Last week was my first experience with a new kind of eating place –at least new to me. My husband tells me they are usually out on the highway, away from the towns, and typically serve cocktails and limited menus. So they´re called “roadhouses.” In Spain we don´t have anything like them. Restaurants and bars are usually near the center of town. Nothing like those welcoming lights you see here in the darkness along winding highways. Their signs sometimes flash with little moving light bulbs and their windows always look bright but mysterious. These places are well-known to locals, but strangers rarely stop.
In Spain I remember seeing them in American movies. They are the places where Humphrey Bogart meets the girl, or where Marlon Brando parks his Harley.
“We have to go to”, our friend Karen kept saying.” “It has great pizza and cheap drinks.” I checked it on line and I realized that we would have to go to dinner early, at a non-Spanish time, to get there in time to eat before the closing time.
The place looked exactly like a rustic pioneer cabin from frontier days, and it was very lively. There were two people playing live music from the 60’s and there was a board at the end of a room where you had to write your name and number of people for a reservation. Our party managed to squeeze in at the bar and listen to the music while waiting for our names to be called.
Finally somebody yelled our name on top of the music and we were seated. The atmosphere was so upbeat in the bar with the music everyone chatting with each other that I wasn’t sure I wanted to move into the dining room. It was decorated with Christmas lights that stayed up all year, was quiet enough to talk, and was even more cozy and friendly than the bar.
Our waitress came over with a friendly, familiar attitude, as she had known us for years. “Pizza is the specialty” she said, “And for $1 you can get the bigger size.” On top of the table´s paper cloth she put plastic plates that had been used so long the designs had faded. We distributed our plates choosing which ‘faded pattern’ we preferred. That was part of the fun. When the pizza arrived, we cut it ourselves and ate it with our hands.
I think it tasted better like that. or maybe it was the spontaneity of the whole experience. This is something I had never had in Spain or New York City. It was a fun, casual experience, with good pizza and friendly people. I can’t wait to take my friends from Spain when they come to visit. I’m sure they will feel this is a real American experience. The roadhouse–Made in the USA!
Christina´s radio show with a Latin flavor is every Sunday morning at 8:00 AM on Pocono 96.7. Tu Voz con Christina. Email: Christina@pocono967.com