Brown Derby’s Original Roadhouse
5051 Eastpointe Drive
Visited July 3, 2009
Brown Derby’s Original Roadhouse has got to be one of the worst overall experiences I’ve ever had at a brewpub. First of all, I thought Roadhouses were a giant chain. What the hell is one doing with a microbrewery inside? Looking today at their website, I realize it is a northeastern Ohio chain, and not a good one at that. It still doesn’t explain the reason why one had a brewpub inside, but I believe at some point the small chain bought the building along with the brewing equipment inside. So why not give it a shot?
I remember the beer not being too awfully bad. And yet, I still have a sour taste in my mouth from the experience. It was probably from the expensive baby back ribs that were so thin and flimsy that they seemed more like cartilage than proper rib bones.
Did they butcher a calf for these? Or just a sickly animal?
Either way, the beer wasn’t great, the food was terrible, the prices were high, the atmosphere sucked and the service wasn’t very good either. I have no idea if this place is still in existence or not. If I had to bet, though, I would guess that the nearby, much more successful barbecue joint called Lagerheads bought the brewing equipment, seeing as their brewing arm only began in 2010, six years after their original opening.
If I’m right, hopefully they are making much better use of the equipment.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen a brewpub in a chain restaurant that doesn’t typically feature homemade beers. Roadhouse is typically you’re average to below-average chain restaurant on the same level with Applebee’s. Apparently it used to be a different restaurant, but the lady that bought it several years back decided to go into a franchise. Big mistake.
The food was awful. Roadhouse is supposed to be a steak, grilling, barbecue place. I ordered the baby back ribs with a baked sweet potato. The sweet potato was as big as my head and tasted just fine, but a monkey could put a potato in an oven for a half-hour. The ribs were just awful. Scrawny and stringy, as you moved down the rib from where it connected to the spine it suddenly changed to cartilage, or just under-developed bone. You shouldn’t be able to pull – not break, but pull – the “rib” in half length-wise. It was also fatty and just not good eats.
The beer was below-average as well. A decent selection, I think there were eight that day. Nothing outside the norm was very true to style. For example, the German pilsner tasted American, the Belgian Trippel tasted like a stronger Blue Moon. It’s still better than Bud and the like, but not much. I’d sooner order a guest tap.
And the service was awful too. The bartender was not busy but it was still nearly impossible to get any service. Seemed like she hated her life and wanted nothing more than to sulk in the back and get drunk.