Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Radiator Springs in realtime

Our final evening in western Oklahoma found us once again on Route 66, this time heading for the little town of Canute.

We had heard there was a deadly pizza joint in this little town of 500+ people and we were on a mission for some thin crust ala carte.

Friend's Pizza and Pub occupies a small lot on Main Street, which sits perpendicular to the section of the Mother Road that zooms through the tiny, blink-twice-and-you'll-miss-it community. There are several hotels on 66 that must have been something to see in their neon-blaring heyday, neither of which looked habitable now.

The P and P itself is little more than a used-to-be post office-turned hamburger joint-turned bar with a conveyor belt pizza oven and uber-friendly staff. The cars parked in front of the joint ranged from a beaten down 1987 Monte Carlo SS, to a brand spankin' new Dodge Charger Daytona/RT with a few showroom new "Wild Hogs" tossed into the mix.

Parental panic kicked in slightly as it should for anyone contemplating taking their kids into a bar-type atmosphere seeking fine dining, however upon entering the dimly lit pub, a quick survey of the separate eating and drinking areas proved to allay most of our fears.

In the bar area sat a table of blue-haired grannie's drinking coffee (?) from thick white diner mugs, right alongside a group of yupped-up bikers (Wild Hog-types), a young couple with their infant in a carrier, and several groups of what I believe were Route 66 road trippers taking in the local scenery.

Everyone who was drinking beer, drank it from longneck bottles, leading me to believe that had I asked for something on tap, I would have been denied in a most pleasant way.

When it came time to order off the menu, I didn't dare order my standing favorite pie (sausage, anchovey, garlic, onion) since the place looked more like a pepperoni and iceberg lettuce salad joint. However we were all pleasantly surprised when our pizza arrived in good shape, form, and edibility factor.

The pizza pies were named for personalties of questionable celebrity (we ordered the Diana Ross), the dough was decent for not being hand-tossed, and the mushrooms were fresh, not canned. Overall I'd rate the atmosphere a 7 (if you like bar-type places, if not then a 5), the staff an attentive and friendly 10, and the pie a well-earned 8.

Friends Pizza and Pub was the kind of place where the waitresses and kitchen staff were happy to take the time to get to know a little of our own story, what brought us to Canute and to their door, and where we were headed from here.

Even though the town surrounding them was obviously in the throes of neglect, in need of repair and attention, the collection of friendly faces, decent food fare, and local color was the exact Radiator Springs/Route 66 vibe we were hoping to find on our trip to motor west, on the highway, that's the best.

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