In The Middle of Things

To the west of Amarillo lies the town of Adrian, Texas. Founded in the early 20th century as a stopping point along a railroad line, it went on to become a busy hub for Route 66 travelers. Bypassed by I-40 in 1969, it mostly seems like a sleepy farming community today. But this hidden gem still holds some wonderful reasons to pull off the interstate.

Adrian maintains the distinction of being halfway between Chicago and Santa Monica along Route 66. So when you arrive here, you are quite literally standing in the middle of things. There’s a photo op just waiting to happen.

Sitting at the midpoint is also the iconic Midpoint Cafe. The diner was built in 1929, and though it’s had various names over the years, it is one of the oldest, continuously operating restaurants on Route 66. Bought by Fran Hauser in 1990, it received its current name in 1995 to honor its location at the heart of Route 66.

Styled as a 1950s-era diner, the menu trends toward nostalgic, classic American fare. (We recommend the chicken salad sandwich.) There’s even a fried bologna sandwich! Be sure to ask them about their lick the plate special. And leave room for a slice of their world famous ugly pie. (We recommend the lemon meringue, though the Elvis — peanut butter, banana and chocolate — is very good, too.)

Next door to the Midway Cafe is the Sunflower Station. Housed in an old filling station, it now features a variety of souvenirs, home goods and other wares. Many Route 66 travelers stop here hoping to meet the owner, Fran Hauser. You’ll remember she used to own the Midpoint Cafe. She’s also famous for being the inspiration for the character “Flo” in the Disney Pixar movie Cars. The day we stopped in, Fran was away. However, we were given a free autographed postcard to put in our Route 66 scrapbook.

Of all the many small towns along Route 66 in western Texas and eastern New Mexico, Adrian is one of our favorites. We found the locals to be very friendly and welcoming, and it’s a great place to meet fellow Route 66 travelers. Stop in for a visit as you motor west.

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