Truck Inn is the kind of restaurant that I absolutely love to write about, as it's a slice of pure Americana, and captures in a snapshot many images of our great country that I hold dear to me, including the Interstate highway system, the great state of Nevada, big rigs, wonderful, friendly people, and a trucker-style breakfast. How can you go wrong when you notice that most of the clientele drive big rigs or 5th wheelers, and the restaurant sports a motto that reads, "You don't have to be at home to have a home cooked meal..." Wow! Factor in a sign that advertises that Truck Inn serves breakfast 24 hours a day, and the primary mission of the restaurant caters to the taste of Interstate truckers, and you know you have a winning combination!
Left: This cab-over Freightliner rig poses as a sign; how could a trucker resist stopping at a place like this for breakfast. Right: Peterbilt rigs are parked on Truck Inn's huge parking lot. Note the mascot in the upper left had corner of the phot.
Truck Inn is a full service truck stop, located in Fernley, Nevada, at exit 48, off Interstate 80. If you're looking for the place, you just can't miss it, as at the west end of the huge parking lot, they have mounted on steel poles a vintage 3-axle Freightliner, cab-over tractor, along with a trailer, which acts as a mascot, and a gigantic sign that reads Truck Inn. Truck Inn is more than a restaurant, as it's a full-fledged truck stop which includes everything a big-rig driver's hear could desire, including fuel, repairs, a small motel, a moderately-sized casino, a store where you can purchase just about anything necessary to live the good life on the Interstate, including repair of your CB radio, and of course, our destination of choice, the Truck Inn Restaurant, which features cuisine catered to the tastes of truckers, and other road warriors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Naturally, with an operation of this size that caters to the needs of long-haul truckers, they feature plenty of big-rig parking, and they don't seem to mind if truckers take a bit of a snooze, as we noticed plenty of buttoned-up rigs with the engines running. Truly, Truck Inn is a magnet for trucker, 5th-wheelers, and anybody else who plies the Interstate.
Photo: If you're driving a pickup truck, such as our F-250 Ford, parked next to the sign, all you have to do is to look for the sign that says "Entrance," and then you'll know you've arrived to the best trucker's breakfast in Western Nevada.
We left our Freightliner FLD132XL at home on this trip, as we were on vacation, and we proceeded to park our Ford F-250 near the front door, up-close-and-personal; if we'd been driving the interstate with our Freightliner, we would have had to park in back of the building, even if we were only driving the tractor. The store, restaurant, motel and casino are contained in one large building, and to get to the restaurant, you simply walk in, and walk through the lobby which features the casino to the left, the store to the right, and you walk straight through about a hundred feet, and then you're in the restaurant.
Photo: The horseshoe-shaped breakfast counter, is lined by truckers sitting on chrome chairs, and the counter is staffed by friendly waitress Niki, who is currently in the process of taking another order.
The Truck Inn Restaurant isn't fancy, and if you didn't notice the computer terminal they use as a cash register (it's networked to the store, casino, etc.,) ... when you enter the main dining room, you gasp... and you think it is 1977, instead of 2007! Yes, the decor is quite dated, but in a good way, as nostalgic reminders of the 1970's include vinyl booths, faux wood paneling, Formica, chrome chairs, florescent light fixtures, dingy carpeting, and a huge horseshoe-shaped bar that juts out to the center of the main dining room. Tables and booths flank the breakfast bar, and when you walk in, it's super informal, and you just sit yourself wherever you want to sit, and you wait until one of the waitresses notices you. If you're used to world-class service, look elsewhere, but if you're ready to enjoy a true slice of Americana on the road, then Truck Inn Restaurant is the place to be.
Photo: What does all of the stuff mean that is posted above the kitchen? Is it sort of like the word "exbeallicidocious" or maybe something maybe more atocious? According to friendly waitress Niki, this Fernley-Speak is translated as: "See they go, they are a thousand busses in a row, no joke; them's trucks, some with cows, some with ducks." Hey folks, that's "Fernley Speak!" Well... maybe??
On Tuesday morning, September 25, 2007, we walked in to the restaurant, seated ourselves at a booth, and waited for one of the two waitresses on duty to notice us, and bring us our morning coffee and menus.
I'm not a huge fan of criticizing restaurants, as normally if I find a restaurant substandard in any way, I simply won't waste my time in giving them a write-up, as in the end, it produces a lot of free publicity for them. We sat at our booth for about 10 minutes before we grabbed the attention of friendly waitress Heidi, and we feel the lack of attention was due to the fact that Heidi and Niki were the only waitresses on duty, and they had to serve the busy breakfast counter, the main dining room, where we were seated, and an adjoining dining room. As we sat waiting for our coffee and menus, it appeared that the friendly waitresses were simply overwhelmed by the huge volume of hungry customers, so we didn't fault them for slow service or lack of attention, but we do fault the management of Truck Inn. Since we were on vacation, we weren't in a hurry, but if you're a trucker on the road with a schedule to keep, you might want to keep the slow service factor in mind...
