Kicks are Included at Mr D’z Route 66 Diner, Kingman, Arizona

At Mr D’z Route 66 Diner in Kingman Arizona, it’s not at all unusual to see, say, a two-tone ‘57 Chevy, in pristine condition, sitting in the parking lot. Or maybe a ’58 Ford truck, in polished-up candy-apple red. Or perhaps a perfect vintage T-Bird, complete with that little porthole window, the car that provided all that “fun, fun, fun” till Daddy took it away. Mr D’z is more than a place to grab a burger and a milkshake, although it does that very well indeed. It’s a show, it’s a retro experience, it’s a trip back to the ‘50s and the glory days of US Route 66, The Mother Road, Main Street USA. A few years back, when Oprah Winfrey and her BFF Gayle King made a road trip across the USA, they naturally stopped at Mr D’z for lunch. How could they not? You should too.

Location: Find it at 105 E. Andy Devine, (Route 66), Kingman, Arizona

Menu: Mr D’z is a classic American diner. Sandwiches and salads, a hot roast beef sandwich, chicken-fried steak, a patty melt or a chili size, that’s what you’ll find along with a wide range of good burgers and hot dogs. Add some French fries, sweet potato fries, coleslaw or onion rings. Then add in a genuine, hand-scooped milkshake or a frosty glass of their own house-made, locally famous root beer.

Beyond the diner classics, they mix things up a bit with specialties like fajitas, a grilled tequila chicken dinner, and pizza. The house specialties include a Mac Dog—a ¼ lb. all beef hot dog topped with mac and cheese and crisp crumbled bacon—and a D’z Jalapeño Popper Burger—with chopped peppers, cream cheese and mixed cheese inside the burger. Traditional diner-style breakfast dishes, including real home-made oatmeal, are also served all day.

Be sure to check the board just outside the door for the specials of the day. There’s always a daily special burger, like my fave mushroom and Swiss cheese. There’s also a changing litany of special milkshakes beyond the usual flavors. I’ve always loved the butterscotch and the pistachio. And if you can possibly squeeze in dessert, get the hot fudge brownie topped with ice cream. Chocolate overload but heavenly. Since I lived nearby for years, I’ve pretty much worked my way through the menu. Some dishes are better than others, but I’ve never had a meal that was a loss.

Thoughts: Part of the Mr D’z experience is the retro vibe. Even before you enter, the turquoise-and-pink building gives the game away. Inside, it’s all black-and-white checked floor, turquoise and pink vinyl booths, chrome-trimmed chairs and stools. The technicolor-bright vintage jukebox, the murals of ‘50s icons like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis, all maintain the retro guise. Mid-century memorabilia and kitsch are everywhere. Even the multi-paged menu is in the shape of a vinyl record. The whole place is a one-stop photo op.

The mostly young servers are friendly and helpful. Service is usually fast enough unless one of the classic car clubs that flock here has filled the place to overflowing. It’s a family-friendly stop too, especially at the picnic tables outside on a perfect sunny day—which is most of the year in Arizona. For a casual, kitschy and just plain fun meal-as-experience, Mr D’z Route 66 Diner is a great solution. You can sit at the counter alone, sit across from your sweetie sharing a soda in a vinyl booth, or fill up a table with friends and family. All are welcome. You’ll come away well-fed, entertained, and ready to hit the Mother Road once more.

Before or after your meal, a look around the immediate area can be rewarding. Just across the parking lot is a vintage Santa Fe Railroad locomotive to explore. Across the road is the Powerhouse Visitor Center, full of maps and information about what to see and do in Kingman. The old electric generating station building also houses the small but charming and very well-done Route 66 Museum.

Price Range: A meal at Mr D’z Route 66 Diner is not going to break the bank. A meal-sized salad or sandwich served with fries costs from $6.99-8.99. Main full-plate meals range from $10.99 for spaghetti and meatballs up to $19.75 for a full rack of ribs with the owner’s special BBQ sauce, veggies, and fries. More than a dozen varieties of burgers cost $7.75-8.99, including French fries. To substitute sweet potato fries or some truly wonderful onion rings, add $1.50. A hot dog and fries or a hot sandwich run $5.99-8.99. A 16” pizza will be $10.50-16.95. No alcohol is served, but the other beverages are a thing here. An old-style vanilla coke, a root beer float, a popsicle float (vanilla ice cream floating in orange soda) or a hand-dipped malt or milkshake that will make you think you’ve died and gone back through a time machine to “Happy Days” are all just under $5.00. Desserts are also numerous, reasonably priced and delicious.

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Mr D'z Route 66 Diner, in Kingman, Arizona, serves up a load of kitsch and nostalgia along with great burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes and other classic diner food.

Donna Meyer

Donna Meyer is a freelance travel writer and the creator of Nomad Women, a blog to inspire older women travelers to get out and see more of the world. When she is not traveling the world--and eating everything in sight--she lives in San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico.

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