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Topic: Don't dine here, if you can help it< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 10 2012, 6:15 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you've ever taken a long backpacking trip, you've probably dreamt about food--especially the meal you are going to eat once you get back to civilization.  Pizza, hamburgers, steak, cold beer, salad....they all seem to find a place on the menu, once you get started on the idea.  Shoot, we know people who have spent most of the last night of a trip talking around the campfire about what they are going to eat the following day at the nearest restaurant.  

And speaking of restaurants, there are a few that have quite a reputation among backpackers as well. The gas station at Lee Vining, the Old Priest Grade Inn, Pizza in Yosemite Valley all have their advocates.  We've come to really like Patty's Gourmet Cafe between Sonora and Columbia.  

But there is one restaurant that stands out in a completely different way.  We have eaten there at least five times in the last ten years, and every single time it has been worse than disappointing.  Sometimes the service has been absolutely rude and incompetent--waiting forever for a table in an empty dining room.  The last time we had perfectly nice service, and absolutely dreadful food--cold food without even a hint of sauce or seasoning.  And the amazing thing is that this restaurant is pretty much the only show in town in a National Park.  You'd think they'd want to do better.

It's the restaurant at Grant Grove Village in SEKI.  We can only wonder what amazing arrangements have been made to make sure that it has been so bad for so long.  

Anyone else have a least favorite place to eat?  Let us know, so we can avoid it!


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 10 2012, 7:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have eaten at rhat restaurant and it is most definitely the worst park food but we were very hungry and ate it all.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 10 2012, 7:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've eaten there a bunch of times, having lived in Grant Grove. I don't think it was bad.  But I haven't eaten there in about 6 years so maybe it's changed...

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 10 2012, 7:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Can't think of any awful places right off.  We've definitely dined at some that were forgettable, even disappointing, but none that were truly bad.  Of course, if we go into a diner in a small town (much more likely than us going to a restaurant in a park) we keep expectations low.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 12:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Mobil in Lee Vining....
It used to be among my favorites.  The last couple of times I at a there it definitely wasn't as good as I'd remembered.  I recently ran in to the (former) head chef who was responsible for putting the place on the map years ago.  

Apparently he and the gas station owner didn't see eye to eye on things and the chef, (Matt Toomey) went his own way.  He opened his own joint, Toomey's in Mammoth Lakes.  I just ate there yesterday - GREAT FOOD! and Matt's a great guy.  Give it a shot when you're in the area.  

Note:  The website says catering and take-out, but there are also a few tables if you want to eat there.  They do have beer and wine as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 11:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We ate the Mobil again this year.  Lots of people. Not great food, but certainly good food.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 12:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(balzaccom @ Oct. 10 2012, 3:15 pm)
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Anyone else have a least favorite place to eat? †Let us know, so we can avoid it!

I can think of about a dozen places...and they're all named Pizza Factory.  Terrible pizza (an east-coaster might insist on scare quotes around "pizza")--doughy crust, dull toppings; worth eating if you've been starved for a week and it's the only thing to eat within a hundred miles but otherwise give it a pass.  

And yet, for some reason, they seem to have a near-monopoly on pizza in the greater Sierra Nevada.  Virtually every approach road has at least one of them along the way.  I suspect they're backed by the mob--it's the only way to explain it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 12:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(balzaccom @ Oct. 11 2012, 8:05 am)
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We ate the Mobil again this year. †Lots of people. Not great food, but certainly good food.

It's a fun place with a great location.
Unfortunately the food just isn't as good as it once was IMO.  Once I found out the chef had left, (and why he left) it made more sense.  It's still worth a visit though.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 3:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oddly the Lee Vining Mobil is one I've never tried. Gotten fuel there at times but never the restaurant.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 4:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sportsman's Inn in Bridgeport.  I've eaten there twice and got violently ill both times.  

Ugh, never again.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 6:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Moonridge @ Oct. 11 2012, 1:42 pm)
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Sportsman's Inn in Bridgeport. †I've eaten there twice and got violently ill both times. †

Ugh, never again.

Never gotten sick there, but thought it was pretty mediocre.

We were just up in Bridgeport over the weekend, and had both dinners at Rhino's and a breakfast at Hays Street Cafe.  Thumbs up on both.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 7:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have never thought Grant's Grove was awful, but agree it is nothing to write home about.

I have been eating at the Lone Pine Pizza Factory since it opened. Dave and I even try to get a room across the street so we can hobble over there after a hike. (And crawl back after Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap.) I have always thought it was pretty good.

My favorite breakfast for that side of the Sierra is the Country Kitchen in Big Pine, but as I drove past last week saw that it is for sale. (And the Sierra Cafe in Lone Pine is closed! I used to go sit there waiting for the ranger station to open when I was 20.)

Bacon cheeseburger at the Portal Store is hard to beat after a week out, but their fries are always horrible.

The only consistently poor food I have seen hiking? VVR without a doubt. But we keep (over)paying for it as there is nothing else.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 7:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Mt. Whitney Cafe in Lone Pine. On their best day, the food and service is as mediocre as it gets. Once, a hiking companion and I suffered greatly after eating breakfast there preceding a Mt. Langley hike. They serve one of my most favorite microbrews, but the poor food and service has tainted too many fine trips to bring me back again.

Raymonds Deli in Bishop has tasty, if overpriced, sandwiches and a semi-decent selection of good microbrews, but the coarse, "offbeat" attitude off the staff and rude service is not for me.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TehipiteTom @ Oct. 11 2012, 3:34 pm)
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We were just up in Bridgeport over the weekend, and had both dinners at Rhino's and a breakfast at Hays Street Cafe. †Thumbs up on both.

