The interior designer of Rick’s Roadhouse has done
his her phe’s job. Taking in the surroundings as we waited for our food, my Puerto Rican dinner companion sighed, “This is what I thought America would be like.” It’s basically a glorified dive: walls decorated with miscellaneous Americana trinkets — taxidermied deer; a painting of the Phillips 66 logo; huge f*ckin’ American flag behind the bar — and waitresses wearing shirts that say “Wanna see a nice rack?” There are no windows(!) and plenty of room (including a 16-top table). It’s self-consciously kitschy, tapping into a strange lowbrow nostalgia that might as well be written into the U.S. Constitution.
The roadhouse theme comes through in the menu, too, which boasts sections like “Start Your Engines!” for appetizers and “Hit the Highway” for catering. It’s also reflected in an aggressive disdain for health food: the veggie burger is named “Burger for Bad Hunters,” and of the five salad options, two contain bacon, one contains steak and “fizzled corn tortillas,” and another is made up of iceberg lettuce. Do not order a salad here. It doesn’t make sense and everyone will probably laugh at you. Stick to what Rick’s knows best and we’ll all be happy. [Read more →]