Gila Bend, Arizona: Stovall's Space Age LodgeThe exterior is eye-catching, and the interior of the bubble dome above the motel check-in counter is worth a quick peek.
- 401 E. Pima St., Gila Bend, AZ
- I-8 exit 119. North on Butterfield, which veers left onto Pima. Left side, about a mile.
Visitor Tips and News About Stovall's Space Age Lodge
This is a great little restaurant and a real blast from the past! We were raised in the 1960s Space Age and Cold War era. We have a ten-year-old son and we try to raise him in a world more like we knew when we were children. Being able to show him this restaurant and the amazing photos on the wall, which even include a Russian cosmonaut, was great. Not to mention the food was terrific American food much like I grew up with before cholesterol was an issue and no one had ever heard of organic. Our visit was for lunch on the way to Disneyland and we liked it so much we just had to have supper there on our return trip.
If you are on the highway anywhere near Gila Bed you have to stop at this place, especially if you grew up in the sixties. Can't wait for my next excuse to swing by again. The restaurant is also part of a hotel, but we did not stay there as we were only passing through.[Scott, 10/05/2013]
Fantastic! Still as 60's as ever. The place was immaculate. Fun and funky. Don't miss out on this one.[Carla Simmons, 10/29/2007]
Not as impressed on our visit this year. Exterior is eye-catching. Interior space and astronaut paintings are newish renderings from NASA photos of Apollo and shuttle missions -- and a little too slick. The bubble dome above the motel check-in counter was worth a quick peek, illustrated with more manned space travel orthodoxy.
Yeah, the Space Age is going strong, while most of the other motels in Gila Bend seem to be falling over in the photogenic ways. One of those other decaying motels flew the Travelodge flag in Feb 1973, when Burt Reynolds and Sarah Miles were implicated in a murd... well, that's gossip.
From an architectural standpoint the Lodge is far more satisfying than the restaurant. According to the patient front desk clerk, the lodge was first built in '62, partly because of the Zeitgeist, partly because of the Air Force / test pilot connection to the local economy. Occupancy runs fairly high, she said (I believe it; they were already full that day, in the late afternoon). The pool out front is gorgeous kitsch, the 41 rooms are supposed to be cool too, it's well-run, and a blissful chunk of Roadside America. The restaurant, on the other hand, is less Elroy Jetson and more James T. Kirk.[Walt Lockley, 06/09/2001]
Photo added July 2006.
The Space Age Restaurant, in Gila Bend is alive and well. After the fire, a large banner was placed across the structure, informing passers-by that the structure had been ATTACKED BY ALIENS. As a regular patron, I was disappointed at driving fifty miles to have breakfast there, only to find the place burnt down. I felt that this should have been front page news, and that the media had, once again, failed to inform.
However, all's well that ends well. The Space Age has been resurrected, in most of its former glory. From the outside, it looks the same, flying saucer and all. The inside is more modern, cleaner, but considerably less funky. The new murals in the restaurant are interesting, but don't quite measure up to the old ones from the sixties. They have that new yuppie low-voltage can lighting that hangs from two clotheslines. I think the food (breakfast is all I ever have there) is fine, especially the chorizo and eggs.[Jay Styron, 09/29/1999]
The "great flying saucer restaurant" is no more. The Space Age Restaurant, which was built in the '60s during the space race, caught fire 10/21/98, when a neon sign shorted out and the roof caught on fire. The hotel next door wasn't damaged, but the restaurant was nearly burned to the ground. There's no word yet on whether they plan to rebuild.
An update: The Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend reopened several months ago. I haven't had a chance to go in yet, but the outside has been restored to its former glory, complete with neon and the tacky UFO on the roof.[Nicklby, 08/01/1999]