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Back in May, 2003, I had the opportunity to dine at Mike's Roadhouse Café, during a railfan trip with long time friend, Rob Carlson, who, sadly, is now diseased.  Rob was one of these guys who enjoyed a great meal, and didn't want to dine at a fast food joint, nor did he want to patronize chain restaurants, as he preferred to dine at a sit-down, one-of-a-kind restaurant, owned and operated by local folks.  Being the ultimate railfan, Rob knew all of the places to eat near the railroad tracks, and in a busy railroad town, like Mojave, located along the busy Tehachapi Pass... well... Mojave was a magnet for Rob, and Mike's was his kind of place.  So when it came time to enjoy dinner, Rob suggested that we dine at Mike's Roadhouse Café, as he said it was one of the best restaurants in town.  He was right, we enjoyed our dinner, and I made a resolution to return.

Photo:  Some folks complain about the parking lot and the exterior of Mike's, but it looks OK to me.  In the center of the photo, that's my awesome Ford F-250 truck, equipped for four-wheeling, and ham radio adventures.

Fast forward to Thursday, November 5, 2009, and I was back in town, to enjoy a couple of relaxing days of railfanning, four wheeling, and working high frequency mobile, via ham radio, from my truck.  After driving to Mojave, checking into my motel room, and doing a bit of four wheeling, by late afternoon I had developed an appetite, so I decided to forgo today's railfanning, and head over to Mike's to enjoy a delicious, early dinner.

When you enter Mike's, the first thing that you notice is the decor - especially if you're a fan of pedal cars.  Yep, there are pedal cars mounted on shelves, high on every wall - every variety of mostly antique pedal cars that you could imagine.  Pedal cars were hot stuff in the 1950's, and most of the pedal cars represent a 1950's behemoth of a car.  But it's not just cars, as there are a couple of pedal airplanes, and even a tank or two.  The walls are plastered with vintage posters, and there are models of vintage mussel cars, along with the obligatory faux potted plants.  Pure Mojave - pure Americana!

Photo:  Pedal cars, pedal cars, and more pedal cars decorate Mike's.  They have a few of them for sale, at rather hefty prices.  Mike's Roadhouse Café even offers a small gift shop, where you can purchase souvenirs and the usual stuff that you'd expect to find at a small town in the Mojave Desert.

Photo:  Mike's has an awesome selection of pies, but above the pies there's a pedal-flown airplane.  Does the propeller propel as the operator pedals?  I didn't have the guts to ask, but I did notice the vintage posters tacked to the walls, along with the gigantic ice tea pot.

I was seated at a booth by charming Patty Martinez who wears many hats:  1) Greeter 2)  Waitress 3) Part owner. Patty, along with her husband Rick, who cooks, own and operate the restaurant, with the help of another girl, who was very busy bussing tables, cleaning the floors, and generally making herself unavailable for photography, and my ever-present questions.  After being seated at a booth, and supplied with a glass of ice water and a menu, Patty asked me what I wanted to drink, and I replied, the usual, COFFEE!  Yes, I had to drive the half mile back to the motel room, and although a beer sounded good, it was coffee now, and beer later.  The last thing I needed was a DUI in Mojave!  Whatever... I love coffee, 24/7.

Oh boy!  The menu features a wide variety of classic American comfort food, along with a smattering of faux Mexican dishes.  As I pondered the menu, I noted that Patty, Rick, and the other girl spoke among themselves in Spanish, so I decided to use my Spanish when Patty came to take my order.  The menu choices are wide and varied, but I defaulted to one of my favorite meals, a chicken fried steak, which Mike's menu describes as a "Famous Chicken Fried Steak.  A real old fashioned breaded steak, smothered in tasty country gravy."  With a description like that, how could you go wrong?  So when Patty came back to take my order, in Spanish, I ordered the chicken fried steak dinner.  Needless to say, I impressed her, but not enough to get a photo of her, which I'll talk about later...

Photo:  Oh yes, my delicious garden salad, complete with everything you'd ever wish for in your restaurant salad. Note the basket of soda crackers, which added a lot of spice, and salt, to the salad.

This is a two-course meal, as minutes after placing my order, Patty brought a toss green salad to my table.  This salad was not your Joe-average salad, as it consisted of a base of iceberg lettuce, and on top of the lettuce was a cornucopia of shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion rings, and the whole salad was topped by creamy ranch dressing.  To make things even better, a basket of soda crackers was placed on the table, so I could crumble soda crackers into my salad, or munch them on the side.  So picture this:  I'm sitting in this unique restaurant, enjoying a delicious salad, checking out an endless variety of pedal cars, crumbling soda crackers into my salad, and washing the whole affair down my throat with some of the most delicious coffee that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.  Can life get any better than this?

Just as I'd enjoyed my fourth cup of coffee, and had barely finished my salad, the main course arrived.  The main course consisted of the signature chicken fried steak, topped with gravy, mashed potatoes with more gravy, cooked vegetables, (green beans, red peppers, diced onions... yummy!) and a slab of cornbread, with a cup of butter on the side.  Oh my goodness!  This is the kind of meal that most men would die for!

Photo:  The main course:  Corn bread, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, covered with gravy, and the veggie dish.  Oh yes, it's flanked with a cup of coffee and a glass of ice water.

As Patty placed the food on my table, I attempted to snap her photo, but she objected, so I put away my trusty camera, and chalked her up to be in the "photo shy" category.  However, upon my request, she snapped a photo of me at the table, with my meal in front of me, which earned her a decent tip.

Photo:  Patty, too shy to have her photo taken, was gracious enough to snap my photo, as I pose before consuming my delicious dinner.

The cuisine served at Mike's Roadhouse Café isn't fancy, but it's good, VERY good.  It's pure American comfort food, and you won't leave hungry, and your wallet won't be empty.  So if you're interested in the best that Mojave has to offer, stop by Mike's Roadhouse Café and order a chicken fried steak dinner.,.. You'll be glad you did.

Mike's Roadhouse Café
Highway 58, 15834 Sierra Highway
Mojave, CA 93501
661 824-2744

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