Book Review: Road Food by Jane & Michael Stern

"An Eater's Guide to more than 1,000 of the 
Best Local Hot Spots & Hidden Gems Across America.  
Now in its 10th Edition." (cover)

Title: Road Food
Edition: 10th 
Author: Jane & Michael Stern
Publisher:  Clarkson Potter
Release Date:  March 7, 2017
Genre: Food Guide

First published in 1977, the original Roadfood became an instant classic. James Beard said, “This is a book that you should carry with you, no matter where you are going in these United States. It’s a treasure house of information.”

The 40th anniversary edition of Roadfood includes 1,000 of America’s best local eateries along highways and back roads, with nearly 200 new listings, as well as a brand new design.

Filled with enticing alternatives for chain-weary-travelers, Roadfood provides descriptions of and directions to (complete with regional maps) the best lobster shacks on the East Coast; the ultimate barbecue joints down South; the most indulgent steak houses in the Midwest; and dozens of top-notch diners, hotdog stands, ice-cream parlors, and uniquely regional finds in between. Each entry delves into the folkways of a restaurant’s locale as well as the dining experience itself, and each is written in the Sterns’ entertaining and colorful style. A cornucopia for road warriors and armchair epicures alike, Roadfood is a road map to some of the tastiest treasures in the United States.

I'm kind of excited for Road Food by Jane & Michael Stern. I've heard from friends years ago about this, but never really had the chance to look it up. And since I'm not very good with directions, it's hard to tell where I am when I'm on the road. Looking it up on their website wouldn't be ideal. I'll usually just hop off to a fast food joint or a Cracker Barrel. When Road Food hit my hands, I was so excited, I looked through the book in one sitting. It was actually not a book to read sitting down when you have not trips in mind! 

With that said, let me explain. The book is broken down by geographical areas, then by state. For example, New England encompasses Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Say the West Coast, then it's California, Oregon and Washington state. And within each state, the restaurants are listed in alphabetical order. You may think if you break it down by states from the get go, it would be easier, but this is perfect for road trips! When you're in your vehicle travelling down a stretch of highway, you may cross state borders. By categorizing this way, it's easier for the passenger to check out which section you should focus on. Still unsure? Well, you'll need to head to the first page of each section. It comes with a handy dandy map of each of the state, its major interstates, and where each restaurant is. It is so easy to just look at the map and point out which interstate we are on and find the closest mentioned restaurant. Once you have the name, the alphabetical way of listing the restaurants of each state makes total sense. 

Under each restaurant, you'll get the location, their contact number,  the meals they are open for, and price range in terms of dollar signs. At the beginning, you will see the price range for each dollar sign. And then we'll have the authors input on each restaurant, some with history and some with tips. 

In all, I think this is an awesome book for all road trip lovers. It's tailored to travelers on the road with its layout and recommendations.  So here's a quick cheat list to how to use this book:
  1. Look up which geographical location you are traveling to/on in the contents.
  2. Go to the first page of that section to find the map.
  3. Find the closest route/highway to where you're traveling on.
  4. Look up the restaurants that interests you based on location from the maps.
Let me end with, I'm quite happy that I've tried a good number of restaurants noted from travel or being somewhat locals, and the authors are on the mark. The choices are definitely worth exploring. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Jane and Michael Stern are the authors of more than twenty books about America. Their "Roadfood" column for Gourmet has won three James Beard Awards. Their Roadfood segments appear regularly on the Television Food Network, and their Web site,, was selected 2001 site of the year by Yahoo. Also regular contributors to NPR’s "The Splendid Table," the Sterns live in West Redding, Connecticut.





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