Chef Ray Gage stands behind his restaurant’s white-tiled counter, clutching his CB radio microphone like some barbecue chefs might clutch their tongs. The radio is just as crucial to his roadside barbecue business as the slabs of meat roasting in the smoker out back. That’s because Ray advertises to passing truckers via CB channel 16, jotting down orders and delivering them to surrounding truck stops or demolition derbies.
Rays knows his meals must be hearty enough to fuel the bellies of truckers barreling down I-55. To that end, he smokes thick slabs of beef and pork on beds of hickory in the small shack behind his restaurant, and slathers them in sweet, tangy sauce. He then serves hunks of meat with dollops of traditional southern sides, such as baked beans and potato salad.
Back Yard Burgers serves up North American Black Angus burgers hash-marked to order on genuine flame-licked grills. Third-pound patties dress for dinner with lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, and a condimental trio of ketchup, mustard, and mayo ($3.59). Or gussy up for patty prom with premium add-ons such as coleslaw, chili, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and more ($0.35–$0.60 per topping). The grill masters also flip the first white meat, prepping Hawaiian chicken sandwiches with grilled pineapple, mustard, mayo, and lettuce ($4.09). Away from the flames, feel free to enjoy a loaded baked potato ($2.79) and a wide range of pairable plates such as chili cheese fries ($2.59 for regular size), garden salads ($2.19), and sweetly baked fruit cobblers ($1.99).
At his eponymous restaurant, Balewa Bayete transforms into practice the theory he has accrued over 30 years as a raw vegan nutrition consultant. His menu of radically unprocessed cuisine reflects the range of his multidecade vegan practice, with such delectable options as the New Live Burger, whose sprout-based patty sits between an ezekiel bun slathered with zesty walnut spread. Soups include the Luv Sprout, which mixes wheatberries into a piping-hot medley of in-season greens. Drinks such as the Jamaican Brew—made with pineapple juice, ginger, cayenne, and peppermint—come served warm or cold to combat inclement weather or throw off stalkers' infrared scans.
Though the name Weaver's Slice Of Heaven Bakery is surely a play on the traditional serving size of cake or pie, it could also refer to the heavenly smells emanating from the kitchen. Everything on their menu is baked on-site throughout the day, meaning that any given time customers might detect whiffs of caramel pecan rolls or bread pudding. There's a rotating selection of pies, including granny's apple and oreo cream, as well as cookies in flavors such as macadamia nut. Those looking for special occasion desserts can commission cakes and pastries, while regular visitors can take advantage of everyday specials such as buy-five-get-one-free cupcakes.
Aboard a food truck, Crumpy's On Wheels prepares flavorful chicken wings tossed with such add-ons as lemon pepper, fiery Suicide sauce, and seasonings. Wings aren't their only specialty, though; the food truck's cooks also grill juicy hamburgers, fry fish fillets, and sizzle sausages. Sides such as fried green tomatoes and onion rings round out meals.
At Little Italy Pizza, chefs whip up mouthwatering plates of Italian-American cuisine, from toasty calzones and bubbling, cheesy pizzas to baked lasagna and savory garlic knots. The types of the freshly baked pizzas includes a range of traditional New York-style pies as well as hearty stuffed slices lined with sausage, veggies, and olives.