The 1-25 south of Fort Collins soon starts becoming freeway hell, building to a crescendo as you approach Denver. Unfortunately, most side trips are just on smaller two-lane highways that lead to suburbia. If you happen to be on one of these passing through Greeley, it’s worth a lunch stop at Rumi’s House of Kabob, a friendly family place serving good Middle Eastern food. Make sure you order the red lentil soup, a flavourful puree with lots of veggies, garlic and jalapeno. My soup came as a combo with a fork-tender lamb curry. Other popular lunch items are kabobs and felafel or gyro (beef and lamb) sandwiches.
Rumi’s House of Kabob
1116 9 Street, Greeley, Colorado
Monday to Friday 11 am-2 pm and 5 pm-9 pm, Saturday 5 pm-9 pm. Closed Sunday
Don’t you think it’s time for a slice of true Americana? How about a big, fat slice? I take you south of Fort Collins on the I-25 to Johnson’s Corner, once named America’s best truck stop; it even has an adjacent chapel. Make your way past the gift shop, the truckers’ showers and a costumed Elvis greeter and sit yourself down at a horseshoe-shaped counter or one of many surrounding tables. Tuck into a massive cinnamon roll or a six-inch-high slice of cream pie and watch the scene around you. There were a couple of hundred people there the day I visited, which happened to coincide with the restaurant’s 60th anniversary—being celebrated with 60-cent burgers, cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy and two-egg breakfasts.
2482 SE Frontage Road (I-25 Exit 254), Johnstown, Colorado
Maybe twice in my life, I’ve been asked to wear a jacket in a snooty restaurant. At Cheese Importers in Longmont, the jackets are quilted and offered to keep customers warm when they enter the big refrigerated cheese room. You might well need one, since there are thousands of cheeses from around the world to choose from. Thankfully, the staff are very helpful in narrowing that search to, say, a nice Spanish Manchego or a handcrafted goat cheese from local producer Haystack. Relocated to a nice old brick building, Cheese Importers also offers deli supplies such as olives and pastas and now runs a small café featuring soups and sandwiches.
103 Main Street, Longmont, Colorado
Monday to Saturday 9 am-6 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm
Hey, fellow road trippers. If you’ve got a great independent, affordable eatery, coffee shop or pub in the U.S. or Canada that you’d like to share, send me a two-paragraph or less description (and maybe a photo) of why you enjoyed it so much and I’ll endeavor to put it in a future blog.