Burgers, onion rings, and root beer, it's not exactly the feast that comes to mind when envisioning a cuisine for a queen. However that was the spread when Oprah Winfrey, the "Queen of Media" stopped in, unannounced, to Mr. D'z Diner off old route 66 in Kingman, Arizona.
So Photographer Nolan Tornquist and I decided to follow in the footsteps of the billionaire and head to the 50’s style burger joint. Oprah traveled in from Las Vegas, Nevada as part of her "Road Trip" with best friend Gayle King. The cross country trip which started in Santa Barbara, California and ended in New York City, lasted 11 days and kicked off her season premier this past week. Although we didn’t travel in from "Sin City" our route from Flagstaff into Mojave County was about a three hour trek. According to "O" they were supposed to eat healthy but whatever diet was planned was quickly pushed to the side once pulling up to the bright teal and pink building. This former gas station built in the 1930's is now decorated with Rock-N-Roll memorabilia with a focus on filling YOU up as opposed to your car.
To the surprise of all in the restaurant, including Armando Jimenez who has leased the building for the last six years, Oprah walked through the back door with her entourage of about twenty people. Her comment to the waitress "I heard you had the best burgers and root beer on Route 66?" Did someone say root beer? Oprah must have heard about their creamy caramel flavored root beer. Now I have had root beer before, but this takes your mouth to a whole new level. So where did this stuff come from?
The owner of Mr. D'z actually had someone concoct this beverage from something he had in the past. Scott Dutton, whose father Roy used to be called "Mr. D" opened the restaurant back in 1992. Prior to opening he wanted to locate a root beer he used to drink at the World Fair in the 50's. However, upon searching for what was called "XXX Root Beer" he found that it was no longer made. So he hired a company to make a creamy root beer. Once they came up with a recipe the entire Dutton family agreed that was the right creaminess for their root beer. But Scott wasn't satisfied yet, he asked the manufacturer to add caramel. BAM! Now you have "Mr. D'z Creamy Caramel Flavored Root Beer." Let me tell you it is absolutely TONGUE TANTALIZING. Oprah liked it so much she had the Jimenez family make her a root beer float to go and then requested 17 cases for her entire studio audience.
Although the root beer was the highlight of the trip, Mr. D’z burgers and onion rings were FABULOUS. Not a bad day to follow in the footsteps of a billionaire. Hopefully eating the same food Oprah ate will translate to her fortune.
Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner
105 East Andy Devine Avenue, Kingman