As you drive westbound from St. Louis to Cuba, Missouri along Route 66, billboards and signs are half the scenery. Meramec Caverns. The famous water tower of Bourbon, MO. Missouri Hick BBQ.
Don’t be tempted by these. There’s another destination for you.
Instead, motor another minute along Cuba’s main drag until you reach a four-way intersection. On the southwest corner, inside the former Carr-Phillips gas station, you’ll find The FourWay.
The building itself has serviced Cuba since 1932, but now provides fuel of a different sort for roadtrippers.
No longer pumping unleaded and changing oil, it’s been lovingly restored with a photogenic green-and-yellow paint job, colorful shingles, and copper detailing. As the sun sets, the former garage bay windows cast a glow on the intersection.
In warm weather, you can park yourself on the patio in front. In colder weather, which it certainly was during our November Route 66 trip, the welcoming wooden booths and eclectic farmhouse furniture made the space instantly inviting.
We’re not people who would ever get tired of comfort food on the road, but the FourWay won us over with its Mediterranean spin on favorite dishes.
And it’s not lost on me when a place makes a commitment to make their ingredients from scratch—like marinara, vinaigrettes, hot sauce, pickles, and tzatziki for the gyros and pub fries.
Those gyros come stuffed to the gills with thin but juicy shavings of lamb and beef, lettuce, tomato, and red onion, studded with salty nuggets of feta and olives in a warm pita. This is food for people who have been on the road all day!
And the pub fries made me rethink my stance on steak fry-style wedges entirely. No mealy interiors here, which are my constant disappointment—every bite was tender inside, crisp outside thanks to a lightly seasoned coating.
We hotly debated starting with the FourWay fries appetizer, which loads up the fries with tzatziki, feta, and hot sauce, but had to go with the toasted ravioli. Hey, we never got a chance in St. Louis, so we couldn’t pass them up here.
The FourWay also features something else you won’t see on billboards, but which should be advertised as a Missouri state treasure.
Soft Cheddar is offered as a burger topping, and it’s something you can’t pass up if you see it on a menu. This Cheddar has a spreadable consistency similar to warm Brie or a Babybel, and it melts across the patty like an oozy blanket.
If the FourWay’s charm and cuisine aren’t enough, it’s also an easy walk from the historic Wagon Wheel Motel. If that combination can’t convince you to spend a night in Cuba, I don’t know what will.
(And thanks to Mod Betty of Retro Roadmap for the recommendation!)
The FourWay, 102 W. Washington Ave., Cuba MO 65453. (573) 885-3004. Open Tues-Thurs, 11:00 am-9:00 pm; Fri-Sat, 3:00 pm-9:00 pm.