BENSON – The Horseshoe Cafe neon sign caught my eye. This quaint restaurant has greeted diners along the main thoroughfare through Benson since the 1940s. The second story was added later to accommodate a casino. Before it’s doors could open, gambling ceased in Southern Arizona. The now vacant second floor has been a barbershop, lawyer’s office and even family residence.
Inside, the colorful journey continues with murals from cowboy artist Vern Parker (1899-1978). And smack dab in the middle of the café you’ll find three wooden posts covered in brands from ranches throughout Southern Arizona. A feast for the eyes before you even see the menu, which is loaded with Americana favorites like chicken fried steak. I recommend the biscuits and scrumptious blackberry pie.
And as a bonus, you can sip on spirits from the Palomino room and hear stories of unexplained shadows, footsteps and voices inside the cafe.
Walking through the Horseshoe Cafe’s doors is like stepping back in time, right down to the jukeboxes, furniture and décor. If you’re driving through, be sure to stop at 154 East 4th Street.