We always try to make an adventure of our travels and this month, as we have headed down to Florida to do a photo shoot for our 7 Day Adventure Guide books, we decided to focus on road food and do our best to sample some of the iconic restaurants and regional food in the states we traveled through.
We also did some great camping and hiking and saw some gorgeous scenery. Come on along in this video! And keep reading below for links and more info on the foods and places we visited.
Here's links to the places and food we sampled:
Tony Paco's Cafe, Toledo – This local eatery began during the Great Depression when Tony Paco, the son of Hungarian immigrants, borrowed $100 from relatives to start a restaurant. Tony’s signature sandwich, sausage with sauce on rye, was created when he decided to add a spicy chili sauce to enhance the flavor of the sandwich. He used a Hungarian sausage called Kolbasz but because it was so large, decided to cut it in half. Not only did it resemble the size of an American hot dog, he could sell it for 5 cents, a deal during those tough times. Because Tony was Hungarian-American and lived in a Hungarian neighborhood, Tony’s creation was called the Hungarian hot dog. Since then, it's become a Toledo legend, famous worldwide, as evidenced by the framed hot dog buns decorating the wall and signed by celebrities. We visited the original restaurant at 1902 Front Street. Click Here for a Map.
Harland Sanders Cafe, Corbin, KY – This is the original place where in 1940 Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, began experimenting with his secret herbs and spices and frying chicken in pressure cookers, which reduced the preparation time from 30 minutes to 9 minutes. There's also a small museum here and yes, you can order the finer lickin' good food the Colonel made so famous. The address is 688 Hwy 25, Corbin, KY. Click Here for a Map.
Krystal Burgers – In Tennessee, THE favorite local chain restaurant is Krystals. Though the company recently declared bankruptcy, there still are plenty of the restaurants open and selling bags of their slider-sized Krystals with the square buns and steamed in onions. The chain is headquartered now in Georgia but began in Tennessee. Click Here for Info on the History.
Royal Crown Cola and Moon Pies – This distinctly southern pairing was the original Working Man's Lunch for the coal miners of Appalachia. Royal Crown Cola, also known as RC Cola, started in 1905 by a Columbus, GA pharmacist who thought Coca Cola syrup was much too expensive. So he made his own recipe. Once, RC Cola was the nation's third most popular soft drink, right after Coke and Pepsi. Now, it's hard to find anywhere except Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia and a few other southern states. Moon Pies began in 1902 when a salesman for the Chattanooga Baking Co. visited a small store frequented by miners. He asked a miner what kind of snack he would like to eat. He said he wanted a quick snack to grab while holding up his hands to show he wanted the snack to be “as big as the moon.” Both RC Cola and Moon Pies originally sold for a nickel each and were packed in the lunch buckets of many miners. We bought ours at a Walmart just off I-75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga. Royal Crown Cola and Moon Pies, sometimes called the Champagne and Caviar of the southern working man, have been a popular pairing for well over a century and have made their way into several country songs. I so wanted to use one of those songs as background for my video but, because of copyright, couldn't. But I can link to one…. Click Here to hear one of the best known.
Merritt Pecan Co., Weston, GA – The three P's of Georgia food are pecans, peanuts and peaches. It wasn't peach season when we visited but for the other two, it's hard to beat the Merritt Pecan Co. store in southwest Georgia along highway 520. Merritt has been in business since 1980, starting out as a small buying point for local pecans. Over the years, they have expanded the business into a general store decorated with interesting memorabilia that offers a step back in time into rural Georgia life. Their retail location is also a Chevron Foodmart and is the perfect stop for travelers, offering a wide variety of products from every possible variety or kind of pecans imaginable to fresh baked pecan pies and that very special southern delicacy – boiled Peanuts.
The store address is 4051 GA-520, Weston, GA. Click here for a map.
Red Top Mountain State Park, Acworth, GA – Only an hour north of Atlanta right off I-75, this is a favorite overnight spot for us whenever we're headed south. Surrounded by 12,000 acre Lake Altoona, this 1,700 plus acre state park has 15 miles of hiking trails and almost 100 camping sites beneath towering pines, most with water and electricity. The address is 50 Lodge Road SE Acworth, GA. Click here for a link to the park website and reservation information.
Albany RV Resort – We love this park just outside of Albany, GA. It is neat, very clean, has full hookups, a large, fenced-in dog park and is right next door to an RV dealer and service shop. The address is 1902 Liberty Expy. SE, Albany, GA. The website is https://www.albanyrvresort.com.
We had a lot of fun on this trip, seeing the sights, sampling the food and learning the history. You will, too!
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