool and fresh by storing it in your 25 QT Bison hard cooler. Just stash in an ice pack too and you'll be good to hit the road again, with a meal for later.