Ten great places to eat in San Juan County
by Mary Cokenour
Here you are, San Juan County: one of the most beautiful places in the United States and you are hungry! Where to eat can be quite a mystery, so whether traveling from Monticello to Monument Valley or vice versa, here is a solution to that puzzle.
K&A Chuckwagon: Open for dinner only from June to September. Seating is outdoors. New York Strip Steak is tender and juicy. Boneless, skinless chicken breast melts in the mouth. Baby back ribs are smothered in luscious barbecue sauce. Includes dutch oven potatoes, ranch beans, a variety of salads and dessert. All homemade and cooked up fresh!
Line Camp Steakhouse: Open for dinner only, year round. This is the place for steak and salmon. Ribeye and filet mignon are so tender, they can be cut with a fork. The salmon is smothered in a delectable maple and orange sauce. The décor and atmosphere at the Line Camp is truly Southwestern, with cowboy memorabilia adorning the walls. The RV Park, Campground, or a comfortable bed at the Runnin’ Board Inn are available for a stay in the county.
Peace Tree Juice Café: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from June to October. Open only for breakfast and lunch from November to May. Sandwiches, wraps, juices, coffee drinks, smoothies, daily lunch and Mexican food specials are geared to those looking for high quality, health conscious cuisine. Need a boxed lunch for that hiking trip? No problem at the Peace Tree. Beer and wine is available for lunch or dinner also.
PJs Restaurant: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Small menu and everything made to order. “Fast food” are dirty words here. Burgers are huge and fire grilled; crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. French fries are piled high with that Utah specialty…fry sauce! Buffalo Wing lovers seek nirvana no longer, PJs does them up right…deep fried, sauced and one order is an awesome nine crispy, juicy wings. Another great spot to obtain a boxed lunch for an exciting day out.
R & F Restaurant: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; R&F is an awesome breakfast place to start the day. How about stuffed french toast with either caramel and bananas, or orange marmalade and cream cheese? A smothered breakfast burrito is so large, you will have to be wheeled out. Looking for Mexican food cuisine to round out your Southwestern travels? Then better be in Monticello on Wednesday night for homemade and authentic. We are talking enchiladas, smothered burritos, and tacos. Red or green chile sauce is offered, but get the “half-half” to make your taste buds dance. Live music, so do not be shy and sing along.
The Patio Drive-in is rated in the top three in the entire state of Utah! They do not serve fast food, they serve great food. Huge burgers, cheese steaks, three types of fries, onion rings and more. Oh, and the shakes, a meal is not complete without one of the Patio’s freshly made shakes. Eat in or take out, you will never want what fast food joints call food again.
Twin Rocks Café: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner all year round. They offer a large variety to please every and anyone (including a child menu). Try out the Navajo pizza or taco, made on authentic fry bread. Twin Rocks also has a salad bar and who does not enjoy all those veggie options to choose from? Looking for souvenirs? The Trading Post and Gift Shop are attached to the restaurant, so this is an all-in-one stop for the hungry traveler. From the front porch, be awed by the sandstone formations of the Navajo Twins, Sunbonnet and Locomotive.
Bluff Fort and Visitors Center: Open year round, and you are wondering, “A visitor center offering food for sale?” Oh yes, they do, and prepare to have the little child in us all squealing with delight. One of the board of directors owns the Jacob Lake Inn (Kaibab National Forest in Arizona), which has the most amazing bakery. Using the recipes from the Inn, the Fort volunteers bake up daily, fresh cookies and brownies to die for! There is an ice cream machine and bottled root beer to beat the heat and quench the thirst. Stroll around the Fort and learn about the Hole in the Rock Pioneers’ adventure in this new land.
The Olde Bridge Grille (San Juan Inn): Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu features offerings from Mexican, Navajo and American cuisines, including a child menu. Enjoy a meal overlooking the San Juan River and surrounded by tall sandstone walls. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable about the area and can give tips on sites to explore. Dinner service does offer beer, wine and cocktails. Friday night is Nacho Night, Ole!
Goulding’s Stage Coach Dining Room: Open year round with a large menu (child menu also), including a salad bar, to please all visitors to Monument Valley. Navajo tacos, two fisted sandwiches and burgers. As a side: you cannot say you have lived the full Southwestern experience without tasting fry bread. The restaurant seating allows all to have a grand view of Monument Valley while enjoying soups, appetizers, stews, and sandwiches. Stroll through the museums and trading post afterwards, or rest up before going on one of the guided tours of Monument Valley.