Meet the Team

Roadie Spotlight

Meet the smiles that light up the Roadhouse!

Our Roadhouse crew is known for their above-and-beyond commitment to service. They’re so focused on making sure you have an excellent Zingerman’s experience that they’ve earned prestigious James Beard award nominations for Outstanding Hospitality two years in a row. If you’ve dined at the Roadhouse, you’ve met some of these sparkling folks. We’d like to give you the pleasure of getting to know the people that make our all-American spot so special.

Dawn Walkowiak

What do you do at the Roadhouse?

I am a server and a bartender. I take care of the guests in multiple ways. I have worked at the Roadhouse for 9 years. My granddaughter Rebecca was born just as started working here, so I’ve been here literally a lifetime.

What is your favorite thing on the Roadhouse menu?

Eggs Benedict. I was not a breakfast person until I started working here. I like it on a Zingerman’s Bakehouse croissant, or on cinnamon raisin toast to make it sweet and savory.

What is your favorite Roadhouse beverage?

Our Rhode island coffee milk with our housemade caramel syrup. As for a cocktail, I love our Buster Brown.

What is your favorite food from another Zingerman’s business?

The Bakehouse croissants. They are SO decadent, delicate, and buttery, I would never make them for myself because they take days. I also love the Bakehouse Palmiers. They are like créme brûlée if créme brûlée was a pastry. Caramelly sugary goodness.

If you had to choose, fried chicken or BBQ?

I would choose fried chicken! it has enough seasoning that it is not bland, without being too spicy.

Do you have any nicknames?

When I was little, my family called me Dawnie, and it always bugged me. When I started working here, people started calling me Dawnie as well, and it just felt right coming from my Roadhouse family. I also had a client when I worked events years ago who called me a Velvet Pit Bull. I got things done smoothly and easily, but I didn’t take no for an answer!

What is your favorite music?

I love ’60s and ’70s rock, and I also like punk. One of my faves is NOFX. I also love cover bands, including the Gimme Gimmes. They do punk covers of all kinds of stuff.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Berkley, MI right next to Royal Oak. My husband moved here for a job, which is how we ended up in the A2 area.

What do you like best about working at the Roadhouse?

There are so many things. It is such a different mindset as far as management and leadership towards their staff. The servant leadership is such a huge change from many of the other businesses I’ve worked at, and I have worked in restaurants since I was 20. I’ve been yelled at, had things thrown at me, etc. My eye still twitches at the memory of a job I had over ten years ago. Then I started working at the Roadhouse where every day, Ari and all the managers ask me, “What can I do for you?”

Who are your dream dinner guest(s)?

Anthony Bourdain. His ability to connect the people through food is exactly like what we do here. He looks for the “real” in people, and I think that would make for good conversation.