Driving to the Northwest has always been a special pleasure for me and my girl Shirl. I know people who have lived all of their lives in flat places like Florida and Nebraska and never saw the likes of Mt. Hood, Shasta, Sisters, Ranier or St. Helens. In the Northwest, you drive to work surrounded by things that overwhelm you with beauty and majesty. I would hate to get used to it. That is probably the reason we leave and come back.
One of the reasons to visit Oregon, besides the scenery, is Jake's truckstop and diner on South Highway 97 in Bend. Restaurant manager Lyle Hicks is the guy who removed the words "portion control" from his personal dictionary and his menu, and printed this challenge: "You've eaten in places where they say 'all you can eat.' Well, here at Jake's we serve you more than you can eat."
With that in mind, he introduced me to their latest creation: "The Biggest, Baddest, Beefiest Burger in Bend!" It consists of a pound of hamburger, on a large bun, with slaw, three large slices of tomato, and one item from a variety of toppings, including chili, a fried egg, cheese or bacon.
If that's not enough, the French fries that come with the burger fill a second dinner platter! And if you have room for dessert, you should know the pies are cut in quarters, not sixths.
Big chains, local restaurants and truckstop competitors all come to Jake's to see what makes it so popular. Their big secret, besides giving you more than you can eat and completely paving the parking lot, are the people who work there. They are trucker-friendly, from top management on down. It's a place where the owners work side by side with the hired help. It's a place where people have names instead of digital locations on the screen.
At Jake's there isn't anything especially fancy, because from Day 1, it never was intended to be fancy. But it is a clean and friendly place where you can expect to find folks who enjoy your company.
Can you imagine a truckstop winning the Best Breakfast in Bend award? What is this world coming to?You can read Pete Rigney's column, "The Silver Fox," each month in RoadStar magazine. You'll also find his reports in Truckstop/Travel Plaza magazine.