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The Roadhouse 3/28/11

Danielle Horvath - March 28th, 2011
The Roadhouse: Benzie County’s South of the Border Connection
By Danielle Horvath
Voted number one for Mexican fare and Best Happy Hours in Benzie County, the Roadhouse Mexican Bar & Grill is heading into its 10th year of offering great consistently fresh-made food served up by a friendly staff in a fun atmosphere.
From their homemade salsa and sauces – now sold in area stores – to their entrées and appetizers using authentic recipes by Chef Miguel, to the house signature Don Juan Margarita, to a variety of Mexican beers from Dos Equis to Negra Modelo, the Roadhouse has what it takes to draw dinner crowds year-round.
“We have a great local following, and seem to have settled in on a niche,” said owner Gretchen Boekeloo, “and we’re popular with returning skiers in the winter. they make it part of their ski trip to come here for dinner.”
Boekeloo knew what she was getting into, having grown up in the family bakery business in Beulah and later working in area resorts including Caberfae and Crystal Mountain. She always wanted her own restaurant. “This felt right when I bought it, and I still have Chef Miguel, who has been here since the beginning, so that helps a lot. He keeps things authentic and yet changes it up with daily specials.”

ENTERTAINMENT TOO
During the summer months, they offer entertainment during the week because the weekends are already busy. Located on US 31 at the “top of the hill” in Benzonia just up the way from the shores of Crystal Lake, the Roadhouse offers seating on a comfortable and shady outdoor deck that has become a popular destination. Saturday nights in the summer can mean a one-hour wait.
The best seller is the hearty Roadhouse skillet, a sizzling platter of fresh grilled peppers and onions with a marinated steak and jerk chicken, smothered with Monterey Jack cheese, baked golden brown and served with sour cream. Their enchiladas are also popular – and filling, including a choice of three chicken, cheese or beef, all prepared on corn tortillas with Roadhouse mild green chili sauce, onions, fresh made refried beans, cheese and sour cream. Specials also include the fish taco Fridays, made with deep-fried cod with fresh tzatziki sauce, peach salsa, lettuce, tomato, fresh cilantro and fresh lime; award-winning chicken wings and empanadas.

HOMEMADE & HEARTY
They make their own guacamole, the beans are fresh cooked, they fry their own chips, marinate the meat and can go through 7-10 pounds of fresh cilantro a week in the summer. The dishes are hearty and for some, enough to take home. “We don’t have a lot of desserts because after chips and salsa, a burrito or enchilada dinner and a couple margaritas, most people are pretty full!” Boekeloo said with a smile.
The Roadhouse is also participating in this summer’s “Green Plate Challenge,” a local culinary competition to include one entrée on the menu that is 90% made with locally grown or produced food found no farther than 100 miles from where it would be served. The Green Plate has to be a regular menu item that is regularly available. Customers will be able to vote for their favorite dish.
With a staff that swells from 10 to 32 in the summer, the popular spot is gearing up for another season when they increase hours to seven days a week. Live entertainment with Kim Cramer begins in June, Sunday-Tuesday and Thursday nights, summer hours are 4-10, winter is 4-9, closed Mondays. Call for specials or more info: 231-882-9631 or check them out online at: roadhousesalsa.com.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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