The seventh member of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Roadhouse opened in 2003 with the vision of bringing really good American food to the community, using only the best available ingredients. The Roadhouse has worked hard to create its own truly unique food culture, transforming high-quality ingredients into traditional, full-flavored dishes. Even after years of studying American foodways, the Roadhouse is only beginning to fully understand and appreciate our country’s regional food microcultures and subcultures, and the professionals who preserve them.
With chef Bob Bennett at the helm of the kitchen, and our staff’s dedication to service, the Roadhouse draws in regulars from all over, whether they’re coming from right down the block or making sure to pop in during their annual visit to Ann Arbor. Our guests have their favorites on our menu, dishes they come back for, time and time again. Buttermilk Fried Chicken, award-winning Mac ‘n Cheese made with Martelli artisan pasta, NOLA Gumbo, Nashville Hot Chicken, Cornmeal Fried Catfish, Oyster Po’Boys, full-flavored burgers, Grits n’ Bits Waffles, and Donut Sundaes are just a few Roadhouse specialties that people look forward to every time they dine with us. Beyond these tried-and-true dishes, the Roadhouse is also a destination for really good BBQ!
Whole-hog pit fire
In 2004, we welcomed BBQ pitmaster Ed Mitchell from Raleigh, North Carolina to help us design and build our 13-foot BBQ pit, located just outside the restaurant. Ed taught us the secrets to really good whole-hog Eastern North Carolina BBQ. His invaluable training has been passed along to continue in the hands of our current pitmaster, Arturo Ortiz, who continues to smoke the tender, full-flavored pork and beef we proudly serve. Many of our guests say it’s the best BBQ they’ve ever had!
The quality of the pork we bring in at the Roadhouse takes the flavor of our BBQ to a much higher level, and matches the traditional style we prepare it with. The story of our pork begins with Niman Ranch. Bill Niman and Paul Willis started up the pork division of Niman Ranch in 1994 with a mission to raise livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably to produce the finest tasting meat in the world. We purchase our spare ribs from Niman Ranch because we prioritize high-quality ingredients. According to Iowa hog farmer Rex Thompson, “[Niman Ranch is] helping the small farmer be able to compete and stay in business. That has a trickle-down effect that keeps kids in a community, and then it helps the community with schools and businesses.”
In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, the Roadhouse collaborated with Bill and Paul to source their hogs from two farms in Michigan. One of the small farm’s owners, David Yoder, has been selling Niman Ranch hogs directly to the Roadhouse for over 12 years from Homer, MI. These pasture-raised Old English breeds are the animals we use exclusively for our whole- hog pit barbecue. Whether they are Brookshire, Duroc or Chester White breeds, the hogs are smoked slowly for 14 hours over oak, giving our pork intense flavor.
With our beef program at the Roadhouse, we are able to constantly evaluate the quality of our meat. Our steers are all pasture-raised to ensure better tasting and more tender beef. By selecting animals that are farm specific from Northern Ohio or Southern Michigan, the Roadhouse can make sure we know exactly where our beef is coming from and make sure it is processed locally, which leaves a much smaller carbon footprint. We purchase whole animals, and our in-house butcher customizes all cuts and dry-ages the primal cuts for up to five weeks. Our program also allows us to custom blend our burgers, make fresh broths and stocks, and respectfully utilize all of the animal. The attention to detail through our beef program can be tasted in our burgers and steaks, every time.
Our Wine List
Our wine program reflects what we do best. Our beverage specialists, Kim Green and Felipe Diaz, have teamed up with Stephen Satterfield, wine expert and founder of Whetstone Magazine, to put together a list that is full-flavored and sustainably produced. Our selections are crafted by women and minority winemakers, allowing us to feature a unique collection that reflects the diversity of America. As we continue to taste the difference with what our country has to offer, the Roadhouse raises a glass to all of you. Here’s “To Life!”
As you peruse the menu, don’t hesitate to stop us and ask for a taste of anything you’re wondering about, or ask us questions about our food. We’ve taken time to develop every recipe, and we can’t wait to talk to you about it. We hope you enjoy your meal as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together for you.
Exploring Foodways, Far and Wide
While the Roadhouse keeps its focus on traditional American foods of the South, we don’t stop there! We love to explore, and when we do, we find the best foodways America has to offer and, we bring them right here to Ann Arbor. Our respect and admiration for African American foodways, for example, have inspired our Potlikker Stew, made with local collard greens, heirloom grits from Anson Mills’ in South Carolina, and fresh fish we fly in from Foley Fish or Gulfish. The green chiles we bring in from New Mexico add a Southwestern flair for anyone who likes to spice things up! Whether it’s featured as a vegetarian option or in one of our specials, we love the hand-harvested Really Wild Wild Rice we get from the Ojibwe tribe in Minnesota.
The Roadhouse is dedicated to making sure we have only the best ingredients on our menu. We source our fresh produce from local farms, really good craft beer from American breweries, and artisanal cheeses from the best dairy farms in America. The Roadhouse beverage team uses local top-shelf liquors for our specialty cocktail list, such as Two James Gin and Tito’s Vodka. Our friends at Zingerman’s Creamery, Bakehouse, Candy Manufactory, and Coffee Company create outstanding breads, pastries, cheeses, coffee, chocolates, and more, so we can give you a thrilling dining experience, every time.