“Amazing Sunday Brunch A+++++” – August 2016 -Great Sunday Brunch Buffet. My wife and I go twice a month. The food is hot and fresh. Great service , Very Clean .. My family enjoys supporting small businesses.
“Great Food, Fun Atmosphere” Reviewed May 19, 2013 My husband and I stopped here while on a weekend visit in STL after seeing it featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. We were not disappointed. I ordered the shrimp po’ boy. The “special sauce” it was served with was delicious!! The waffle fries were tasty as well. My husband ordered the BBQ sampler. The smoked chicken was his favorite (it also included ribs and pulled pork). The flavor of the BBQ sauce was different, but so good! The portions were huge, neither one of us could finish! The food tasted homemade and the prices were reasonable. We will definitely be back next time we are in STL!!
“Louisiana Detours Through St. Louis” Reviewed April 16, 2013 Common reaction when inviting someone to Hwy 61 Roadhouse – “Where is Hwy. 61?” Well Louisiana but we get the Roadhouse. Great Cajun food with a few St. Louis twists. The jambalaya, etouffee, red beans and rice rival anything I’ve found south of Memphis. However, the fried ravioli and the pork steak on the menu tell you you are still in St. Louis. We started with the hot crab dip and the house specialty Cajasian Potsticker., Potstickers filled with andouilee sausage and chili sauce. Unique and delicious. The etouffee order was huge, delicious, and too spicy for the person who ordered it. Warning to St. Louis palates the Cajun food is authentic and far spicier than the bland copies you are used to.. However, the chicken breast stuffed with andouille sausage was surprisingly mild even with the andouille cream sauce. It was however quite well received. The Roadhouse also has a smoker and both smoked meat dishes and some unexpected mixes with smoked meats appear on the menu. Both the ribs and the shrimp were smoked to perfection.The lower level has a stage and they schedule both open mic nights and groups to perform. The upper dining room is more remote from the stage and more conducive to conversation. Dinner for three with appetizers, Hurricanes, but no desert came to about $90. The Sunday brunch looks interesting and worth a visit.
“Great place to eat if you are visiting the area” Reviewed March 27, 2013 Nice New Orleans atmosphere. I had the BBQ Spaghetti, pulled pork waffle fries and the mac and cheese. The nightly specials were great. We ended up getting two appetizers for the price of one. We decided to go there after seeing the Roadhouse featured on Food Network Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Glad we found this place.
St. Louis Riverfront Times
Riverfron Times Best Comfort Food 2007 The subject of the blues may be misery, but the result is often comfort. By sharing our pain with one another, we begin to heal. Some gooey, stick-to-your-ribs grub usually helps speed along the process. You’ll find both the blues and the grub at Hwy 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen in Webster Groves, which celebrates the music and food of that fabled Blues Highway running from New Orleans to Memphis to St. Louis. So you can heal your broken heart with St. Louis-cut spare ribs in a peppery, tangy barbecue sauce or, for a Memphis-style treat, spaghetti and pulled pork topped with that same sauce. Louisianan dishes are fantastic, especially the shrimp-and-crawfish étouffée and fried tamales. Portions are huge, so even if your woman done left you, you’ll have enough to share if she done change her mind and come back.
Joe and Ann Pollack, St. Louis’ most experienced food writers, lead a tour of restaurants, wines, shops and other interesting places. When we travel, you will travel with us. When we eat, drink, cook, entertain or read, we’ll share our knowledge and opinions. Come along for the ride!! Copyright 2008 Joe Pollack and Ann Lemons Pollack
We definitely don’t consider ourselves food snobs. Any regular reader knows we get as excited over a good corn dog as we do over a beautifully prepared chunk of foie gras. But we got a little suspicious when we walked into Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen. It looks an awful lot like one of those mass-produced theme restaurants full of fake memorabilia from The Good Old Days. The general focus is on the road that runs from St. Louis to New Orleans via the Mississippi Delta. (And Ann’s hometown; hello, Desloge!) Murals with well-known musicians who cut their chops along the highway line one wall.
