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Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen is the real deal.

With your entrées you have your choice of one or two sides. (You can also order them á la carte.) These are the secret weapons of Highway 61, huge portions of just about every Southern comfort-food classic. My disappointment with my stuffed chicken faded with each spoonful of a gumbo dense with chicken and andouille. "Cream corn soufflé" was like cornbread pie — if that description doesn't sell you, you have no soul — while grilled corn on the cob was, as promised by the menu, like eating popcorn, the texture fluffy, the taste caramel-sweet. Surprisingly, the only dud among the side dishes was the red beans and rice, which was underseasoned.

I could barely walk, let alone consider dessert, after all this food, but I couldn't resist "The King." I'll just let the menu speak for itself here: "Peanut butter and bananas on honey wheat bread dipped in vanilla custard, griddled and topped with shaved chocolate." Are we sure Elvis didn't overdose on this? It's that good. It's sweet — good Lord, yes, it's sweet — but not as sweet as you might think. The key is the wheat bread, which provides the ballast (as well as some textural crunch) to keep the dish from tipping into absurdity.

Then again, I'm not the expert on Southern food. My fiancée assures me that Highway 61 is "authentic," though, and she can't wait to return.

Highway = Heaven: Waiter Colian Spight carries a pint of barbecue's best friend.
Jennifer Silverberg
Highway = Heaven: Waiter Colian Spight carries a pint of barbecue's best friend.

Location Info

Map

Hwy 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen

34 S. Old Orchard Ave.
Webster Groves, MO 63119

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Webster Groves

Details

Highway 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen
34 South Old Orchard Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-968-0061.
Hours: Dinner 4:30-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 4:30 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat. (Bar open till 1:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat.)

Cream corn soufflé $3.25
Andouille arancini $6.95
Shrimp-and-crawfish étouffée $13.95
St. Louis-style spare ribs (half slab) $14.95
"The King" $4.95

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Actually, her most telling comment came near the end of our first visit. Local favorite Kim Massie was on stage, belting out tunes to a rapidly crowding room. We knew Highway 61 had live music, but we hadn't checked the schedule for that night and were pleasantly surprised to see Massie.

"This reminds me of so many places in Memphis," my fiancée said. "You come in to eat and, without meaning to, you get to see someone you've always wanted to see."

It was kind of bittersweet. Even if you don't drive all the way to Wyoming, Minnesota, there's too much along Route 61 for most of us to see in one lifetime. But Highway 61 does a pretty good job of capturing the best of that route under one roof, and I'm more than happy to go along for the ride.

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