Dining, Drinks and Dessert in Rolla

A recent getaway to Rolla offered the opportunity to have some great barbecue, sample a couple of terrific brews, and to enjoy dessert at one of the most-famous bakeries in Missouri.

Let’s start with the barbecue at Randy’s Roadkill Barbecue and Grill. I dined at Randy’s a couple of years ago on a press trip and had since been anxious to return. The meal didn’t disappoint.

My wife and I were joined by another couple, and we shared an order of the Roadkill loaded chips, which include pulled beef, baked beans, and cheese. A large order would make a filling meal for one person. To me, that’s the hallmark of a great appetizer.

As it was, I think each of us was getting full before our meals arrived. Somehow, we found the will to press on.

My pulled-pork sandwich offered a generous portion that was cooked to perfection. Our waitress told us that Randy, the owner, has been tinkering with a couple of new barbecue-sauce creations.

His new chipotle barbecue sauce is really good; there’s a delayed heat thing going on and the spice doesn’t hit you right away. But when it does hit, you’ll know it – in a good way, one that’s not overpowering.

Enjoy a drink at Public House Brewing Co.

The next day, though still pretty full from the meal at Randy’s, I stopped for a sandwich and a beer (okay, two) at Public House Brewing Company. This microbrewery has several house-made beers on tap year-round, plus seasonal offerings. I tried Tire Swing Dry-Hopped IPA and Rod’s Cream Ale, and washed them down with a turkey sandwich.

Admittedly, the Tire Swing is a bit more “hoppy” than a beer I generally would order (that’s code for, I’m not manly enough to drink this one). Still, it offered a refreshing flavor and served as a great complement to the turkey sandwich (which was excellent – the pesto topping and ciabatta bread rocked!).

The Cream Ale is billed as an ale version of American lager. It’s much lighter than the Tire Swing and is smooth to drink. It reminded me of some of this country’s famous light-beer brands, with one important distinction: it tastes much better.

As a bonus, a chili cook-off was happening outside Public House, which doesn’t mind if you bring in “outside” food (so long as it’s not something you can find on their menu). I downed a bowl of chicken chili, which worked very well with the Cream Ale.

My last stop on this food-centric expedition was A Slice of Pie, one of Rolla’s most well-known eateries. A Slice of Pie, as the name might suggest, is known for its wonderful assortment of pies. My wife wanted a slice of pecan pie; she was working at a craft show with friends who ordered a slice of cherry pie and a slice of apple walnut cake.

I went for a massive brownie with ice cream and chocolate syrup. All of these treats disappeared pretty quickly, not because the portions were small – quite the opposite, actually – but because they’re too good to resist. I took my parents a Dutch apple pie with crumbly topping (payment for watching the kiddos).

By all accounts, it was delightful, too.