It’s popular. Early on a Friday evening, the joint was jumping, and not just with the live music. Multigenerational family groups, office parties, theater-bound couples, all chowing down on the wide-ranging menu. There are St. Louis items like gooey butter cake and New Orleans’ barbecued shrimp, but just as much attention is paid to the food of the rural South. And that’s mostly where we went prowling. If rural South is not a favorite, there’s pizza, steaks, seafood and a dish described as “St. Louis famous onion soup.”
Stuffed mushrooms were immense, filled with what’s advertised as a mixture of shrimp, crab, crawfish and artichokes. The seafood taste was mild – we’d skipped the Asiago cheese that normally comes on top, a move that turned out to let us savor the seafood more – and it stayed nice and moist. The sauce served alongside looked like a remoulade, but turned out to be a mild, cheese-ish dip. (Next visit we’re investigating the killed salad, which is what used to be called wilted lettuce.)
A barbecue sampler gave us some excellent ribs, moist and richly flavored, chewy at the edges, with lots more meat than bone. The chicken quarter was white meat that had also stayed moist, not always easy with the front parts of the bird. Only the pulled pork disappointed with a strange, soft texture, managing to be, simultaneously, both grainy and mushy. St. Louisans should mostly approve of the barbecue sauce, a tomato-based sweet-sharp one. Baked beans had also been on the fire too long, losing texture, but keeping their molasses/brown sugar/green pepper flavor intact. Slaw, we’d bet, has some shredded or chopped apple in it, giving a fresh note to the whole thing.
We’re both fond of the fish known hereabouts as jack salmon, although it’s called whiting in most the rest of the nation. The critter’s flesh is mild and it’s extremely easy to debone, a good fish for kids to gain some expertise in knife-and-forkery. Offered as a special, a pair of them came out hot and fresh, nicely seasoned and not overcooked. Something called “cream corn souffle” was intriguing, and delicious, too. It was a six-inch metal pan filled with something very close to cornbread, although considerably moister, topped with a ping-pong ball-sized blob of honey butter. Thinking of days in the South, and even in Little Dixie, we simply had to order something called BBQ spaghetti. Forget al dente, of course, although fear not; it was less mushy than Chef Boy-Ar-Dee. The pasta, credited to Memphis, was heavy with the sweet-tangy barbecue sauce although mostly missing the promised “chunks of pulled pork.” We saw three small pieces of meat. But it was goofily good, the sort of thing the mom of a childhood pal might have put on the table one night when you stayed for supper.
We’ll try The King, a French-toasted PB and banana sandwich, on the next visit, and a gooey butter cake variation described as Ragin’ Cajun Chocolate. This time, we went for the lemon icebox pie. For those who didn’t had this particular dish in their past, this is a lemon version of key lime pie, the lemon juice thickening the condensed milk and the whole thing poured into a graham cracker crumb crust. It’s deeply homey, especially since it’s topped with a huge blob of whipped cream. We’d have liked it more tart, lemon being the point of the whole thing, but that’s a fairly minor complaint.
Amiable service, much more of a beer sort of place than wine, and with a very long list of brewery products. The main dining area tends to be rather noisy from the music, but some relief can be found in a second dining room, a half-flight up. But dinner was a good experience, with tasty dishes, and we were quite content with the Roadhouse, with no pretense toward providing a fine dining experience, but doing what it does extremely well.
By Joe Bonwich
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 11/16/2006
Dogtown musician Bob Case with his wild accusations performs “61 Highway” earlier this month at Highway 61 Roadhouse in Webster Groves.The last time I can remember hearing ragtime playing on a sound system, I was in college. So it was only appropriate that my old college roommate, Tom, a jazz and ragtime pianist of some renown, joined me recently for a meal at Highway 61 Roadhouse, which recently took over the space in Webster Groves previously occupied by Ellie Forcella’s.