Photo: Heidi delivers another round of delicious coffee.
At the time of our visit, Truck Inn had only two waitresses on duty, Heidi and Niki. Niki seemed to work the u-shaped breakfast counter, and Heidi took orders and worked the dining room. However, that pattern seemed to change, as we had ample time to observing them share duties, diners, and a lot of friendly banter with locals and road warriors. Heidi brought our menus and coffee, and apologized for the wait, as she explained that she and Niki were the only waitresses on duty, and they had lots of customers, yadda, yadda, yadda. I can relate to that, and I understand, and besides, we were on vacation, so it was priceless to just sit there and watch the workings of a Nevada trucker's restaurant.
What makes a truck stop unique? Perhaps character, that engaging smile of your friendly waitress as she refills your endless cup of coffee, or maybe it's the "thumbs-up" that you get from the guy who just cleaned your windshield, or maybe the wink you receive from your friendly cashier after you're just cashed out from your last game of Texas Hold 'Em. In the case of Truck Inn, they have a rather unique sign posted behind the breakfast bar, above the kitchen, that reads, in capital letters and quotes: "SEVILLE DAR DAGO TOUSIN BUSSIN INURO NOJO DEM STRUX SUMIT COUSIN SUMIT DUX." Now, I thought I had a pretty decent grasp on the English language, but just what is that?? Local Fernely speak? Local Indian language? Local trucker diailect? Just what is it? As our friendly waitress Niki delivered our breakfast, I asked her to translate... e.g. ... what does that crazy stuff mean?
Photo: After translating the strange "Fernley-speak" sign located above the kitchen, friendly waitress delivers my fantastic breakfast of link sausage, fried eggs, biscuits and gravy, and homestyle potatoes to our table. Sharlene approves, since her meal of eggs and potatoes has already been delivered to her.
According to Niki, as she translated it, word-for word, here is the translation: "See they go, they are a thousand busses in a row, no joke; them's trucks, some with cows, some with ducks." OK... there is, translated by friendly waitress, and local resident, Niki, who is obviously versed on the local Early language. Or is this some sort of politically-incorrect local dialect? Only Fernley residents know the answer to that question!
Photo: I love to photograph beautiful women just "doing their jobs..." and Niki is doing her job as he delivers another delicious breakfast to a hungry trucker, seated at Truck Inn's horseshoe-shaped breakfast counter. Like a true truck stop, Truck Inn relies on the breakfast crowd, as truckers are know to be breakfast junkies.
From their extensive breakfast menu, I chose a "Holder Breakfast," which seems to be slanted toward truck drivers; it includes many choices, but in my case, I picked 3 eggs fried over easy, biscuits and gravy, homestyle potatoes, and 3 link sausages of the biggest sausage links that I've had the pleasure to enjoy on the Interstate. My beautiful wife, Sharlene, chose to enjoy a somewhat more modest breakfast of potatoes, and eggs served over toast. We found it quite refreshing that the price of our breakfasts included the non-alcoholic beverage of our choice, including endless refills of outstanding coffee.
Photo: My "Holder Breakfast," consisting of three eggs, homesyle potatoes, links sausages, biscuits and gravy, and coffee... for only $5.95! Yes, that includes three HUGE sausage links, and a bottomless coffee cup. Wow! This breakfast is a true trucker's delight!
Despite the slow service, Truck Inn provides great food, with outstanding value. I commented to Niki on the huge size of the sausage links, and she giggled and told me that a lot of customers comment on the size of the sausage links. These sausage links aren't your daddy's links! The waitresses repeatedly apologized to us for the slow service, so I can criticize management, rather than the wait staff, as they were performing their jobs, with the best tools that they had, and I can admire folks like that perform their jobs under stressful conditions, yet continue with a friendly, can-do attitude.
Photo: I couldn't resisit taking a snapshop inside the busy kitchen of the Truck Inn. At the time of our visit, the kitchen staff numbered three hard-working individuals.
Note that CA truckers that posess a valid C.D.L. get a whopping 20% their already low menu prices, and that also includes a free non-alcoholic drink such as coffee, tea or soft drinks. Such a deal!
Would I visit Truck Inn again? Damn straight, as the restaurant provides true Americana ambiance, truck-stop cuisine, served at very reasonable prices. Not to mention, the place features a casino, and just about every service the Interstate traveler could desire. Highly recommended!
Photo: July 25, 2008: The parking lot is empty, the windows are boarded up, and the last cup of coffee has been served.
July 25, 2008: Sadly, Truck Inn is closed. I talked to a former employee, Cheryl, who told me that the restaurant served the last cup of coffee on June 13, 2008, at 11:59 PM.
Truck Inn and Casino
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