I was traveling from Flagstaff to Phoenix on I-17 and I needed gas. OK, in the back of my mind I was remembering the rave reviews of the pie at Rock Springs Cafe, so when Exit 242 came up, it was decided. That would be my gas stop.
Expensive Gas, Snakes and Knives
The gas station was a little more expensive than others. But it was in a convenient place and it was beyond interesting. The wooden signs on the side of the office indicated that I could find "curios," "rattlesnakes," and more inside. Since I had to pay before pumping (old fashioned pumps don't take credit cards), I had another excuse to pass the Cigar Store Indian and enter the dark store. Inside a pleasant woman directed me to the "yellow case" to see the rattlesnakes. They were very intimidating but also very far from alive. Inside the display case by the register were tons of collectors knives. Rock Creek must be in need of lots of knives! And yes, there were curios amongst the potato chips and colas for sale.
I asked the friendly woman in the store about the pie repuatation. She readily agreed that the Rock Springs Cafe was famous far and wide for their pies. "They even sell them by the slice," she offered.
So after losing my shirt at the gas pump, I headed for the very simple old white buildings with the Rock Springs Cafe sign. What I found was an equally dark cafe with lots of happy customers enjoying hamburgers, bar-b-que, and, of course, slices of pie.
It was clear that I was new to Rock Springs. I went to the register and told the woman I was interested in a pie. She shoo'd me off to the next room. The woman in that room, shoo'd me back to the cafe. Once the waitress explained the process to me, I understood. The pies are kept in a cooler in the second room. They are self serve. You select the white pie box marked with the pie flavor from the case, carry the pie back to the register at the cafe and pay. I selected a blackberry pie with crumb crust. It was mighty heavy. I lugged it to the register and paid my $11.95.
Once in the car, I perused the menu they gave me. Wow! It looked worth a return trip. I had passed up such delicacies as Hogs in Heat pork and Bradshaw Mountain Oysters (No, not seafood. Oysters are what's left over when a calf is castrated. Get it?)
I also found out that they Have a Hogs in Heat Bar-b-que and Nut Fry the first Saturday of the Month with live music. Sounds fun!
Rock Springs Cafe History
Rock Springs has a long and colorful history as an Indian encampment, stage stop and watering hole for miners, drovers and sheephearders.
The first commercial use of the property was in 1920 when Ben Warner, built a canvas covered store during the time the adobe blocks for the new Hotel and General Store were made. This opened in 1924. The hotel housed some notable people as well as provided comfort to those traveling to the gold and silver mines in the Bradshaw Mountains. Jean Harlow was a guest at the hotel. The Goldwater Family, including Senator Barry Goldwater, were frequent visitors stopping to rest and savor some of Rock Springs' famous blackberry pie. (Source: Rock Springs Cafe Menu)
When You Go
Location: Rock Springs Cafe, 35769 S. Old Black Canyon Highway, Rock Springs, AZ, 85324. Interstate 17 and Exit 242
Phone: (623) 374-5794
Hours:Sun-Thu 7am-9pm, Fri-Sat 7am-10pm
Website (Yes! Website!)
Buying Pies - Rock Springs Cafe sells 45,000 pies a year! You can call ahead to reserve your pie.