The ol’ Wikieup Trading Post. Somewhere between Wickenburg and Kingman Arizona along US Highway 93, sits a small historical town with a Trading Post/souvenir shop, convenience store, a couple of gas stations and a cafe.
As I began my approach on this area I thought of the grand possibilities of some really great local fare; and yet I also thought about the potential for food poisoning from the lack of food turnover. There were a good handful of cars in the parking lot, with several people walking and talking in front as I pulled up. This place looked rather legitimate.
After I collected myself from a couple of hours on the road, I went inside to find what may be described as a typical roadside souvenir shop with an attached quick-stop convenience store and cafe. There were only a couple of people (literally, like maybe 3) dining and I had my choice of seating. There was even a Arizona State Trooper sitting close to the kitchen talking to the staff. I figured that was a good sign. But after listening to his conversation with the servers, I was convinced he was just passing by or had otherwise just moved to the area and had not yet been a customer of the cafe.
As I sat and waited too long for my food, I had chance to read the table placards and look at other miscellaneous stuff on the table and on the walls. I found the history of Wikieup and the history of the restaurant. I am surprised that there are countless devoted customers since the local population is somewhere around 150. I was hungry so I decided to give a chance at a sampling of what the grill can produce. I ordered a coffee and some special that was at the top of the menu.
The server cautioned me about the quantity of food on the special. I think it was called the “Cowboy Special”. I told the server I was hungry, having come from Scottsdale about 3 hours ago without anything in my stomach. I still had about an hour-and-a-half remaining on today’s journey and I wanted to eat before I arrived to my day’s destination of Bullhead City. Breakfast was the only menu given to me. The server immediately brought out a hot cup of coffee that had a taste I remember very well from being in the Navy. The taste of a moldy coffee maker that had been unused and uncleaned for a while. I should have backed out of the meal, but instead I waited about 20 minutes for the meal I had ordered and was anticipating.
The special included three over-easy eggs that came out very very medium, three thin strips of overcooked apple-wood smoked bacon, decent hash browns, toasted very much less than the ordered “extra-well” English muffin (very rarely does any restaurant get “extra-well” right) and an order of the most glue-like sausage gravy substance I have ever encountered, atop of some ok biscuits. The gravy reminded me of the last time I hung wall paper many many years ago. The wallpaper paste had a much better flavor. I consumed the entire plate of food but only a few bites of the rather inedible (it had totally seized up) biscuits and gravy.
I even tried to lessen the blow of this meal by trying the two souvenir sample Wikieup hot sauces that were on the less-than-clean table. As I kept getting my elbow stuck on someone’s leftover syrup from the morning before . . . I remember saying to myself, “I should have stopped back there”.