Driving Safety Linda Gorman

While Arizona is home to several upscale dining establishments that meet the most discriminating palates, the state is also home to several fun and kitschy places to nosh at as well. Whether diners are on a road trip or just seeking out the unusual, below are some suggestions for AAA One and Two Diamond restaurants known for their quirkiness as much as their food.

One and Two Diamond restaurants offer a unique or budget-conscious way to enjoy a delicious meal. Here’s the lowdown on AAA’s picks for unique and unusual One- and Two Diamond eateries:

• Beaver St. Brewery & Whistle Stop Café (Flagstaff): Located just a block away from Flagstaff’s historic train station, this brewery features great fondue, pizza, and tasty suds amid a seasonal outdoor beer garden that offers stunning views of the San Francisco Peaks. Sample a variety of the brewery’s house beers for 75 cents each. If beer’s not your thing, an expansive menu with a cornucopia of tasty choices is sure to please any palate.

• Haunted Hamburger (Jerome): Perched on the side of Mingus Mountain, this eatery is known for offering patrons a taste of the supernatural. Even if you don’t see spirits inside this quaint restaurant, go for the giant burgers, tasty fries, and friendly service. When the weather’s nice, be sure to dine outside while enjoying the picturesque views of Jerome.

• Rustler’s Rooste (Phoenix): Established in 1971, the legend goes that this was once a hideout for cattle rustlers. Today, it’s a cowboy steakhouse with unforgettable views that serves unique fare including rattlesnake. The Western atmosphere also includes live country music nightly and stunning views of the Phoenix skyline. Start your visit by checking out the indoor waterfall and taking the slide into the dining room, and end your evening with a sweet treat of cotton candy.

• Space Age Restaurant (Gila Bend): Touristy, yes. But it’s a decent place on a long stretch of road to stop in and grab a bite — or take some pictures of the flying saucer on the roof. Diners rave about the breakfasts, from the flying saucer pancakes to the huevos con chorizo.

• Screaming Banshee Pizza (Bisbee): In a town already full of character, the Screaming Banshee adds its own personality to the mix. Its brick oven pizzas produce a variety of unusual and fresh ingredients, and efficient, friendly service keeps the regulars happy.

AAA has been inspecting and approving lodgings for 75 years. The Diamond Rating system is the only system that covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Annually, AAA evaluates more than 58,000 lodging establishments and restaurants, and rates them on a scale of One to Five Diamonds.

• Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or lgorman@arizona.aaa.com.

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