Cafe 66-Vero Beach- 4-Stars
"Would you get hip to this kindly tip and take that California trip? Get your kicks on Route 66." -- Chuck Berry
When Cafe 66 popped up on my portable eatery fount, my first thought was, "I didn't realize Route 66 went through Vero Beach, FL." Don't bother to check with Google, I can assure you that it does not; therefore, this must be another road trip themed restaurant. "Maybe they'll at least have a good burger," was my final thought on the matter as I hit US1 and pointed the BBDO machine south.
Pulling off of the highway and onto Route 606 (Oslo Rd) I headed due West. As I left the coastal area, I couldn't help but feel I was perhaps in the middle of the country as there was nothing but flat pasture land and cows for miles on either side. Did you know that Florida is one of the top 20 beef producing states in the nation coming in at #18? The more you know. As I entered the parking lot for the Cafe (which is attached to a feed store), I did sorta feel like I was on old Route 66 cruisin' from The Windy City to Tinsel Town and stopped somewhere in Missouri for chow.
Stepping up to the counter, I realized that other than a few outdoor tables and benches, this place had no inside seating options. Walk up, place your order, grab a bench and wait seemed to be the way to go here. I stepped up to the counter, grabbed a menu and began to dissect it with my eyes. If the fare tasted half as good as it looked on the menu, I was in for a special treat. The creativity took the standard burger to a whole new level, which is hard to do these days with burger joints on almost every corner. I put in an order for one TKO Burger and one Cowboss Brisket Sandwich, a large unsweetened ice tea with sides of fries and coleslaw, respectively. Given the crowd present, the wait for my food was negligible, grabbing the to go containers, I headed out to a bench and plopped my butt down to commence reveiwn'.
After one bite of the TKO Burger I knew I was in Beefy Paradise. The ground beef was obviously prime, obviously hand formed, grilled to a perfect medium rare, the bun was toasted and the bacon was, well, bacon. It tasted farm fresh and like the burger was cooked to the absolute perfect degree of doneness. The blue cheese was fresh, delicious and complimented the burger like a Chevy Small Block 283 complimented the '61 Vette. Topped with thick slices of fresh cut tomato, dill pickle angle cut burger chips and fresh onion it was a burger fit for a Highway King.
Eyeing the Cowboss Brisket sammich, I could only hope it measured up to the standard set by the TKO Burger. From the bottom up, the bread could be grilled and a tad fresher or perhaps from a different vendor as it did not clear the bar set by the Burger, in fact, it didn't even come close to taking a facial on said bar. However, this fact soon became moot as the meat was again, Beefy Paradise. The Brisket was obviously smokin' for hours in the back as it basically melted in my mouth with so much slow-roasted barbeque goodness. In other words, this meat was the bomb! The sauce was also obviously made on site and not from a bottle or can as it tasted freshly made and complex in its union of flavors. This was now in my top 10 of favorite BBQ sauces. Moving on to the true test of good Southern BBQ, oh who am I kidding, it's all a true test, anyway, on to the coleslaw. The slaw was hand cut, hand shredded, hand made and mixed with an obviously made on site sauce which made this some out of this world slaw! It felt like my palate had hit the Jackpot with this version of the Southern staple. My, my, my but that sauce was tasty, complex, sweet and had a slight bite to the finish. Hark! All ye restauranteurs, THIS is real coleslaw. I would feel remiss if I at least didn't give the tea a passing note. It was brewed fresh on site and like everything else, sans the Brisket bread was the real deal. This place has success written all over it and I sincerely hope they are in business for decades to come.
The Big Boy says, "If you are anywhere within 25 miles of Vero, FL., this place is well worth the drive to cow country." #bigboydiningout #iamthebigboy