Tourist Tip #205 Dining With Elvis

The Elvis Inn is a 1950s-style diner in the Judean Hills that dishes up American-Middle East fusion - and hails The King.

Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
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Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster

Nestled in the rocky, lightly forested hills near Latrun is the Israeli Arab village of Abu Ghosh. If you are driving from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and take the second exit (of two) to the village, you will see a gas station, and next to that, you will see a 16-foot statue of Elvis.

That marks your arrival at the Elvis Inn, which despite its name doesn't offer accommodation. What it does offer is a hot meal and a paean to The King, seven days a week from early morning, around 7 A.M. until the last diner leaves toward midnight.

The Elvis Inn is designed as a 1950s-style diner, though the fare might more properly be described as American-Middle East fusion. It dishes up burgers and French fries and hummus as well, and while chowing down on that, chops or kebab, you can feast your eyes on photographs spanning Elvis' career on every wall of the joint while The King croons in the background on an endless loop.

If you time your visit for January 8, the anniversary of the King's birthday, you will be treated to the annual pilgrimage of Israel's Elvis impersonators, dressed to the nines and vying in heavily-accented baritones to knock out his hits.

If you haven't absorbed enough of the Elvis experience by the time you leave, the restaurant also offers an Elvis memorabilia schlock shop that wouldn't shame Graceland.

As for the bathroom, the decor is purely psychedelic.

Prices are mid-range but the experience is priceless, whether for fans or for that chance to ask yourself why on earth there is a paean to the Pelvis in the middle of the Judean Hills.

Address: Route 4115, by the Neve Ilan gas station.

Phone: (02) 534-1275. The place is quite large. You don't normally need a reservation, but if coming at peak lunch or dinner hour during tourism season, it wouldn't hurt.

Parking: Not a problem. And in contrast to some reviews on Internet – yes, the Elvis Inn does accept credit cards.

The Elvis Inn: Israel's own little piece of Graceland.Credit: Dan Keinan
Elvis Presley portraying a honky-tonk performer on the midway in this photo from the 1964 MGM film 'Roustabout.'Credit: AP

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