When you set foot inside Original Roadhouse Grill, you may hear a crunch. Look down, and you’ll see hundreds of peanut shells scattered across the floor— remnants of the complimentary peanuts served by the bucketful. Country music and classic rock plays from an old-fashioned jukebox as servers perform lively line dances amidst walls of colorful knickknacks and neon signs. The atmosphere is equally as energetic in the kitchen, where open-air mesquite-wood grills roar with flames that sizzle hand-cut USDA Washington State steaks, juicy bison burgers, and thick slabs of ribs. To craft their renowned Texas egg rolls, the creative cooks fry up plump wonton shells stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeños. Servers bear the heavy platters into the dining room, along with cups of regional beers and mason jars of Wild West–inspired cocktails—such as a Luckenbach lemonade and a Bootlegger iced tea. The restaurant staff encourages guests to dress casually, welcoming worn blue jeans, comfortable T-shirts, and loose-fitting wedding gowns.
At the medieval-themed Radcliffe’s Royal Ribs, colorful hanging banners adorned with family crests and a suit of metal armor set the scene for a hearty menu of finger-licking barbecue fare mixed with Old English favorites. A queen-sized plate of grilled Cajun shrimp ($12) fills bellies flanked by one of seven sides, including smoky baked beans and grilled asparagus, and the king-sized brisket ($15) roasts overnight in a dragon’s orthodontic retainer. Diners clasp gauntlets around the barbecue-chicken sandwich on a sesame bun ($9) or lick their chops in anticipation of the brisket on a french roll ($9). A large outdoor seating area fills about 50 patrons with mirth as friends sip bottled and draft beers and joust with leftover rib bones.
The spit-masters at Texas Pit Bar-B-Que bring a taste of backyard Texas cooking to California, delivering hearty barbecue to the eatery’s tables or directly to doorsteps. Their macaroni salad, mashed potatoes, and coleslaw accompany sauce-slathered helpings of St. Louis–style ribs, tri-tip sandwiches, and whole or pulled chicken. A sampler platter gives customers a little taste of everything, like a movie that features one scene from all the movies of ever. The staff also grants deli sandwiches a spot on the menu, with soft bread cushioning turkey and swiss or pastrami. Cooks pack up takeout or delivery meals for groups as small as 3 and as big as 25; they also can provide onsite barbecuing of pork and the like at picnics.
Despite their restaurant's moniker, the chefs at Johnny Rebs' Southern Roadhouse aren’t averse to local ingredients. In fact, all their produce comes from California growers. But rather than recreate Southern flavors, they prefer going straight to the source, relying on Virginian and North Carolinian farms to send country hams and Delta farms to send catfish. Said catfish simmers beneath mountains of slaw in po’ boys, one among Johnny Rebs’ many housemade Southern staples, which range from creole shrimp over cheddar grits to pulled pork slow-smoked up to 12 hours.
Though steeped in traditional Southern cooking, Johnny Rebs’ critically acclaimed culinary team puts its own twist on Southern and American staples alike. To wit: grilled cheese made with pimento and jalapeños, as well as deep-fried apple pie, which bubbles in a deep fryer stolen off a Georgia windowsill. Complemented with “suds” and “squashed grapes”—Johnny Rebs’ speak for beer and wine—feasts unfold amidst a rustic dining space made to resemble a cozy, wood-paneled home. Before the table fills up with smoked and fried meats, guests can snack from a bucket of peanuts. They're free, but any quarters diners donate in return go straight to charities such as the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
Guahan Grill evokes the ease of island life in a menu replete with tropical-inspired barbecue meats and seasoned seafood dishes. Preface the repast with kelaguen, a dish made with chopped chicken ($6.55), shrimp ($7.95), or fish ($8.95) forming a conga line with lemon, green onions, and hot peppers served with tortillas. In the barbecue bowl, chicken, beef short ribs, or pork spare ribs hop off the barbecue hot and ready to wrestle with your choice of one side ($6.50), and chamorro fried rice puts Spam, chicken, or beef in its place alongside white rice, soy sauce, and garlic with a side of SPF 30 to guard against island rays that may have stowed away ($7.10).