Tom now practices his art from New Orleans, so I was able to add a resident’s perspective to my own for the Cajun dishes that pepper the restaurant’s menu. Both for musical styles (live and recorded) and for food, Highway 61 Roadhouse draws from the many influences found along the “Blues Highway” that winds from Louisiana to St. Louis and gives the restaurant its name.
My first glance at the sprawling menu left me skeptical as to whether the kitchen could stay consistent across its full range, but Tom dug several of the New Orleans specialties he tried, and I finished both of my meals duly impressed with the kitchen’s ability to deliver the goods.
Cajun and Creole take precedence on the menu, and dishes in these genres illustrate the good sense of balance chef Steve Meyer has with his seasonings. Some restaurants think that turning up the heat with more and more cayenne pepper is the road to authenticity, but cayenne plays a better role as a tickler of the palate, letting you know it’s there but not drowning out the other herbs and spices in various dishes.
This was the case both with red beans and rice — which was savory-spicy and hot-spicy, but more toward the savory side — and, in a much different sense, with medallions of blackened beef. The latter dish was a small tenderloin cut into four slices of about a half-inch apiece, “dusted with Cajun seasoning,” according to the menu description, and then grilled. Again, any fieriness was an accent rather than a dominant trait, which was especially important given that the tang of Gorgonzola sauce that finished the dish would have been obliterated by too much cayenne.
Seven midsize Louisiana BBQ shrimp were served in a butter-rich sauce suitable to the Louisiana barbecue style. Although serving them shelled to the tail was a convenience for the diner, the trade-off was less sauce being captured by the main body of the shrimp.
Pit-style barbecued meats also occupy space on the menu, and we tried these as a sampler plate, which featured five ribs, a quarter chicken and a portion of pulled pork. The accompanying barbecue sauce was at once tangy and lightly sweet, and each of the meats was moist and had just the right amount of smokiness.
I was also won over by some of the more gimmicky dishes on the menu, specifically BBQ spaghetti and fried tamales.
The style of spaghetti was attributed to Memphis and was essentially spaghetti in barbecue-sauced pulled pork, with the meat managing to retain its moistness even though it had been transferred into another dish.
The tamales were said to come from the Mississippi Delta, and their lineage is much more attributable to the chili-parlor style of tamale than to anything Mexican. And with a tomato sauce, albeit a spicy one, for dipping, they might even pass for a distant cousin of our own local favorite, the toasted ravioli.
St. Louis is explicitly represented by real T-ravs and by a pork steak, neither of which we tried, and by a very good adaptation of gooey butter cake, pairing a classic approach with one made with chocolate.
Lemon icebox pie also was a good finishing dish, very similar in tartness to key lime pie but with definite lemon overtones.
The menu at Highway 61 Roadhouse doesn’t particularly lend itself to wines, but it lists about 10 each of red and white available by the bottle, and seven each by the glass, at moderate prices. Better beverage pairings can be found among a dozen beers on draft and many more by the bottle.
Our service was friendly and relatively casual and familiar; be sure to note the quotations on the back of all the T-shirts.
We loved the music and spent quite a bit of time poring over various performer and geographic murals that cover the walls, but some elements of the atmosphere came up short. For one, the division between smoking and nonsmoking was intangible, with smoke from tables adjacent to the bar liberally infiltrating the adjoining nonsmoking area. And for those of us of a certain age, the lighting at some of the tables made the menu difficult to read.
But you got to pay such dues if you want to sing the blues — and they were a small price to pay for the overall good times at Highway 61 Roadhouse.
Review information from The Saint Louis Post Dispatch
content copied from STLtoday.com Bar Review: Highway 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen
By Thomas Crone October 27, 2006
I remember my first Betamax player well. For those of you too young to remember such things… before the DVD was the VHS player. But at the start of the VHS era, there was this rival system called the Betamax; the tapes were smaller and stout, supposedly a bit more clear. And video stores, for a time, carried both kinds of tape. Between being a sucker for LPs (I’ll spare the truncated history lesson on those here) and an avid viewer of home video, I made my way to Streetside Records in Webster Groves on a near-daily basis, that original Streetside location only a few blocks from my home.
