PCS: A Chance at Great Food


There are so many pros to military life. But of all the awesome perks of being a military spouse, my favorite is the opportunities I have had to eat the country. We have lived in four different states during the last seven years, which means we have gotten to chance to sample cuisine from coast to coast.

But on the flip side, I have also had to leave behind my favorite eating establishments when we move to our next duty station. After leaving friends behind, this is my second least favorite part of military life. When we reminisce about the places we lived, the restaurants we left behind are always part of the conversation.

It’s common knowledge that most Army posts are not located near cities known for culinary excellence. However, you might be surprised to learn that some of the best, and most diverse food I have ever eaten, can be found near some of the most unlikely Army posts. And by the way, I grew up as a city girl, so that says a lot.

The best Turkish food I have ever had was at a hole in the wall joint outside the gate of Fort Bragg. It’s right next door to an awesome Thai restaurant. Hands down the best Sushi was at a restaurant near Fort Benning. The best french fries were at a dinner in Watertown, NY (home of Fort Drum). I really could go on an on.

So how do you find these gems without risking your intestinal happiness in the process? Here are my three tips for finding the best food at your new duty station.

1. Ask around. Locals are my favorite people to ask right off the bat. But,  I also like to ask other military folks that have been in the area for a long time.

2. Google is your friend when it comes to finding new places to eat. Internet websites like Yelp are great for finding reviews of potential spots. I have been steered in the right direction many times by using this site.

3. Be brave! Try new restaurants even if your are skeptical, especially if they come highly recommend. Like I said, some of my favorite places haven’t been in the best location or don’t look great from the outside. And some of the worst places I have eaten are ones that look great on the outside. Never judge a book by it’s cover, so to speak.

What are some of the best places to eat where you have been stationed and how did you find them?

About the Author

Erin is an Army wife of seven years and the mother of two little girls. Her Army wife resume includes five deployments, five PCS moves, four duty stations, and a few stints volunteering with the family readiness group. She has been documenting her family's military life experience since 2008 on her blog The Unexpected Army Life.
  • Chrissy

    El Paso, TX, home of Fort Bliss, has the most amazing Mexican food (obviously, with the proximity!) The more hole-in-the-wall it looks, the more authentic it is. The seafood around here? Ehh…not so great. But then again I’m seafood-spoiled being from Maryland!

    To find great new restaurants we rely on websites like Yelp, Groupons (might as well try it if it’ll be a steal!), word of mouth, and the old drive by: “hey this looks like an interesting place, want to try it?”

  • Erica

    Stationed at Ft. Bliss as well, AND being Mexican, I am skeptical of the Mexican food. But I agree with Chrissy above, the worse the outside looks, the better the food is! Casita Linda, Gallegos buffet are two of our favorites. For Korean food, we love Kal Bi House!
    Basically we do the same thing, we drive around and stop at interesting places! :)

  • Rquick

    I swear by Yelp! I’ve found some great places at Campbell. I also love to review places. Don’t forget to add your take on yelp to help others!

    • Amy_Bushatz

      Have you tried Kelly’s Big Burgers yet? It is goooood. Good like maybe we dont actually need Five Guys. And I can’t believe I’m saying that.
      Also that Tropicana place on Tiny Town, right off 41A is delicious. Totally sketch looking, but really good.

  • I can soooo relate. I have one favorite restaurant (and sometimes many more) for each of the 10 places we’ve lived. So true that you can’t judge a restaurant by it’s appearance.

    I live near Bragg now, so I’m going to try out the Turkish place!