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Dining In An Antique Railroad Car in Willcox Arizona - A Restaurant Review

Updated on October 27, 2009

Situated along Interstate-10 in Arizona just east of the New Mexico border and laying about halfway between Phoenix, Arizona and El Paso, Texas is the city of Willcox.

Originally founded in 1880 as a minor stop for the Southern Pacific Railroad, the city grew and was incorporated in 1915. The area is ideal for cattle ranching and this, plus being a stop for the railroad resulted in the city becoming a major center for cattle raising.

While cattle are still important to the local economy, agriculture is also important with cotton being a major product earlier in its history.

While the railroad still passes through the city, the main transportation link today is Interstate-10 which crosses the southern border of the United States linking Atlanta on the East Coast with Los Angeles on the West Coast.  
Interstate-10 is the major southern thoroughfare for the transportation of both goods and tourists and Willcox caters to both with the cattle, cotton, pecans and other crops it ships to the rest of the nation along with its growing U-Pick farms and wineries that cater to tourists.  Willcox is also a convenient jumping off point for visitors to nearby Chchise Stronghold recreation area and those hiking to the ruins of nearby Fort Bowie.
Whether you are spending a day or so visiting the sites in the Willcox area or simply driving past on Interstate-10 and if you are hungry or just looking for a unique dining experience swing by Big Tex BBQ for a meal.

While the railroad still passes through the city, the main transportation link today is Interstate-10 which crosses the southern border of the United States linking Atlanta on the East Coast with Los Angeles on the West Coast.

Interstate-10 is the major southern thoroughfare for the transportation of both goods and tourists and Willcox caters to both with the cattle, cotton, pecans and other crops it ships to the rest of the nation along with its growing U-Pick farms and wineries that cater to tourists. Willcox is also a convenient jumping off point for visitors to nearby Chchise Stronghold recreation area and those hiking to the ruins of nearby Fort Bowie.

Whether you are spending a day or so visiting the sites in the Willcox area or simply driving past on Interstate-10 and if you are hungry or just looking for a unique dining experience swing by Big Tex BBQ for a meal.

Sign outside the restaurant
Sign outside the restaurant

A Bit of History With Your Dinner

Situated in an old red railroad car at 130 E. Maley St. in Willcox and in the immediate vicinity of the Willcox Historic District, the old train depot (which is now the Willcox City Hall) and Rex Allen Theater and memorial, the restaurant provides good food in an old time atmosphere.

While Barbecue (Bar-B-Q or BBQ) appears to be their specialty, the menu includes a number of other western and traditional American casual dining meal and sandwich selections. The food is very good with hearty serving sizes and reasonable prices. The service was friendly and fast the two times my wife and I have visited so far.

If you have time after your meal, you can enjoy a stroll down S. Railroad Ave. through the historic district with its old buildings and monument, theater and museum all dedicated to 1940s cowboy singer and cowboy star Rex Allen who hailed from Willcox.

Close up of the top of the sign
Close up of the top of the sign
View of the restaurant
View of the restaurant
Larger street view of restaurant
Larger street view of restaurant

Inside the Dining Car

View of dining area inside the restaurant
View of dining area inside the restaurant
My dinner - Texas Brisket Sandwich
My dinner - Texas Brisket Sandwich
Old coal fired heater in the restaurant
Old coal fired heater in the restaurant
An old railroad car across the street from Train station which appears to be being prepared to be put on display.
An old railroad car across the street from Train station which appears to be being prepared to be put on display.
Old Southern Pacific Railroad station which is now used as the Wilcox City Hall
Old Southern Pacific Railroad station which is now used as the Wilcox City Hall
Rex Allen Monument in Railroad Avenue Park
Rex Allen Monument in Railroad Avenue Park

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    • Chuck profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nugent 7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Pollyannalana - thanks for visiting my Hub and for commenting.

      As for feeling safe, I presume that you are referring to the border problems here in Arizona. I live in Tucson and haven't seen any problems here. My wife and I have taken day trips to Santa Cruz and Chocise counties which are south of us and are on the border but haven't seen any problems. However, I wouldn't go driving or camping in the remote areas in the mountains along the border at night and even in the day time stick to main highways and avoid wilderness areas where the trouble tends to be.

      We have also have stopped crossing over in to Mexico in recent months because of the problems.

      Thanks again.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

      Beautiful place, do you feel safe there? Polly

    • teendad profile image

      teendad 7 years ago from Richmond, VA

      I've actually been by the city on a trip to Arizona but we didn't stop. Interesting hub.

    • Dao Hoa profile image

      Dao Hoa 7 years ago

      Nice pictures. Thank you for sharing.

    • Carol the Writer profile image

      Carolyn Blacknall 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Another great hub about an unusual place. Sounds like we all need to visit Arizona and check this out! - Carol

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Neat pictures. Looks like a place I would like to visit.

    • profile image

      lyricsingray 7 years ago

      what a great idea for a hub-thanks! kimberly

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