Great local restaurants and watering holes

by Eliza Myers 21. June 2013 19:00

We asked the staff of The Group Travel Leader, "What's a great local restaurant or watering hole that you've discovered on the road?" Here are some wonderful places to keep in mind when you're on the road.

"Best dive bar hands down goes to Veets Bar in downtown Mobile, Alabama. It’s cold beer, live music and bartenders with so much personality that they should have their own reality show. Veets is the real deal."

— Stacey Bowman,
Director, Advertising Sales

"Meers is the only thing that remains of a once bustling mining town called Meers, Oklahoma. The restaurant serves the best burgers I’ve ever had, and the atmosphere is great. Check it out at Now, I am starving."

— Donia Simmons,
Creative Director

"I’ve tried, and I agree: You can’t go home again. Likewise, I’m beginning to think you can’t find good barbecue anywhere but home. I’m from Paducah in extreme western Kentucky, where I grew up eating barbecue unlike any I’ve had anywhere else. When I go home and especially when I’m visiting with old friends, barbecue is essential. If you’re ever in or even near Paducah, I recommend Harned’s Drive-In, home of old-fashioned barbecue and the friendliest, most energetic carhops around. I’ll have a large/hot, please."

— David Brown,
Art Director

"Throughout my years of travel, I have had the opportunity to eat at some terrific locally owned restaurants. Here are three that stand out in my mind: Felix’s Fish Camp in Mobile, Alabama, has the most amazing shrimp and grits. Steel Restaurant and Lounge in Atlanta is known for its signature Chilean sea bass — and it’s to die for. Local Gastropub in Memphis, Tennessee, has an avocado stuffed with crabmeat on the appetizer menu. It’s so fantastic I made a meal out of it."

— Kelly Tyner,
Director, Sales and Marketing

"Sometimes, the best trips are trips home. My favorite local joint is Ferrell’s Hamburgers in Hopkinsville, Kentucky: hand-patted hamburgers on a 50-year-old grill, 10 seats at the counter. The only thing green about this place is the waitresses’ aprons."

— Mac Lacy,

"I had a fantastic lunch last fall at Nellie’s, a small local joint in Las Cruces, New Mexico, that serves authentic New Mexican food. My heaping plate of chicken enchiladas came smothered with some of the most amazing green chile sauce I’ve ever tasted, and topped with a fried egg. I had never eaten enchiladas with an egg before, but the experience was so blissful that I now order a fried egg on top every time I go out for Mexican food."

— Brian Jewell,
Executive Editor

"George Street in Newfoundland, Canada, has not just one great local bar but several fun hangouts all in a row. The two-block district is said to have the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America. I loved meeting all of the friendly Newfoundland locals at spots like Trapper John’s and Lottie’s Place, and hearing their recommendations for which pub I should try next."

— Eliza Myers,
Online Editor

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Staff Soundoff

“What is your secret to passing the time on a long flight?”

by Eliza Myers 24. April 2013 19:36

The staff at The Group Travel Leader, Inc. relate their secrets to passing time on a long flight.

"Fortunately, I have trained myself to sleep on long flights. As long as I have my travel pillow and don’t stare at any bright screens for too long, I drift off into a sort of half-slumber. Ideally, that way I’ll be a little more rested after I arrive."
Eliza Myers,
online editor

"E-readers have been a salvation for me. Long flights are a great time for uninterrupted reading. Instead of having to choose one or two heavy books, I now have a whole library on my Nook and iPad. Of course, I also work in a nap."
Herb Sparrow,
senior writer

"As a mom, passing the time really means keeping my 3-year-old son occupied. This basically involves having a stash of all of his favorite treats, a backpack full of crayons, coloring books, cars and of course his headphones and DVD player with as many DVD options as possible. It’s all about keeping him quiet in order to keep the peace on the airplane and not have the business travelers giving me the evil eye if he starts getting too loud!  If I am alone on a plane trip the answer is simple — I sleep!"
Laura Camic,
sales manager

"My answer is iTunes and an iPad.  Currently on long flights I’m reading “I’m Your Man,” a biography of Leonard Cohen, and listening to Van Morrison’s "Astral Weeks.'"
Mac Lacy,

"I’ve flown twice in the past 17 years, so I asked John Brewer, vice president of sales, Aetrex Worldwide, who flies about 200 days a year for his answer. He said “I get some very good sleep on flights between eight and 18 hours. I watch a lot of movies on long flights.

“Then there is always work to keep me busy. I actually enjoy long flights.  It is a time that’s just mine, no phones, no emails.”
David Brown,
art director

"Long flights give me a great opportunity to catch up on my favorite podcasts. As soon as we’re allowed to switch on electronic devices, I queue up an episode of “Stuff You Should Know,” “Freakonomics” or “The Dave Ramsey Show.” You may also find me playing games like pinball or Tetris on my iPhone while I listen."
Brian Jewell,
executive editor

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