A pit stop in Bishop, Calif., for food and gas is an Eastern Sierra tradition, though the dining choices have always been a little limited. So the opening of a new restaurant with the Schat's family nameplate attached is cause for celebration. When it comes to mid-priced travel treats, Schat's is a designer brand.
And once they get the kinks worked out, this comfortable new grill -- with its high ceilings and rustic décor -- may become a fixture on the long ride from Los Angeles to Mammoth Lakes.
Aaron Schat's Roadhouse offers a wide-ranging menu of burgers, deli sandwiches, rotisserie chicken and even a burrito bar. There are six generous salads, and fries come in four variations.
Burgers are big and juicy, thanks to softly packed beef that is ground fresh daily. Perhaps most significant of all, they come on the famous Schat's bakery rolls.
The roast turkey sandwiches are made with hand-cut chunks of meat, more reminiscent of what you'd have the day after Thanksgiving than in a modern fast-food joint, where thin-pressed meats usually reign.
So, all in all, a pretty impressive product during our stop there about a week after they opened in mid-July.
The downside? We waited in line 10 minutes before ordering, then waited 20 more for our food to be delivered to our table. Not horrible, but longer than you'd like for a pit-stop lunch or dinner.
The prices are a little on the high side. Burgers and salads are all around $10 and don't come with fries, which are $4-$5. In fact, virtually all entrees are $10, a little more than you want to spend for fast food. Still, except for drive-throughs, the days of the $5 burger seem to have passed.
Service will likely improve as it works out the kinks. Certainly, it should be speeding along come snow season. If anyone knows how to handle high-volume tourist traffic, it's this family.
The early social media reviews have not been kind. But there's still plenty to build on here. And the Eastern Sierra, a visual feast but a culinary wasteland, can use every decent dining option it can get.
Aaron Schat's Roadhouse, 871 N. Main, Bishop, Calif.; (760) 873-0000. Lunch and dinner, $15-$20.
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