Space Age Lodge and Restaurant - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Space Age Lodge and Restaurant

Gila Bend, Arizona

A lingering bit of Space Race nostalgia lies in the middle of the desert. 


While traveling on I-8 between Phoenix and San Diego, consider stopping by the Space Age Lodge and Restaurant. Originally built in 1965, it was designed by Al Stovall, a man who made his fortune in the plastics and metals industries during World War II.

Mr. Stovall designed five space-themed hotels: four in Anaheim, California (just near Disneyland) and one in Pima Bend, Arizona. The Pima Bend location is the only remaining hotel designed by Stovall that has retained its Jetsons-like feel. The lobby entrance is topped with a UFO with outer space seen throughout the decor—even the umbrella table by the pool is a flying saucer.

The original Space Age restaurant caught fire in 1998—owners claimed that it was attacked by aliens but a  malfunctioning neon sign appears to be the more likely culprit—but was rebuilt with the same outer space theme.

Inside are murals depicting astronauts and spaceships, including the USS Enterprise. The food is typical diner fare with out-of-this-world names like the Jupiter Burger (cheeseburger with grilled onions and bacon). If you want a piece of nostalgia to take home, there are coffee mugs for sale with the iconic sign on them.

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