Now, it’s been a long time since the days of Beta and, actually, a bit of a stretch since Streetside inhabited this weirdly cool building on the edge of Webster’s Old Orchard. Called home by a couple restaurants over the years, including a long run as Ellie Forcella, the space has been recently taken over by the Highway 61 Roadhouse, which has been open for four weeks.
The space is fairly impressive, a big, open room with three distinct seating areas. There’s a mezzanine for a bit of deck seating, overlooking the main dining room and the bar area, which has about a dozen four-top tables and another dozen barstools. (Darned high ones, at that.) I sauntered into the bar space and met up with a couple of passersby, whom I wound up knowing. So it was that the three of us sat and enjoyed a couple rooms of discounted, happy hour drafts, settling on Schlaflys and Newcastle, after (sadly) finding out that Stella Artois, Blue Moon and Boulevard options were tapped to emptiness.
The bar’s a neat enough area, with an impressive backbar that’s either a gem that’s been tucked away in a basement or warehouse for 50 years, or a damned nice reproduction of a classic. The area’s got enough room that you don’t feel weird just stopping by for a beer, as if you’re taking up space that the house would like to turnover for diners later.
The bar area also seems like it’d be a good place to catch the live music that’s featured at the Roadhouse on a regular basis, with a group of bands that really would seem about right this kind of room: the Zydeco Crawdaddies, Rondo’s Blues Deluxe, Buffalo Bob and Hudson and Hoo-Doo Cats on the weekends; plus a weekly jam session on Tuesdays.
Not mentioned to date, is the décor of the place, which is dominated by a mix of all the following: Soulard Mardi Gras posters; wall murals of live and dead blues and R&B stars; painted guitars; “outsider”-styled art; and, generally, a ton of references that’ll make you think of a slightly calmer version of chain-styled restaurants, ala House of Blues.
Which is to say, this is a blues bar, though the more hardcore blues heads are still going to gravitate towards the bars south of Busch Stadium. The Roadhouse, meanwhile, will attract a nice, well-heeled audience of residents within a few miles of the Old Orchard location, as well as those looking for some nice happy-hour deals, which are in place every weekday.
For this visitor, at least, the Roadhouse was a fun trip into the ol’ Time Machine.
Review information from 10/27/06 STL Life INSIDESTL.COM
Killer fries, barbecued spaghetti and other reasons to revisit Highway 61 • By Dennis Lowery
Back when I was a wee one, my dad brought me to the building that now houses Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen to help sift through the vinyl at Old Orchard Streetside Records for a favorite album that had long ago been reappropriated by one of his younger siblings.
In grade school, my friends and I walked over so I could spend my hard-earned lawn-mowing money on Iron Maiden (good Lord, someone should have set me straight back then). In high school, we would drive there to get concert tickets and try to purchase Ice-T and N.W.A. tapes even though the new rating system forbade us. Then, in the blink of an eye, the Old Orchard store was gone. Replaced by a restaurant, then another and another and – aw, heck, I lost count. Lots of ’em.
And just recently, karma smiled. This old record store is still a restaurant, but one that’s an homage to the music and food found along the section of Highway 61 that runs from New Orleans to St. Louis, through the Mississippi Delta and Memphis, known as the Blues Highway. Cajun, Creole, down-home Southern, Memphis barbecue and hometown favorites on the same menu? I can’t remember the old layout, but if the intimate stage right next to the dining area is where the blues section used to be, this might just be the perfect reincarnation.
I was pleasantly surprised by two things: the size of the menu and the family-friendly atmosphere. In hindsight, it seems logical that an extensive menu full of selections deeply rooted in huge family gatherings would attract, you know, families. Maybe I should think before I take notes.
