Monday, August 28, 2006

Alton's Road Crew Has Dinner at the The Swinging Grill

The restaurant the most intregued me on Feasting on Asphalt, was the Mexican Hat Lodge, in Mexican Hat, Utah. The town of 88 residents is located near the four corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Here's what a Scrips Howard News Service story had to say about the restaurant and lodge:
The menu is primarily steak, which is cooked outdoors on an open grill that is held up by a wagon-wheel-shaped frame and swings back and forth while the beef sizzles. Hence, the restaurant's motto: "Home of the Swingin' Steak."

J.D. Mueller's family has owned the place since coming to Mexican Hat in 1979. (The town gets its name from a giant sandstone rock formation that resembles an upside-down sombrero.) Initially a dance hall and beer bar, the restaurant opened in 1990 and has been dishing up slabs of beef ever since to tourists who come to town to go hiking, rafting or horseback riding.

There is no indoor seating - "it's too nice outside to be inside," Mueller says.

Everything is cooked and served outside, except for the beans, which are first prepared in a pressure cooker for an hour and a half, then finished off on a wood cook stove outdoors.

The dining area is lit primarily by a string of bare light bulbs that bathe the place in a yellowish, campfire-like glow. On some nights, a garage door raises to reveal a makeshift stage. Mueller and his family are all musicians, and the family band often entertains guests by playing covers of country and rock songs.

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