On the Road Reviews
On our way from Los Angeles this November (2004), we were hungry and in search of food by the time we got to Santa Nella. We had stopped at Pea Soup Andersen's on the way to LA and knew we didn't want to stop again, so our only non-fast food choice was Buckhorn Family Restaurant, located at the TravelCenters of America truck stop. Buckhorn, a chain belonging to TravelCenters, used to be called Mrs. B's Family Restaurant, as its large lit sign by the road will tell you. Alas, it changed names and concept several years ago (Buckhorn is supposed to offer "heartier fare with a rustic theme") but the old sign still stands, creating some confusion.
Buckorn is a typical coffee-shop, not unlike Pea Soup, which you enter through the attached store. You seat yourself, and service was competent and friendly. The menu features standard coffee-shop fare: burgers and sandwiches, a few pastas, steaks, chicken dishes, meatloaf and ribs. It's fairly cheap at prices probably averaging about $3 less than Pea Soup Andersen's for similar dishes. We liked it about as much, and we'll probably won't stop there again.
We started with sodas (Pepsi family, slightly off-taste but drinkable - free refills) and an appetizer platter of fried mozzarella sticks, onion rings and popcorn chicken. They were served with little buckets of BBQ sauce, marinara sauce and Ranch sauce. They all tasted fine, though they had obviously been cooked earlier and reheated. I felt the popcorn chicken had too little chicken, though that's a common problem with this dish, and Mike found some of the onion rings too thick for his taste. In all, we didn't feel the taste was nearly good enough to justify all the fat and calories.
I followed with a patty melt which was also disappointing. It was almost completely tasteless, the rye bread didn't have much flavor, the burger needed some seasoning and the onions probably should have been caramelized a little bit longer. It was edible, but very bland.
Mike's burger was fine, he asked for it medium rare and it was rarer than he expected. Otherwise it tasted like a typical burger. Both sandwiches came with fries. The fries were on the thick side, crispy outside and would have been good except that they were fried in old oil and they had that disgusting taste and aftertaste that comes from it. We didn't eat them.
The bill came to $24 before tax and tip.
Buckhorn Family Restaurant
TravelCenters of America
I5 Exit 407
12310 South Highway 33
Santa Nella, CA