Say it with me: crisp, fluffy french fries with sharp, tangy Gorgonzola sauce, topped with bacon and scallions. No wonder there are people of all ages here; these are fries for everyone. (Everyone but bacony, cheesy french fry haters – be gone, you.) Without a wrap of tasso ham (spicy Cajun ham with a taste eerily similar to smoky bacon), skewered shrimp might have been lost to a much-spicier-than-anticipated “herb butter for dippin’.”
Nice grill marks and a slightly salty seasoning punctuate the grilled Provolone, which is laid upon fried pita chips, but it quickly (before it reaches the table) becomes too solid to deal with without a knife and fork. Superb stuffed mushrooms are an admirable balance of earthy mushroom and delicately sweet crab, shrimp, crawfish and Asiago stuffing. With the Cajun meat pies, choose the beef, which is moister and has sweetness and succulence that, surprisingly, the shrimp and crawfish lacks.
Barbecued spaghetti is pure genius. Sweet and tangy barbecue sauce substitutes for marinara, and luscious pulled pork stands in for ground beef. These remarkable substitutions won followers among die-hard pasta fans and the serious barbecue crowd. St. Louis-style spareribs benefited from this same delicious sauce and were smoky and pretty tender to boot. Creamy yet sharp and softly acidic coleslaw really stood up to these dishes, but the sweet grilled corn on the cob had gone just over the hump from perfectly cooked to being a little mushy.
The cedar plank snapper was the one truly ugly dish we encountered, so overcooked that you had to use serious force to even cut it. On the plus side, the other dishes were so plentiful that once we sent this back, we didn’t have to order a replacement to keep anyone from going hungry. Disappointing but not disastrous, both the gumbo and the étouffée had good flavor but were more like soup in consistency than stew. Both could have used more of the trinity (onions, celery and bell peppers) and dark roux for texture.
A 16-ounce strip steak – beefy, moist and tender – was cooked perfectly, a hair shy of medium rare, and topped with a delectably herbaceous butter hinting at salt. Both the green beans, cooked with copious amounts of bacon and a sauce that had sweet Worcestershire heat, and the creamed corn soufflé, thick and crumbly at the edges and gooey in the middle, were excellent accompaniments.
I did not read the menu description and thus thought the stuffed chicken would be a whole stuffed chicken. However, the understated spicy warmth of the stuffed chicken breast had tones of the tasso and andouille stuffing that complemented the chicken but never overpowered it, certainly not easy to do with these particular meats. Sweet potato pie, smothered in all kinds of sugary, caramely, marshmallowy goodness, may as well have been a dessert or, judging from my son’s enthusiasm, the main course for EVERY meal.
If you are drinking, skip the wine (small selection, small pours) and stick with the cocktail menu, in particular the Hurricane. Heck, that almost made the snapper taste good. The ambiance is set with piped-in blues when no live acts are scheduled. Service is young and friendly (and perhaps a little inexperienced), but I think Bob Dylan said it best in his song “Highway 61 Revisited”: “And Louie the King said let me think for a minute, son. And he said yes, I think it can be easily done. Just take every[one] down to Highway 61.”
Review information from Sauce Magazine 12/01/06
Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen is the real deal.
Froeb Article Published Dec 20, 2006 in the Riverfront Times
Although I was born and raised below the Mason-Dixon line, I’m about as Southern as John Kerry. For a shamefully long time, I assumed everything thrown on a grill was barbecue. I thought grits and creamed corn were one and the same.
These days I can consult my fiancée about matters Southern. She was born in Florida, raised in Dallas and went to college in Memphis. Half a decade living in the Midwest has smoothed out her accent some, but she’s still got a hankering for Southern cuisine.
Since Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen opened in Webster Groves in October, few weeks have passed without my fiancée asking whether it was time to visit. Highway 61’s menu is like an encyclopedia of stick-to-your-ribs Southern food — but this alone didn’t account for her excitement.
