The Hammond Station Restaurant (54411 Hwy. 395, 760/647-6423, www.tiogalodgeatmonolake.com , $8–20) at the Tioga Lodge serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Choose from the health-conscious vegetarian/spa menu (which includes a number of vegan items), the American menu, or the Mexican menu. If you’re planning a day out hiking or sightseeing, get a sandwich or a wrap from the “Picnic to Go” menu before you leave for the day.
If you’re dining in, expect a small dining room with attractive wrought-iron furniture, plus an ample outdoor seating area perfect for warm summer evenings. The food is tasty, and the service makes you feel like a local even if you’re from far out of town.
A classic American diner, Nicely’s (Hwy. 395 and Fourth St., 760/647-6477, summer daily, winter Thurs.–Mon.) offers friendly service and familiar food to locals and visitors alike. Inside, you’ll find a large dining room with half-circle booths upholstered in vinyl and many other diner-style touches.
The cuisine runs to sandwiches, burgers, and egg breakfasts. Portions are generous, though the service can be slow when the restaurant is busy. Nicely’s opens early and stays open through dinnertime, making it a viable dining option year-round—something of a rarity in the area. This is a good place to take the kids for burgers and fries.
If you’re looking for a Wild West atmosphere and a good spicy sauce, have dinner at Bodie Mike’s Barbecue (51357 Hwy. 395, 760/647-6432, summer only). Use your fingers to dig into barbecued ribs, chicken, beef, brisket, and more. A rustic atmosphere with rough-looking wood, red-check tablecloths, and local patrons in cowboy boots completes your dining experience.
Just don’t expect the fastest service in the world. At the back of the dining room you’ll find the entrance to a small, dark bar populated by local characters. The good news is that the bar serves drinks to the dining room.