Mesa Italiana Restaurant and Sports Bar: An Italian Restaurant in Holbrook
Mesa Italiana Restaurant was a surprisingly good Italian restaurant, especially when you consider the size and location of the town. Open for both lunch and dinner, we enjoyed it enough to eat dinner here twice during our 4 nights in the area. This restaurant features appetizers, fresh pasta with homemade sauces, pizza, and salads. House specialties contain classical choices featuring veal, shrimp, salmon, chicken, and eggplant. There is a nice variety of pastas available, and all dinners include garlic bread and a house salad. There is also a small selection of pizzas. If you enjoy desserts, when we were there you could choose from cheese cake, spumoni, cannoli, bananas foster, tiramisu, tartufo, and hot molten lava cake.
The business has an attached sports bar and grill, where you can order appetizers, steaks or ribs, a hamburger, or basket type food, such as fish or shrimp baskets with fries. We did not eat in the sport’s bar, so I can not evaluate the quality of the food offered in the bar’s grill. The grill is only open during the dinner hour.
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed my meal both nights, but my favorite was the Eggplant Parmesan. It was just the right thickness, with a nice outside breading, and a delicious sauce.
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
Painted Desert Diner: Options for Lunch or Snacks
The Painted Desert Diner is in the building next to the Painted Desert Visitor Center, along with a small store for snacks. Some snacks are also available at the curio shop at Rainbow Forest. We were unable to eat at the diner, as it was closed while we were there, so I can not say if it is good. This is a cafeteria style restaurant, and the only place in the park where you can get a full meal. The diner is run by a concessionaire, and the hours vary seasonally. Call the number I have listed below for further information.
We packed our own lunch to carry into the park, which turned out to be the best thing for us to do anyhow, as we were quite far away from the diner at the time we wanted to eat.
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
Fast food: McDonalds & other restaurants
Holbrook is about 15 to 20 minutes west of The Petrified Forest. You will find all the usual restaurants there. McDonalds etc.
This is a city of 5,000 people and you can get a home cooked meal or fast food. It's right off Interstate 40.
The usual greasy & expensive park fare: Bring your own!
Sadly, many of the park concessions in our country offer the most pitiful food service, greasy, nasty and expensive. I'd love to see that change someday...but in the meantime, be aware that while you can get food at the North & South entrances to the Petrified Forest park, you'd be much better off packing a picnic of your own food.
And LOTS of water, I can't overemphasize that part!!!
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
Painted Desert Visitors Centre & Rainbow Museum: The Only Game In Town
The Painted Desert Visitors Centre located in the northern part of the park offers full amenities including a gas station, restaurant, gift shop, a twenty minute film on the park, and a ranger station.
The restaurant is nothing special but reasonably priced. Then again,you don't really have any option, do you?
The Rainbow Forest Museum located at the south entrance has a small gift shop with a snack bar (for sandwiches, coffee etc.) and a ranger station.
Water can only be found at these two stations.