Restaurant: Roadkill Café

[For the first time in its history, WW is publishing a review done by someone other than me. Bob Barnett, a regular reader of WW, graciously offered to do this review since the chances of my getting to the Roadkill Café are low.]

On the way to a law firm retreat in Western Pennsylvania, we got caught in a traffic jam on I-68. After spending an hour going one mile, it was lunchtime. Rita checked the internet and found The Roadkill Cafe (“You Kill It, We Grill It”) in Artemis, Pennsylvania. Ever up for a new adventure (Not!!!!!), we decided to try it.

After navigating several narrow roads, we reached 633 Crooked Run Road. What we saw was a gas station and a restaurant with a handmade sign. It’s not fancy. It’s not beautiful. We won’t comment on the bathrooms. (Sorry, Michael). But the food is great.

Here’s the story. During hunting season of 1984, Barbara Snider decided to go into business in Artemis. According to the menu, she had a building constructed, gasoline pumps installed, and opened a grocery and gas station facility “where she saw a need for just such a place”. “She has always accommodated the hunters, even their hours, and has therefore been known to open her store in the wee hours of the morning so that they would set off with a hot meal under their belts”. We can attest, the place is very popular with hunters. We were among the very few without fluorescent vests.

In 1995, she built an actual restaurant and named it “The Roadkill Cafe”. It can seat about eighty people. Again, according to the menu, “[O]n any given Thursday, her ‘big’ day, she estimates that they serve about five hundred customers”. Over the last couple of years, she has added cabins and campsites which “are always full to capacity during hunting season or whenever a big local construction project is underway, like the gas company work”. (We did not stay.)

When one sees the first menu they give you, one might become concerned.

Examples of dishes:

Center Line Bovine “Tastes real good, straight from the hood”. ($4.95)

The Chicken “That didn’t cross the road”. ($3.95)

Chunk of Skunk; Smidgen of Pigeon; Rigor Morris Tortoise; Poodles ‘N Noodles; Collie Hit by a Trolley; and German Shepard Pie. (Priced from $1.95 for Pit Bull Pot Pie to $5.95 for Poodles ‘N Noodles)

Also, Rack of Raccoon; Awesome Possum; and Smear of Deer. (The last three “served fresh each night after dark”)

But then, you get the real menu. The Roadkill Cafe serves a full list of normal breakfast selections — eggs, pancakes, French toast, waffles, omelets, sausage, etc. But it is the lunch and dinner menus that bring in the customers.

Rita and I had the famous ham and bean soup ($2.95). Rita had the tossed salad ($2.95). Bob had the open-faced hot turkey sandwich with gravy, homemade apple sauce (Delicious), and homemade coleslaw (Delicious) ($7.95). We had a lot of fun guessing what Debbie and Michael might have had.

Some of the other specialties that we saw being consumed around the room were: Onion rings ($4.50); “Animal Droppings (Appetizer Sampler)” ($6.95); jalapeño poppers ($4.50); honey dipped chicken ($7.95); country fried steak ($7.25); butterflied shrimp ($7.50); and pork BBQ ($3.95). (We were unable to determine why some things are $X.25, some things were $X.50, and some things were $X.95, but the top price was $7.95, unless you want a large pizza for $13.95.)

The “Loaded Fries” deserve a special mention. The menu describes them as “Fresh cut fries smothered with steak, bacon, cheese & sour cream”. Or, in DC-speak, “A shot of cholesterol straight to the heart”. ($7.50)

But, despite all these attractive options, the pies were the highlight. There were about a dozen varieties. Rita had chocolate pie. Bob had lemon meringue ($2.50). According to the menu, Barbara “is well known for her homemade pies, which causes her to stay up all hours on every Wednesday to bake fresh and have ready for her Thursday menu . . ..”

If you are in the area, do stop by. As the menu proudly states, “Folks travel long distances for a meal at the Roadkill!”

WW note: There are at least two other Roadkill Cafes: one in Seligman, Arizona (It has the same motto “you kill it we grill it.”). The other is in Elberta, Alabama. As far as WW and Barnett know, there is no connection between the three restaurants.

Roadkill Café
633 Crooked Run Road
Artemas, Pennsylvania