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Magazine: Rod’s Steak House one of Arizona’s best March 29, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Magazines, Restaurants.
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I’d heard a couple of weeks ago that Arizona Highways magazine in its April issue had chosen Rod’s Steak House, a stalwart establishment in Williams, Ariz., since 1946, one of the 25 best restaurants in the state.

The magazine, which I recently received in the mail, did more than just give Rod’s a listing. Check out the two-page spread that you can see above, including the luscious vittles.

Here’s what the magazine said about Rod’s:

The iconic neon sign and steer-shaped menu have been integral parts of the Rod’s experience since Rodney and Helen Graves opened this Historic Route 66 fixture back in 1946. Nearly 40 years later, Graves sold the place to longtime employee Lawrence Sanchez, who’d been everything from busboy and dishwasher to head chef and manager in his 25-year tenure there. When Sanchez and his wife, Stella, took over they had the good sense to stick  with a winning formula, offering the same dandy steaks, prime rib, beef liver and fried chicken that have kept locals and Grand Canyon tourists well-fed for more than 50 years.

The article also gained the notice of the Williams-Grand Canyon News, which talked to the magazine’s food critic, Nikki Buchanan:

“I did pick this restaurant and it is because, first of all, I remember going there years ago when my son was little when we were making a trip to Williams, so that was on my radar, and then we did a bunch of investigations on the internet to see if it was still good and if it was viable, that sort of thing,” she said. […]

“We had a meeting where we were going over the final list and make some decisions and when I said Rod’s, our photographer jumped out of his seat and said ‘Oh my god, I love that place, it was such a big deal to me as a kid, I loved the menu cut out and the big neon sign.’ It hit for everyone. It had that really old Arizona feel to it, and we love that,” she said.

Rod’s even survived a strange accident in January when a carriage horse, spooked by an attacking dog, crashed into the restaurant. Fortunately, Rod’s was closed for renovations at the time, and no one was hurt. The horse suffered lacerations.

Two more listed restaurants were in Flagstaff, although both aren’t on the Mother Road. One is Criollo Latin Kitchen, and the other, Fratelli Pizza.

Boots Motel back up for sale March 28, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels.

The historic Boots Motel in Carthage, Mo., which nearly saw the wrecking ball after a developer bought it, is for sale for $225,000, according to a new listing by a Joplin-based real-estate company.

Pro 100 Realtors is listing the property here.

Jim Hunter of Pro 100 said in an e-mail: “I hope it can go to a party interested in restoring it.”

After a local developer purchased the Boots in 2003 and ceased its operations as motel, it was widely reported (but not confirmed) that the building would be razed to make way for a Walgreens drugstore.

After Route 66 advocates and the Carthage newspaper decried this plan, the redevelopment was scuttled. The Boots Motel has been used as apartments ever since.

The Boots Motel was established at Garrison and Central streets in 1939. That was where Route 66 intersected with U.S. 71, and for many years was called the “Crossroads of America.” Reputedly, movie star Clark Gable stayed at the Boots Motel overnight during a cross-country trip.

The Road Wanderer’s site says the motel is a good example of Streamline Modern architecture. Also:

For its time it was indeed thoroughly modern with a radio in every room, tile showers, floor furnace with thermostat control, air conditioner and garage.

Photographs of the Boots Motel can be seen here.

Tucumcari Tonite March 28, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Motels, Restaurants, Signs.
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A slide show of the Route 66 town in eastern New Mexico.

Route 66 online magazine coming next month March 27, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Publications, Web sites.

A Route 66 online magazine — supported by advertising, with content generated by Route 66 fans — will be launched in late April.

The magazine, called 66 The Mother Road, is the brainchild of John and Judy Springs, who are based in Palm Desert, Calif. According to the magazine’s media kit, it will be published every two months. It will consist of 24 to 32 pages each issue.

Springs said he wants to have the inaugural issue launched by April 24, before the Arizona Historic Route 66 Fun Run in early May.

John Springs is listed as advertising manager, and Judy is publisher. It has enlisted Bob “Crocodile” Lile, a former ad rep for the dormant Route 66 Pulse newspaper, as sales rep. Staff includes a copy editor, graphics designer, events consultant, and web developer. Prominent Route 66 historians and authors Jim Ross, Jerry McClanahan and Michael Wallis have endorsed the effort.

