The Red Roost: Where They Literally Put It All on the Table

Posted by Brette in Food | Travel

My husband and I have been married for 23 years and have been traveling together for 24 years. We started small because we had no money, and drove increasingly further each year. We stayed close to home when the kiddos were little, but have been trying to explore more and more of the world ever since. It occurred to me that I’ve been to a lot of place and experienced a lot of amazing things over the years, so I want to share some of them with you.

One of the places that we have never forgotten is the Red Roost Restaurant. It’s located inthe middle of Maryland’s DelMarVa peninsula. When we visited (before GPS was invented), it was in the middle of nowhere and involved complicated directions like “turn right at the chicken coop.” We did find it and at the time it was a very nondescript building (an old chicken coop itself) set on a deserted road, with a parking lot full of pick up trucks.

We tentatively went inside and were seated at a booth that had a roll of paper towels and a squeeze bottle of what looked like melted butter on the table. The inside was plain and the highlight of the decor were the pendant lights covered with bushel baskets. The business was family owned, and it was clear many employees were part of the family. At that time, the menu was all-you-can-eat (today’s menu has some all-you-can-eat and some al a carte items). We ordered Maryland crabs, fried chicken, ribs, steamed shrimp, and clams. The waitress brought our food and literally dumped it on the table in front of us. It also included corn on the cob and some other sides I just don’t remember. We ate and ate and they brought as much food as we wanted (we were young and not worried about our waistlines!). It was all incredible, fresh, and intensely flavorful. It was simply eye-opening for us to find that food poured on the table could be better than almost anything we’d ever tasted.

After we stuffed ourselves, the waitress convinced us to have apple pie al a mode which may have been the best piece of pie I’d ever eaten. The night was not over yet though. The wait staff passed out song sheets in plastic protectors and everyone sang along. One of the waiters sang a heartrending version of Danny Boy I have never forgotten.

We left nearly in tears from the sensory overload of incredible food, intense homey atmosphere, and the music that brought everyone in the room together. We’ve never forgotten this meal, but have never been back in the area to try it again, so I can’t speak to what it’s like today. I only hope the new owners still pass out the song sheets at the end of a wonderful meal.

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