If you've got spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle, or just a tape of Tex Ritter singing the same, then at some point you should give yourself a treat and ride that horseless carriage of yours up to Tortilla Flat, way up in the Superstition Mountains, where the Superstition Saloon serves Bullrider Burgers, Killer Chili and bread bowls filled with beans, cheese and salsa. Eating at the bar means sitting on a stool outfitted with a saddle, drinking your Amber Bock draft in a Mason jar, and checking out the thousands of autographed dollar bills, pound notes and francs that paper the establishment, left behind by the 300,000-plus visitors per year. Tortilla Flat is an actual town with six residents and a post office, and it sits on the site of a former stagecoach stop on the historic Apache Trail.

In addition to the saloon, there's a gift shop and a general store that sells homemade ice cream and fudge. But after that dusty, winding trek from Phoenix on Highway 60, past Apache Junction, up State Route 88 with gleaming Canyon Lake and sheer cliffs of red rock for scenery, nothing will taste as good on the back of your throat as that draft brew in a jar. Yippie yi-yay, indeed.

Tarbell's
Jackie Mercandetti Photo
Dining at a restaurant table by yourself is a foolish exercise; eating at the bar is cool, and nowhere is it cooler than at Tarbell's. With a long, graceful curve, the bar is staffed by a friendly crew that appear to have no life of their own. The same folks are always on hand offering seemingly effortless service. The menu is both reliable and first-rate, and if you are there for more than 20 minutes, you will meet the owner.

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