The real reason, she said, was that Highway 61 has barbecue spaghetti. This, according to her and the restaurant’s menu, is a Memphis tradition. I’d never heard of it, of course, but after a moment’s fear that barbecue spaghetti belongs to the same group of foods as deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese, I decided to trust her.
As it turns out, barbecue spaghetti is exactly what it sounds like: thick-cut spaghetti and pulled pork in Highway 61’s tangy, peppery barbecue sauce. It’s a simple dish, as filling as can be, and if I’d attended college in Memphis, I probably would have eaten it once a day, at least.
U.S. Route 61 starts in New Orleans and ends in the tiny town of Wyoming, Minnesota, but in the mythos of American music and the kitchen of Highway 61 Roadhouse, everything north of St. Louis is boring old blacktop. It’s an iconic road, and basing a restaurant on its food and musical heritage could easily come off as a gimmick and nothing more.
But Highway 61 feels more like a celebration. The restaurant took over the space whose previous tenant was Ellie Forcella, part of local restaurateur Tim Mallett’s Great Restaurants group (Blue Water Grill in Kirkwood, Remy’s in Clayton and Big Sky Cafe a little ways up Old Orchard). Now the cavernous room features a sweeping mural of Route 61’s legendary musicians — too many to count, really, which is why the mural stretches over three high walls. When I ate there during the open-mic blues jam session, the musicians waiting their turn sat with their guitars out, pretending to strum along.
Another night a group of women danced in the narrow space between tables.
The menu developed by owners Bill Kunz and Dave Freese and kitchen manager Steve Meyer is nearly as long as Route 61 itself: barbecue, naturally; seafood, meat and pasta; pizza and burgers; po’ boy and muffaletta sandwiches; nearly two dozen starters, soups and salads. And that’s not to mention the side dishes, several of which are enough for a small meal by themselves, or (if you somehow save room) the desserts.
Almost every starter I tried was good, though the generous portions threatened to end my meals before I ordered any entrées. The standouts: the fried tamales and the andouille arancini. The tamales, from the Mississippi Delta, were crisp and not at all greasy on the outside, and moist inside, with an authentic cornmeal flavor and a piquant note. Arancini, breaded and fried balls of rice, are an Italian specialty. Highway 61 adds andouille sausage and Asiago cheese, and the result is much like the savory, spicy mixture you find inside stuffed peppers.
Waffle-cut French fries drowning in a Gorgonzola cheese sauce were a simple (guilty) pleasure. I also loved the “Louisiana BBQ Shrimp” — or, more accurately, I liked the shrimp but loved the Worcestershire sauce-spiked butter that was served with the shrimp, which I happily soaked up with slices of French bread. The only unsuccessful starter was a thick slice of grilled provolone cheese; it was bland and more chewy than gooey.
From Highway 61’s barbecue pit, you can get pulled pork, spare ribs, a pork steak or chicken, all of it served with the same excellent barbecue sauce that accompanies the barbecue spaghetti. I tried a half-slab of St. Louis-style spare ribs, which were very meaty and tender, with a nice, blush-colored smoke ring and the right touch of smoky flavor to round out the flavor of the sauce.
On my next visit I wanted to try the fillet of red snapper grilled on a cedar plank, but it was sold out, so I ordered chicken breast stuffed with andouille sausage and tasso ham. The boneless, skinless breast was divided into four pieces and topped with “andouille cream sauce.” I couldn’t taste much andouille in the sauce, and the dish as a whole fell flat. The stuffing didn’t have as much kick as the pairing of andouille and tasso might suggest, and the chicken was overdone.
Pan-fried chicken, on the other hand, was excellent. This too was a boneless and skinless breast, but it remained perfectly tender beneath its crisp crust. It was served in a “white gravy,” but its color and flavor suggested a hint of sherry.
