Frugal Friday at Ron's Roadside BBQ: You'll enjoy exceptional food and a personable host
Mary Bilyeu | Contributor
You've probably passed Romanoff's, on Pontiac Trail near North Territorial, dozens of times and presumed that the storefront wasn't open or that it only served catering customers. It's very unassuming.
But you'd be wrong, as I was until just recently. There is a small restaurant on that corner which does, indeed, handle catering; but it also offers take-out service, as well as a large table for family-style seating if you want to eat in.
And trust me — whether you take your meal home or eat it there, you definitely want to indulge in some fabulous food at today's Frugal Floozie Friday feature, Ron's Roadside BBQ.
Ron Philipp is the proud chef behind the barbecue joint, and he's also the force behind Romanoff's, which is his family's long-time business. My friends Ruth and Helaine invited me to join them at Ron's for lunch recently, and we had a wonderful meal and lots of fun!
I ordered the Trio on Brio for $9, so that I could try each of the meat varieties offered: brisket, pulled chicken and pulled pork sandwiches on freshly prepared brioche rolls. Truly, I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite; the meats are all unbelievably tender, with a sweet/spicy sauce that is really, really good.
These are much larger than the standard slider, and the order could easily be split so that each of three people gets a sandwich. Add one $2 side dish per person — those, too, are very generous — and you've got a complete hearty meal for an even $5 per person.
Pulled pork or chicken sandwiches are $6, and are the size of a Big Mac — readily halved for sharing. Pick a couple of side dishes — everything from cucumber salad (which Ron recommended when I asked which was his favorite) to pasta to macaroni and cheese — and you've got yet another qualifying Frugal Floozie Friday meal, this one perfect for two.
I highly recommend that you eat in when you stop by for your barbecue fix, because then you'll get to hear stories of Ron's travels in France (he earned a certificate at the famous La Varenne cooking school) and working with Ina Garten at The Barefoot Contessa gourmet food emporium. Be sure to ask him about Barbra Streisand and Martha Stewart, too — Ron's got lots of stories to tell, and was a fabulous lunch companion when he joined the three of us at the table.
The barbecue joint smelled just divine when we walked in; not only had Ron been cooking the meats, but he was also preparing a batch of exceptional and authentic jambalaya, and he offered is generous samples of it. The roux is dark and rich, there's a zestiness from cayenne pepper, and it's loaded with goodies like sausage and okra.
So whether you eat in or take your food home, whether you order a full family meal or a $5 Frugal Floozie Friday feature, whether you choose the brisket or the chicken or the pork, just be sure to visit Ron at his barbecue joint. The food is exceptional, and your host is a really great guy!
Ron's Roadside BBQ
5850 Pontiac Trail
Ann Arbor, MI
Winter hours: Thursday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.
The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.