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8162 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
Yes, there’s a time and place for rocking Tom Ford for no reason.
And that time is, well, not now. And that place is probably not Roadhouse LA, a bastion of barbecue from the Umami guys and smoked meat master Robbie Richter (NYC’s Hill Country and Fatty ‘Cue) that opened earlier this month.
While you can take their globally influenced BBQ seriously, this place is attached to the Hollywood Improv so it’s all about keeping it casual – as any menu requiring an abundance of napkins is inclined to do. While not actually the set of an ‘80s Patrick Swayze movie, the spot’s vintage railroad signs, slightly menacing haylift chandelier, antique gas pump and heavy use of reclaimed wood and steel all come together to do justice to its namesake…or create a look one might describe as “abandoned train depot chic.”
Tell your dining companion to wear dark colors and an elastic waistband, since plates of jalapeno-cheddar-and-pickle brisket, crispy pig with pig jam and papaya slaw, and vodka-imbued mac and cheese aren’t for the faint of stomach or sartorially inclined.
And since this could be the start of an epic yet low-key night, drinks should not be ignored, especially if they contain ingredients like Mtn Dew redux, aloe liqueur, Thai chile, and tamarind-spiced pomegranate and have names like “Boots with the Fur” and “A Little Dickel Dew Ya.”
This is a roadhouse though, so the beer list must be impressive and local brews like Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA and Coronado Mermaid Red do not disappoint. Whether you’re trying to achieve casual coolness on date night or simply want a really good meal before a night out, this spot will help you hit the road in epic, Swayze-approved style.
By Arielle Sachar
Arielle Sachar writes and edits E.S.P. Eat. See. Play. lifestyle content for CBS Los Angeles.