A taco from El Grullense Jal 5 in Santa Nella.

Place: El Grullense Jal 5

Category: Road Food, Mexican, Tacos

Website: https://www.instagram.com/elgrullensejal5/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-grullense-jal-santa-nella-2

Location: 12185 S. Hwy 33, Santa Nella, Ca 95322 

Date of visit: 2021 April 10

When I finally got about an hour and half from home on my cross-country road trip, I was getting really hungry. Santa Nella Village (at least the part by I-5) is a bunch of truck stops, gas stations, fast food places, and a Pea Soup Andersen’s. I would have gone to Andersen’s as it is on my hit list, but I was getting tired and it was almost closing time for the restaurant. Instead of a fast-food chain, I decided to check out a taco truck. It seems every gas station in this oasis off of exit 407, if not connected to a fast-food place, has a taco truck in the parking lot. I mostly randomly choose this one but the Arco gas was the cheapest in the area so that was the deciding factor. I have since been to another taco truck off this exit so there will be a post for that one. Spoiler alert: both were delicious!  

taco truck
El Grullense Jal 5 taco truck at night in Santa Nella.

I noticed this truck has a #5 on it. I am not sure if that means there are more trucks by the same owners or if this is the fifth version of this owner’s truck. An internet search finds other places (both trucks and buildings) with the same name so I think there might be a relationship but what the relationship is, is unclear to me. Regardless, El Grullense Jal is definitely not a huge multi-national corporation so good enough to make it to Ed’s Eats!

I decide to purchase one taco and one burrito. Both were amazing. Like most of these taco trucks they offer various meats and the two I had, carne asada and al pastor, were both perfectly cooked and seasoned. The toppings and condiments that came with the food were also tasty and the prices were good.

A burrito from El Grullense Jal 5 inn Santa Nella.

One thing I liked about this taco truck is that they had some picnic tables under a tent. Since I stopped by at night the tent wasn’t important this time but during the day Santa Nella can get hot. The last time I drove through there during the day it was about 105 degrees! A lot of taco trucks have no seating so this is definitely a plus and I will be stopping at El Grullense Jal 5 again! You should too if you want tasty Mexican food and you are in the area.

Place: Hunter’s Drive Thru 

Category: Road Food, American, Burgers 

Website: http://huntersdrivethru.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/hunters-drive-thru-ely

Location: 1455 Aultman St Ely, NV 89301

Date of visit: 2021 April 10

Cheesesteak and fries from Hunter's
Cheesesteak and fries from Hunter’s Drive Thru in Ely, Nevada.

Hunter’s Drive Thru is located in Ely, Nevada. When driving into Ely I wasn’t very hungry but since Highway 50 is “The Loneliest Road in America” so if you are starting to get hungry or are getting low on fuel, you better stop while you got the chance. Besides, I really do like old-school drive thru’s and driver in’s. 

Hunter’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was driving through mid-day so I ended up getting lunch. More specifically, I got a cheesesteak and fries. The cheesesteak exceeded expectations and the fries were really good as well. The cheesesteak wasn’t Philadelphia good but the roll, meat, cheese, and everything else was tasty. I went at a busy time so the service was not as quick as it otherwise would have been but I still received my meal within a reasonable amount of time. The service was also friendly so no complaints there.

Instead of eating the food in my car or at one of their tables, I drove down the road a s minute or two and ate in Courthouse Park in the center of town which turned out to be a good choice as it was nice and shady.  I recommend considering doing that, especially if Hunter’s is crowded and there are no tables available. 

If you find yourself in Ely, skip the fast food chains chains on the edge of town and head here or to one of the other local places in town. 


Interior of JW Snack's Gulf Coast Bar & Grill
Interior of JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill in Craig, Colorado.

Place: JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill

Category: Road Food, BBQ, Seafood, Southern

Website: n/a

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/jw-snacks-gulf-coast-bar-and-grill-craig

Location: 210 E Victory Way Craig, CO 81625

Date of visit: 2021 April 8

On April 8 I decided to spend the night in Craig, Colorado. After evaluating my options for dinner I ended up at JW Gulf Coast Snack Bar & Grill. I expected it to be more of a pub with food but it turned out to be more of a local casual food style restaurant (think TGI Fridays or Applebee’s but smaller and more unique with better food). That said, part of me wonders if the feel would’ve been different without COVID restrictions. 

Pork poppers
Delicious Pork Popper Appetizer

For an appetizer I got pork poppers. I am not sure I’ve seen these anyplace else. They were basically what I think most people would guess: deep fried battered pieces of pork. And as people that like pork and deep fried things would guess, they were amazing. If you ever find yourself in Craig and you eat pork, you must get them. You will not be disappointed!

The food genre at JW’s was predominately southern. I decided to go with the blackened catfish but it was a tough choice because a lot of the menu items looked good. I choose the catfish because I used to eat it often when I lived in Alabama but you really don’t see it in California much. The cook did a great job and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t as good as the best catfish I ate in Alabama but it could hold its own in the South and it really hit the spot. The sides I got were dirty rice and baked beans. The dirty rice was okay but nothing to write home about. The baked beans, however, were pretty good and I’d get them again.

Blackened Catfish
Blackened Catfish from JW Snack’s Gulf Coast Bar & Grill in Craig, Colorado.

As far as the service, it was great. The server had good timing and I was never looking for her nor did I ever feel she was

trying to rush me out the door. She and the other staff were also friendly. My only real complaint was the beer selection wasn’t very good. They only had a couple of beers on tap and they were your typical American swill. The bottle selection wasn’t great

either but I did end up getting a decent IPA. I guess the moral of the story is to go here for the food and not the beer.


Food from Big Star Drive-In
A milkshake, burger, and pierogis from Big Star Drive-In

Place: Big Star Drive-In

Category: Road Food, American, Burgers, Ice Cream

Website: https://www.thebigstardrivein.com/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/big-star-drive-in-stroudsburg

Location: 1833 W Main St, Stroudsburg, PA 18360

Date of visit: 2021 April 6

On April 6, 2021 I started to drive across the country. My first food stop was The Big Star Drive-In in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It has been in existence since 1949 and is just off of Interstate 80 in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

While waiting in line I started to talking to a few other customers and they said that all of Big Star Drive-In’s food is good, especially the ice cream. I decided to go with a cheeseburger with grilled onions and a side of pierogi. To drink I got a cranberry milk shake. Not a lot of detail is needed on any of these as they are not super-unique but they were all delicious. I really enjoyed burger and the onions were grilled to perfection.

The pierogi was good but if you lived in pierogi country it was probably nothing special. However since I live in California I found it to be a nice treat and I was glad I ordered it. I never had a cranberry milkshake before but it was what you would expected—a vanilla ice cream base with a sweetened cranberry syrup added it. It wasn’t too sweet though and it made a good combination. I’d get it again and if you like cranberries and milkshakes I think you should try it at the Big Star or anywhere else you see it.

Overall it was exactly what I expected for a drive-in established just after WW2. Tasty food served quickly for a very reasonable price but nothing fancy. Definitely worth stopping at a place like this instead of a fast food chain!


Photo of Big Star Drive-In
Big Star Drive-In located in Stoudsburg, Pennsylvania.