The car trip home from Las Vegas to Los Angeles is one of the more loathsome U.S. road trips out there. Thankfully, there is an oasis in the desert.
As you make the 4.5 hour journey along desolate I-15, there is isn’t much to see. Once you leave the outskirts of Las Vegas, you essentially hit three small towns until you again reach “civilization” in the outskirts of Los Angeles. First is Primm, a the Nevada/California border, next is Baker, and last is Barstow.
Leaving Las Vegas, you will see billboards for a restaurant called Mad Greek Cafe in both Primm and Baker. Both are excellent, though the original restaurant is in Baker.
Typically, I will leave Las Vegas about 4-5 P.M., meaning the trip home coincides with dinner time. Stopping at The Mad Greek Cafe has become a new favorite tradition.
The restaurant is quite eclectic…in a good way. There is Greek food on the menu, but also American and Mexican food. The decor is quite dated…also in a good way.
There’s just something about it that I like so much. During my last Vegas trip, it was approaching 8:00 P.M. and we were hungry. We parked at the Tesla Supercharger station, which is about 3/4 of miles down the road from the restaurant. Although the sun had almost set, the desert heat remained brutal…it was a long walk.
But considering all the calories in the food, probably a necessary walk as well. My favorite dish is beef/lamb gyros. If you’re on a diet, it is a delicious cheat meal and totally worthwhile. The hummus and French Fries are also good.
I chuckle that little roadside restaurants in the middle of the desert become so important, but I love the Mad Greek Cafe. I truly do. You can find it at 72112 Baker Blvd in Baker, California 92309.
Admit it, don’t you also have favorite junk food hole-in-the-wall restaurants you stop in when making familiar road trips? Isn’t that a small joy of travel?
Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories of my time in LA when I would do this drive to Vegas on weekends, and always make a point of stopping in Baker, either for the Mad Greek or the Bun Boy (with The World’s Largest Thermometer outside). The Bun Boy is sadly long gone, wonderful that the Mad Greek survives. I always enjoyed entering from and exiting into the blasting Mohave heat, it was part of the experience, as was the sense of dusty desolation in spite of I-15 thundering by.
Which Tesla do you drive? Model 3 here
I drive an Audi, but my business partner has a Model S P100D.
Porterhouse, there’s a brown Audi parked in my parking space. Get a tow truck over here and have it hauled away immediately.
Shortly after my wife and I were married, my in-laws surprised us by paying for a 2-night hotel stay and show tickets on the Strip over the Thanksgiving holiday. The drive to Vegas was uneventful. But then it took us 7 hours to get back to their house in Loma Linda due to a traffic jam on the 15 that extended from the ag inspection station outside Barstow all the way back to the Nevada line. We only made it home in 7 hours because I got off onto some backroads just past Mountain Pass, found my way to I-40, and then worked my way back to Barstow. I swore never to make that drive again. And you know if even I put a stretch of road on my “X” list, it truly deserves it.
Anyway, you know I have no shame in seeking out dives anywhere I can find them if they have a reputation for good food. If you ever find yourself road tripping through West Texas, stop at Chuy’s (no relation to the chain of Jenna Bush fame) in Van Horn, about 120 miles east of El Paso. I’m not particularly a fan of New Mexico-style Mexican food, but I make an exception for that place.
I stop at the Mad Greek every time I go through the area. Amazing lamb dishes! What is amazing are those pictures you have of the place being vacant. Each time I have stopped, the place has been full of people!