Great Food Find Just West of “Cactus City” Rest Stop on I-10

If you travel on the I-10 between Arizona and California, stop at Chiriaco Summit for a bite to eat. Whether you grew up on diner food or not, you will not be disappointed.

by Deedra Abboud in Travel
September 6, 2016 2 comments

When traveling between Arizona and California on the I-10, about the only place to stop for gas and food between Blythe and Indio, California, is Chiriaco Summit. Not much there: a small airport, a gas station, a small trailer park, a dry camp site, a General Patton museum, a souvenir shop, a post office, and a coffee shop. The coffee shop, called Coffee Shop, is well worth a mention.

It looks like an old time diner, not a diner with a bunch of old-time decorations meant to make you feel nostalgic, but an actual diner that has survived the test of time.

The original proprietor, Joe Chiriaco, an Italian immigrant, moved to California from Alabama after traveling to California to attend the 1925 Rose Bowl. Joe worked as a state surveyor for a while, and upon hearing a rumor about the new highway 60, he bought the land and built a gas station and general store.

Lucky for him, the rumor proved true and he opened for business the same day as the highway. Also lucky for him, the I-10 replaced the US60 rather than moving somewhere else. Though he and his Norwegian wife, who he met in California, are long dead, his family still owns just about everything in Chiriaco Summit.

Recently, my husband and I stopped at the Coffee Shop on our way to California and again on our way back to Arizona.

Chiriaco Summit GeezerThe decor is simple. Tables and chairs along with a ‘counter’ for lone travelers. Not a bar, a counter. Diners have counters.The walls have a few pictures of the establishment over the years and ‘Old Geezer’ fun books are on every table.

If you grew up on local diners, the fried chicken and chicken fried steak dinners will take you back to those days. The chicken and chicken fried steak are of the industrial restaurant frozen variety and the brown gravy is the industrial powdered mix.

No negative connotation intended, that is what diners of old really used. It has a distinctive flavor that will transport you to your childhood.

If you didn’t grow up on diner food, you might not appreciate the flavor so much.

In either case, the burger and fries are to die for. You cannot go wrong with them; they will either take you back to your childhood or make you wonder why you ever had a burger and fries from any place other than a diner.

Diner burgers have a perfect flavor combination that is incomparable to both fast food and ‘gourmet’ burgers. Toasted bun that is still soft on top. Crisp lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Crinkle fries that are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. I rarely eat ketchup, but diner fries scream for their condiment.

The only downside… no phone internet service… so no social media updates available…

Still, even the prepackaged restaurant selections are better than anything you will find at the closest civilizations of Indio or Blythe.

And the Chiriaco Summit Coffee Shop brings the diner burger and fries back to life in full force. You will not be disappointed. 

Open 6am until 11pm

62450 Chiriaco Rd, Chiriaco Summit, CA 92201








  1. Ghamdi says:

    I m getting hungry Deedra ! I like special burger make. This is excellent post for nieghbourhood of chiriaco area, but definetly will make someone like me planning for burger meal this night at least!

    1. Thank you Ghamdi. I appreciate you visiting my site and commenting. There is nothing quite like a diner burger in its deliciousness, especially when you are in the middle of nowhere like the I-10 between Blythe and Indio, California.

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