Juicy burgers, creamy chocolate shakes, crispy french fries. What are your memories of stopping at diners during family road trips? What many people don’t know is that roadside diners originally sprouted up on Route 66.
In the glory days of Route 66, hundreds of these “town kitchens” opened to cater to travelers, as well as the local community. Some of the most well-preserved locations are still open today along a stretch of Historic Route 66 in Illinois.
For history buffs and road-trippers alike, there’s no better place to experience one of these diners than the Palms Grill Café in Atlanta. The Palms opened in 1934 to serve travelers with blue-plate specials, home baked pies and other classic Midwest diner grub. In addition to its restaurant role, the Palms also functioned as the town’s Greyhound bus station and served as a departure point for young men heading off to war. Ownership has maintained the café’s Midwestern charm, with checkered floors and steel countertop stools, among other mid-century collectibles. The café still serves classic American dishes and travelers must make sure to save room for the Palms’ award-winning pies.
The café is across the street from the infamous Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue, a 19-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyon holding a giant hot dog that is one of the mythic Muffler Man Statues that line the Mother Road. While in Atlanta, visitors should check out the Route 66 Park & Tourism Center, Atlanta Public Library and the Smiling Water Tower for a photo op.
The Palms in Atlanta is located just off Historic Route 66, near Bloomington. Stop in to experience the food and friendliness of a classic Route 66 diner. For more information about things to see and do along Route 66, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.
-Illinois Office of Tourism