Roadhouse features famous ribs

Published 12:12 pm Friday, December 20, 2013

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Jennifer Trout and the rib specialists at Red Arrow Roadhouse. Leader photos/Jill McCaughan

Monday night is traditionally a slow night for restaurants, and many eateries simply opt to keep their doors closed rather than to cook for light crowds. The Red Arrow Roadhouse has taken a different approach, and it’s one that has been working to keep their dining room full on Monday nights for more than 20 of the 25 years since they opened.

“Every Monday night, starting just after Labor Day and running up until Memorial Day, locals know that this is the place to be for our off-season rib night special,” said Jennifer Trout, who owns the Red Arrow Roadhouse with her husband, Tim.

The Trouts’ business partner, Chip Steffey, serves as the general manager, and he can usually be found greeting the steady stream of guests coming through the doors on Monday nights.

“We wanted to give the locals a reason to come out in the cold on Monday nights, so we make it worth their while,” Trout said.

That reason is a special price for a full slab of barbecued baby back ribs and side dishes —  just $11.99 for a meal regularly priced at $22.50. For those with smaller appetites, half-slabs are only $8.99.

The Red Arrow Roadhouse takes its ribs very seriously, preparing quality cuts with a rub that was designed specifically for their restaurant.

“On Monday nights, the whole entire grill is full of barbequed ribs,” Trout said. “It’s a big deal.”

Trout estimates that, of the 150 people eating in the dining room at any given time on a Monday night, only about 10 will have ordered something other than what the owners call “the most talked about ribs around.”

“We open at 5 on Mondays, but a lot of times, we’ll look out and see people sitting in their cars, waiting for us to open up, as early as 4:30. If the parking lot really starts to fill up, we’ll just open the doors a little early for them,” Trout said. “The best time to come down to avoid a wait is probably after about 7 p.m.”

To keep the dining room full on other off-season weeknights, the Red Arrow Roadhouse offers a special price on all of their other entrees. For $10.99, patrons can enjoy a long list of favorites, such as chicken enchiladas, chicken parmesan, broiled whitefish or a char-grilled top sirloin open-faced sandwich. (The special pricing does not apply to carry-out orders.)

In keeping with the history of the vintage roadhouse, Red Arrow’s menu also includes broasted chicken, just as other restaurants did in past years at that same location.

Red Arrow Roadhouse also caters to families with a children’s menu that includes cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, BBQ ribs, fish fillets and Mac and cheese, with sides and a drink included in the price.

In addition, Red Arrow offers its patrons a wide selection of craft beers from breweries such as Bell’s, Fat Tire, Founder’s, Tapistry, Great Lakes and Dogfish Head. They also offer an extensive wine list.

The décor inside the restaurant is warm and inviting, with big-game mounts on the knotty pine walls and a large, antique wooden bar running half the length of the dining room. An added bonus in the summer months is the option for outside dining.

“We have a screened porch that we use for seasonal dining. It has a roof and heaters, and we use that from  May until October,” Trout said.

Winter hours at the Red Arrow Roadhouse, located at 15710 Red Arrow Highway, are 5 to 10 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday, 12 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 to 9 p.m. on  Sunday. More information, including their menu, can be found at, and the restaurant can be reached by phone at (269) 469-3939.

“We want to make it worth the drive down here from other communities,” Trout said. “So, on weekdays, as we like to say, you can eat for chicken scratch.”