I’m not a huge fan of catfish. Wild catfish has an almost oily flavor that I find unpleasant, and farm-raised catfish can be mild to the point of irrelevance. Highway 61’s fried catfish split the difference, with just enough fishiness to stand up to its cornmeal breading. Among the seafood selections, though, I preferred the shrimp-and-crawfish étouffée, which had a mellow and mildly spicy flavor that contrasted nicely with the buttery shellfish.
With your entrées you have your choice of one or two sides. (You can also order them á la carte.) These are the secret weapons of Highway 61, huge portions of just about every Southern comfort-food classic. My disappointment with my stuffed chicken faded with each spoonful of a gumbo dense with chicken and andouille. “Cream corn soufflé” was like cornbread pie — if that description doesn’t sell you, you have no soul — while grilled corn on the cob was, as promised by the menu, like eating popcorn, the texture fluffy, the taste caramel-sweet. Surprisingly, the only dud among the side dishes was the red beans and rice, which was underseasoned.
I could barely walk, let alone consider dessert, after all this food, but I couldn’t resist “The King.” I’ll just let the menu speak for itself here: “Peanut butter and bananas on honey wheat bread dipped in vanilla custard, griddled and topped with shaved chocolate.” Are we sure Elvis didn’t overdose on this? It’s that good. It’s sweet — good Lord, yes, it’s sweet — but not as sweet as you might think. The key is the wheat bread, which provides the ballast (as well as some textural crunch) to keep the dish from tipping into absurdity.
Then again, I’m not the expert on Southern food. My fiancée assures me that Highway 61 is “authentic,” though, and she can’t wait to return.
Actually, her most telling comment came near the end of our first visit. Local favorite Kim Massie was on stage, belting out tunes to a rapidly crowding room. We knew Highway 61 had live music, but we hadn’t checked the schedule for that night and were pleasantly surprised to see Massie.
“This reminds me of so many places in Memphis,” my fiancée said. “You come in to eat and, without meaning to, you get to see someone you’ve always wanted to see.”
It was kind of bittersweet. Even if you don’t drive all the way to Wyoming, Minnesota, there’s too much along Route 61 for most of us to see in one lifetime. But Highway 61 does a pretty good job of capturing the best of that route under one roof, and I’m more than happy to go along for the ride.
More than 40 years ago, Bob Dylan immortalized the legendary blues highway to a generation of music fans with his album “Highway 61 Revisited.” This year, the Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen opened its doors in Webster Groves and began to immerse patrons in the music, food and history of the highway between St. Louis and New Orleans.
The atmosphere was lively among the dinner crowd one early Saturday evening, as the place was packed by 7 p.m. Background music ranged from New Orleans’ Clarence “Frogman” Henry to B.B. King; an Elvis movie played silently on two large TVs at either end of the bar. Three bartenders worked furiously, purveying Hurricanes, draft beers — and wine.
“The people in Webster like wine,” manager-bartender Ryan Meier said. “So we quickly figured out that we can’t be a restaurant here and not have a lot of wines.”
The menu features 10 whites and 10 reds, along with 17 martinis, a dozen microbrews and imports on draft.
A wall-size mural features icons and landmarks associated with the 700 miles of highway, including Preservation Hall, Delta bluesman Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry and Tina Turner. The mural, menu and music pay homage to New Orleans, Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis, river cities responsible for the birth and nurture of American blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and R&B.
An odd building that once housed a record store now is home to this nostalgia-laced spot. The décor harkens back to the Mississippi Delta, complete with murals highlighting notable musicians on the road south from St. Louis. Food expectations are low because it looks so contrived, but there are many surprises in store. Overall, the menu is quite good given it wanders from St. Louis to New Orleans. Barbecue, pizza, Cajun pasta and Delta tamales all show up. Barbecued ribs are moist and smoky without tasting stewed. Side dishes—like green beans and ham, baked beans and charming “cream corn soufflé”—satisfy, while desserts like a french-toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich (called The King) and lemon icebox pie mix the new and the traditional.