I've always liked the Hays Street Cafe.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 11 2012, 8:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tom's Place (between Mammoth and Bishop) is consistently mediocre, yet I keep going there - HAH!

Just something about the place appeals to me I guess.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 11:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I could never understand why the places that need the tourist money to survive serve really bad food.   Even the bakery Schatís in Bishop isnít good IMO.  I usually head over to Great Basin Bakery on Lagoon St.  for baked goods.
 
But I can understand I suppose, that Schatís does employ a lot of people, and the revenue is needed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 12:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like Schat's - their turkey sandwiches are fabulous - and don't get me started on their chileno cheese bread...

I also like the Mt. Whitney Restaurant in Lone Pine

Similarly I think Pizza Factory is pretty good, and we've been eating at Tom's Place since I was a kid and never had any complaints.  But don't stay at the lodge at Tom's Place - their rooms are teeny, the walls thin, and you can't plug anything in or you'll blow the electricity in the entire place, lol


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 12:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Moonridge @ Oct. 12 2012, 8:25 am)
QUOTE
I could never understand why the places that need the tourist money to survive serve really bad food. † Even the bakery Schatís in Bishop isnít good IMO. †I usually head over to Great Basin Bakery on Lagoon St. †for baked goods.

But I can understand I suppose, that Schatís does employ a lot of people, and the revenue is needed.

The ones that don't have to rely on repeat (i.e. locals) business are the ones who can be mediocre for a very long time and simply coast on the widespread reputation or a catchy gimmick (what does a windmill have to do with soup?). A traveler get's disappointed and moves on, they weren't ever coming back anyway so who cares? In this day of Yelp, Urbanspoon etc. that's somewhat changed but it's still mostly true.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 9:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Man, there are a lot of places to remember!

And with my luck, we'll be driving through one of these towns and i will recognize one of these names....and think it's because it's good!  

Note to self: Gotta write this stuff down...


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 12 2012, 10:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Moonridge @ Oct. 12 2012, 8:25 am)
QUOTE
I could never understand why the places that need the tourist money to survive serve really bad food. † Even the bakery Schatís in Bishop isnít good IMO. †I usually head over to Great Basin Bakery on Lagoon St. †for baked goods.

But I can understand I suppose, that Schatís does employ a lot of people, and the revenue is needed.

+1 on the Great Basin Bakery
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 13 2012, 2:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The burger joint at Cedar Lodge in El Portal is pretty awful. I don't know how one can make a burger taste so bad. Meat, grill, pepper... how does that get screwed up?
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 15 2012, 5:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Whoa Nelly Deli at the Mobile station in LeeVining seemed to have a good reputation on the web so I wanted to try it, but for some reason it took me a couple years to find it (I assumed it was on 395 and not 120). When I finally found it and ate there, I thought it was way overrated.

Curry Village pizza is great. Ice cream too. Even a tostada from the mexican food place at Curry Village is great after backpacking. Just the fresh shredded lettuce alone on the tostada is luxury.

Burgers at the Saddlebag Lake lodge are good.

The worst resturaunt experience of my life had nothing to do with backpacking, but was at the Chicken Kitchen in Pollard, off 99 near Lodi. The place was demolished a couple years ago and deservedly so. I know no one is going to reply that they ate there once and it was okay. Imagine a pizza made with Valveda.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 15 2012, 7:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Upper Crust Pizza in Bishop (near Vons)
Good pizzas, salads and beers.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 16 2012, 11:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tarol @ Oct. 12 2012, 9:12 am)
QUOTE
I like Schat's - their turkey sandwiches are fabulous - and don't get me started on their chileno cheese bread...

I also like the Mt. Whitney Restaurant in Lone Pine

Similarly I think Pizza Factory is pretty good, and we've been eating at Tom's Place since I was a kid and never had any complaints. †But don't stay at the lodge at Tom's Place - their rooms are teeny, the walls thin, and you can't plug anything in or you'll blow the electricity in the entire place, lol

Yeah, tastes are definitely going to differ. I'm especially picky about pizza, partly because my girlfriend makes the best crust around.  If pizza isn't exceptionally good, I'm not interested.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 16 2012, 12:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, tastes will definitely differ.  Some folks swear by Schat's and I have really tried to like it, trying different things, but to no avail.  The taste just isn't there for me.  

I agree with hbfa on Upper Crust Pizza in Bishop - I liked it.

In my mind I fantasize myself leasing the old, vacant Frosty Chalet building in Lone Pine and turning into a great place!
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 16 2012, 12:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Moonridge @ Oct. 16 2012, 9:11 am)
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In my mind I fantasize myself leasing the old, vacant Frosty Chalet building in Lone Pine and turning into a great place!

Hah!
That's funny, I've imagined the same thing!

Have you ever been to then Mono Cone in Lee Vining? †
It's a similar place that cranks the business on warm Summer days.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 24 2012, 11:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I ate at Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining this summer, well after Toomey had left, and my daughter and I thought it was great. I had never eaten there before so can't compare it to when Toomey was there, but just in general and certainly considering you're in the middle of nowhere I would recommend it. As noted it is up on 120, so it has a bit of elevation which can make for beautiful views over Mono Lake while you eat.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 02 2012, 1:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wahtoke Grill and Bar in Shaver Lake is decent.  Great Crunch Burger if you like meat. Pretty diverse menu that goes down very well after a week (or day) on the trail
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