You may say it’s shabby, and in fact it is. The single restroom has a questionable floor, a toilet with enamel-cracked seat and a sign to forbid disposal of paper in the toilet, and a faded red door with a knob that doesn’t invite contact. On this windy Saturday late morning, a few pick-up trucks pull up, a few old, beer-bellied, bearded men in plaid shirts stand around to wait for their orders or chow down at the wooden tables and attached benches, crows and pigeons peck at the sandy surrounding parking lot, making this Original Burger Hut of Route 66 the most alive place in Needles.
This hut is not related to these huts. This hut is a rectangular kitchen with one sliding window for taking orders, occupied by two women, a quiet chef that swings between the stoves and the counter where she rolls burritos and boxes up food, and a stern cashier that also fixes drinks. It takes ages for the burgers to get out the window, then again with roughly 5000 residents, time seems to go by more slowly in this town.
Their burgers are okay. At $2.90 with added cheese, it fills but not too much, like a burger you’d grill out at home casually every now and then. The same goes for their carne asada burrito. I save some bread for the birds, who appreciate it dearly.
We switch gear for dinner, as the long foggy drive through Flagstaff fogs up our will to eat out, especially when the Quality Inn in Winslow has a orderly-looking restaurant and lounge and very amicable staff.
From the name “honey stung chicken” ($8.99), I expect a roasted game, but golden battered fried chicken shows up in front of me. Although the fried chicken is good, it isn’t as satisfying when I’m not in the fried mood.
DJ’s Restaurant & Lounge (inside Quality Inn)
1701 North Park Drive