Springs said it will be constructed online like a magazine, where readers can flip through the pages, with ads stacked on many of the pages. A “working” cover of the first issue can be seen at upper left.

Springs e-mailed a few thoughts about the venture:

We want this to be a ‘one stop shop’ for businesses to get the word out and for travelers to find the word. […] No one will EVER pay to view the magazine – ads and our personal dollars will fund the project.

We have absolutely NO experience — we just saw a need and followed a dream.  However, my experience in the tour business will help and Judy has been in advertising and marketing for about 30 years.  We also have an award winning writer and two senior advisers with a great deal of experience.  One, Frank Furino, was head writer for Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, and General Hospital – and he worked for Dick Clark Productions and he remains Dick’s best friend! The other adviser wishes to remain nameless, but he comes from one of the most famous Hollywood families of all time. You would immediately recognize his name.  They are all personal friends, and are helping us at no charge!!! […]

Our biggest challenge will be getting our website rated high enough on world wide search engines – no small feat, but we have employed an experienced web designer to handle that chore.  […]  The advertising revenue will make or break us.  If we stay true to our Mission Statement, which is simply “If it’s good for The Road – DO IT’, we’ll be OK.

This is a labor of love.  We’d love to make money at it, we absolutely would love to turn a profit, but our goal going into this venture was to bring much needed attention to SMALL businesses on Route 66.  We have no other agenda other than getting the word out that life, and commerce, on 66 truly does begin at the off ramp (stolen from Michael Wallis). Judy lives by a personal motto of “pay it forward.” We fell in love with Route 66, and wanted to find a way to help. When the online idea came to us, we felt it was a fabulous way to “pay it forward”.

At least 66 The Mother Road doesn’t have to worry about the enormous weight of printing and distribution costs. Those two factors — plus a weak economy and a downturn in the newspaper industry — have essentially scuttled the Route 66 Pulse twice. Going web-only removes a ton of expenses.

Whether this magazine becomes successful enough to be self-sustaining is an open question. Competition for Route 66 content online remains intense. With many Route 66 businesses able to establish their own presence online cheaply, it may be a difficult task to persuade them to part with dollars for a fledgling site.

Still, it seems like a worthy venture, and I’ll be keenly interested to see how this turns out.

More tribulations for Timothy March 27, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Religion.
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I’m sure a few folks out there can relate to Timothy’s dilemma in this clip:

This is the latest edition of “Route 66: A Road Trip through the Bible.” This chapter deals with the second book of Timothy.

Mural museum stays busy March 26, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Museums, Signs.
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The Pontiac Daily Leader has quite a story about the International Walldog Mural & Sign Art Museum, which opened last May in downtown Pontiac, Ill.

In summary:

  • More than 2,000 people, including those from 38 countries, have visited the museum since it opened.
  • The museum is launching “1,000 Miles of Murals — Pontiac to Tucumcari,” a mural experience tour along the Mother Road. It documents murals found between the two Route 66 towns. An online version can be found here.
  • A Chinese artist is displaying artwork under a UV black light.
  • The museum possesses about 130 original sketches from the Beverly Sign Co. in the Chicago area.
  • The museum has amassed a collection of sign-painting trade magazines.
  • It is organizing the painting of a mural in Pontiac in tribute to late Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire on May 7-8.

Museum of Neon Art moving to Glendale March 26, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Museums, Signs.
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The Museum of Neon Art, currently in a space in downtown Los Angeles, is moving to a more permanent spot on Brand Boulevard in nearby Glendale, Calif., reported the Los Angeles Daily News.

According to the article, MONA has signed a 15-year lease for a building across the street from the Americana shopping and entertainment complex in Glendale, in about the 100 block of South Brand.

For Kim Koga, MONA’s executive director since 1999, the new space with its 10,000 square feet, glass lightbox design and neon fabricating facility, will be a perfect home for a collection that includes an original Brown Derby sign and dragons from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. […]

She doesn’t find the prospect of anchoring an ambitious new arts district the least bit intimidating, either.

“Daunting? Oh no,” Koga said. “I would use the word exciting.”

The museum is responsible for the current outdoor display of classic neon pieces on Santa Monica Boulevard (aka Route 66) in West Hollywood. The museum also keeps a few old Route 66 neon signs in its collection.

In case you’re wondering, the new location is about 2.5 miles west of the nearest Route 66 alignment, on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, Calif.

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