Once running from Chicago to Los Angeles, straight through the American heartland, Route 66 was the highway that best symbolized our desire to head West, explore the unknown and drive around a lot.

Once running from Chicago to Los Angeles, straight through the American heartland, Route 66 was the highway that best symbolized our desire to head West, explore the unknown and drive around a lot.

Its spirit lives on many miles east at Roadhouse 66, a bar and restaurant that five weeks ago brightened up a strip of office parks in Worthington.

In its winning attempt to rekindle the spirit of mom-and-pop roadside diners, the joint has become a lively hangout for office softball teams and auto enthusiasts, bikers and blues fans.

If you're not familiar with the Mother Road upon entry, you will be.

The colorful, wood-lined interior is plastered with memorabilia from Route 66, originally established in 1926 and officially removed from the U.S. highway system in 1985. Scores of license plates hang alongside replica signs, vintage gas pumps and fantastic photos capturing the highway's unique character.

The roadhouse theme continues onto the menu, which offers a selection of traditional pub grub with a few interesting twists.

Burgers, sandwiches and dinner baskets run between $5 and $9. There are also salads, soups, blue-plate specials and bottomless coffee for a nickel during Breakfast Club on Friday.

If you're snacking with your nightcap, an appetizer menu is served until 11:30 p.m. This means you can get a pint of beer with Betty Boop's Tickle Pickles - battered and fried dill wedges - or Roadhouse 66 CFB, five strips of chicken-fried bacon served with sausage gravy. (Believe it!)

To wash down the greasy fare, the Roadhouse serves 11 drafts and 50 beers by the bottle. Domestic bottles cost $2, imports $3 - regular prices that shame many happy hours.

A roadhouse wouldn't be a roadhouse without live music, and the bar regularly hosts bands on a multi-tiered back patio that allows for reeling and rocking outside and conversation indoors. To get your kicks on weekdays, check out line dancing, karaoke and more.

Did you know?

Bar owner David Wickline has published two books on Route 66. The two volumes of Images of 66 are interactive photographic journeys along the Mother Road.

Upcoming entertainment

Entertainment's always free at Roadhouse 66, which offers vintage vibes and roadhouse tunes. Here's the schedule for the coming week.

Thursday: Blues open mic

Friday: Weekly cruise-in and oldies party

Saturday: Third Degree Sideburn

Monday: Karaoke with Gozz

Tuesday: Country night with Meg Houchins & DJ Jeff

Wednesday: Bike night with Hurricane Jerry