Cluff’s Carhop Cafe

Time traveling back to early October…

We’ve left Yellowstone National Park, enjoyed our travels though Idaho while gawking at the yellow aspen, and hiked through Hells’ Half Acre.  We spent the night in Salt Lake City – one of the few major cities in the United States I had never visited. The next morning, a few hours south of Salt Lake City, we pulled off the Interstate and headed into the mountains in search of Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Before we got very far, our hunger pains forced us to look for food.  We were traveling down Main Street in a tiny town and  stopped at this cafe – just HAD to stop – in the town of Fillmore, county seat of Millard, state of Utah. Yes, the town was founded when Millard Fillmore was President (1850-53).

Cluff's Carhop Cafe

Cluff’s Carhop Cafe © 2010 Bo Mackison

Now, isn’t this just the kind of place to stop for local home cooking. The temperatures were dropping, storm front moving through, and so the carhops weren’t doing much hopping, though there was still a small crowd eating at the outside picnic tables.


Hungry? © 2010 Bo Mackison

Now if this isn’t a teaser menu to make you slam on your brakes (carefully so the trailer won’t jack-knife on the wet pavement) and go in for a bite. Plus a good representation of the population of Fillmore (pop. 2200) were hanging around, so that was a good enough recommendation for us. BTW, the fried pickles, alone, were worth the stop..

Utah Decor

License Plate Decor © 2010 Bo Mackison

What a great interior. Narrow room, only enough space for tables against the wall, but there was plenty to amuse the senses. Old license plates and metal signs, old cartoons, wheel rims, wallpaper mapping Route 66, and the low rumbling and loud shouts of conversation amongst the locals.

We had a couple of shakes and sandwiches. Sorry, I can’t give a more complete assessment of the food, except to say it was cooked perfectly to order and delicious. While we were eating, we realized the weather was turning nastier, and we were heading towards higher elevations, so we left rather quickly.

Next post:  Quick detour to photograph Utah’s Territorial Statehouse. Then the story of how successful we were getting to the summit and Cedar Breaks National Park.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Now THIS is AMERICA, Bo. Send those fast food joints to China and keep the mom ‘n pops all along these roadways and byways for this is American Gold. Yum….fried pickle spears! There’s nothing like these places to make ya feel right at home. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh, yum! Fried pickles! I would have stopped too. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Yep, fried pickles are a true delicacy. First ate ’em in Arkansas–wasn’t sure I wanted to even have a taste. But I tasted and I loved at first bite!

  3. I’m hungry.

  4. Making me hungry just hearing about this place. Another documented adventure added to the memoirs!

  5. I moved to Fillmore a few years ago and have gotten to know the Cluff’s well. I must say I feel their food is the best in town. You haven’t lived till you’ve tried their fried mushrooms! oh! and their Burritos with fresh home made salsa! and top it off with a hot fudge sundae made with home made hot fudge – to die for! I love their samon salad always cooked perfect and almost too beautiful to eat. . . almost.

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