A Tale of Two Lists – What makes a good RoadWarrior Restuarant

Earlier this week my wife forwarded me a great list that Men’s Health had put together listing the “Coolest, Healthiest Restaurants in America”, a summary of the top 18 restaurants around the country that are not only dishing healthy eats but food worthy of top praise.   You can read their recommendations here

Suddenly – I have a new To-Do List!!

I am a sucker for lists like this.  Give me the top 20 or so ‘place experience here’ and I am all about trying to get them checked off as done.  This latest list reminded me of another that at one time I had the goal of working my way through and just how much things have changed over the last 6 years.  That old list?  The top 50 burgers in the State of Texas (you can find that one here and I really cannot recommend Dutch’s burger highly enough – it was phenomenal).

I used to be so bad about eating burgers that my boss stopped checking my expense reports:

“Andrew – why would I check your report?  Wait – let me guess.  Cheeseburger and a beer at Pappa’s Burgers in the airport for $18.68.   Shocking.”

It was one of those wake-up call moments in life.  I think I made it about ½ way through the burger list before getting serious about my health and focusing on what I put in my body when I am traveling.  It has become such a focal point that I made it Rule #5 of getting and staying RoadWarriorFit.

Finding the local burger joint is easy –the good, healthy and appealing alternative is usually not quite as ubiquitous.  This new list makes me ask the question – what makes a good RoadWarrior restaurant?

Local Flair:

One of the very few perks to traveling across the country every week is I do get to experience some great food.  With a little preparation and/or a trip to the concierge desk of the local full service hotel (you know you don’t have to stay there to ask a question, right?) you can find fantastic options to meet every taste preference.   Skip the familiar chains and head to a locally owned treasure to support the local economy.   Most of the time you can practically taste the love in the food in the local hot spots.  Oh, and don’t forget to ask the wait/bar staff of your hotel where they eat after getting off shift, I have found some of my favorite dining eating experiences that way.

The smell of smoke:

Grilled is always better.  Period.  (Says the guy who grills just about every day I am home).  Yes, there can be arguments made for specific dishes as to their health benefits vs. grilled but in general, grilling is a safe way to go with your meals.  So if you are standing at a crossroads and one way smells like smoke – head that way.

A bent towards whole foods:

We all know that the less processed the food, the more likely it is to be better for you.  We focus on buying the best for our families when we are at home, why would you change on the road?  Check the menu for the preparations and techniques (you know how I feel about fried foods on the road already).  Heck – take a walk through the restaurant real quick and just glance at people’s plates.  See lots of brown and white?  Keep looking.  Plates look like rainbows?  Time to have a seat.

So there you go.  That is what I look for when I am evaluating restaurants on the road.  Hope it helps and look forward to seeing you on the road.

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