Devil's Elbow, Missouri
I remember my parent's talking about Devil's Elbow when I was a kid. They had stories from their youth about the winding portion of Route 66 that lead to the tiny resort town. I pictured an evil and eerie place, but really the town got it's name because of a dangerous bend in the Big Piney River.
Today, only a couple of the original buildings remain. This small restaurant/bar still sits beside the road, not far from a bridge that crosses the Big Piney. The wood framed building looks much as it did in 1929, except the quaint windows are covered with bold, beer and "Bike Night" advertisements.
In Search of Devil's Elbow
The next day, we took the old scenic 66 out to Devil's Elbow.
Elbow Inn Biker Bar
We arrived at about 11:30 on a weekday, so things were pretty peaceful. I had seen pictures on the internet to know the place isn't always so peaceful. I was glad, since it was easier to imagine what my parents might have seen in their youth, without any motorcycles parked in front.
Munger - Moss Sandwich Shop
Back when my parents were babies, a Mr. and Mrs. Moss began selling barbecue in Devil's Elbow. Mrs. Moss married Mr. Munger after her husband died and they used both names for their sandwich shop in the early 1930's. I love this image with the sign in front, making you hungry and thirsty for Old Kentucky Barbecue and Orange Crush!
Picturing my Mom
When we stepped inside I took one look at the old counter with the stools and pictured my mom as a little girl. Maybe she never came in here at all, but I distinctly remember driving through Missouri and listening to my parents talk about Devil's Elbow. My mom said she remembered being very small and stopping with her parents, to experience her very first soda pop. "I remember how it stung and fizzed!" Maybe this was the actual place my mom sampled her first pop!
A New Addition
In the 1930's, this was a sandwich shop, not a bar. I'm also pretty sure the very fine tradition of hanging bras from the ceiling had not been introduced. This was quite a colorful assortment.
There were a few locals dining when we arrived. Kimmie welcomed us and invited us to sit anywhere. I commented on the balloons, "Looks like you're going to have a party." Kimmie chuckled and said the party had already happened. "Oh, we had a baby shower. Don't know why, since the baby was born 5 months ago. Always looking for an excuse to have a party!"
No Soda Pop
You'd think I might have felt uncomfortable dining under a ceiling of bras, with a few men smoking and drinking beer at the bar. (It's been a long time since I've been anywhere that allowed smoking) But the folks were all pretty welcoming. After I ordered my chef salad, I told Kimmie about my mom's story of drinking her first soda pop. She was so sorry she didn't have any bottled soda. She thought that would have been fun to have had an ice cold soda pop in honor of my mom.
The outside of the Ladies Room was curious enough to make my Memorable Bathrooms list. First of all, SOFTTAILS is a pretty weird name for the Ladies Room. Then just getting to the door was an adventure, with all the balloons. Once I got them batted out of the way, I had to tug on the door. Part of a bra was wedged in at the top!
As we got ready to depart, two friendly fellas dining nearby wished us safe travels. Then one stood and insisted we pose for a photo before leaving. "That's what all the bikers do." He said. I didn't notice till later the words "Legalize Freedom" above the white letters. Hmmm? I'm not sure I'd want to talk politics on a Saturday night here. But we had a great visit!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.