Highway 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen � 34 S. Old Orchard Ave. � 968-0061

Highway 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen is billed as a haven for those looking for Southern-style comfort food. As big fans of all varieties of down-home cooking, we had to drop on in and have a taste.

The menu at 61 Roadhouse was extensive, to say the least. Just the dinner offerings spanned seven or so pages, and included everything from catfish to BBQ, pizza to po’ boys. The restaurant also serves lunch and a brunch on Sundays, so the kitchen staff definitely gets a workout!

Even though the menu covered a lot of ground, there were several platter and sampler options, and some of the items were available in smaller, a la carte sizes to make it easier to try out a wide variety, and we took full advantage of them.

We started with two selections from Opening Numbers, Black Bean Hummus ($8) and the Sweet Potato Fries ($4), hand-cut and spiced with cinnamon and sugar. We’re not familiar with a tradition of Southern hummus variations, but we thoroughly enjoyed having the black beans as a substitute for the usual chickpeas. While the spices were fine, the fries would’ve benefitted from a bit more time in fire. They were tasty but not nearly crispy enough.

We moved on to the Cajun Sampler ($10) from the Soups section. This featured small portions of the Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, Etoufee and Jambalaya (a smaller version with three samples also was available for $9). These dishes were flavorful enough, but lacked the heat we’re used to. Just be advised to have a bottle of Crystal Hot Sauce close at hand.

The B Sides section of the menu also featured smaller portions of some of the entrees available in other sections, and from there, we decided to try the BBQ Spaghetti ($4). Spaghetti noodles mixed with tender pulled pork and tangy BBQ sauce, this was probably our favorite dish of all that we sampled. It sounds iffy on paper, but trust us, it works!

From the From The Fields section, which listed the salad selections, we ordered the Po’ Boy Salad with shrimp ($11). This also was available with chicken ($10), crawfish ($11) and oysters ($13). We got a whole mess of fried shrimp on a bed of lettuce with a few wedges of tomatoes at the corners. The veggies seemed like an afterthought, considering the quantity of shrimp we got. Honestly, we would’ve been willing to trade the greens for more of that delicious golden-fried shrimp! The spicy po’ boy dressing made for a great dipping sauce.

To wind things up, we had a Samplin’ ($3) size of that Southern dessert staple, Banana Pudding. We were disappointed in this dish, one of our usual favorites. It had plenty of taste, but the consistency was watery and thin.

In addition to its food, Highway 61 also is a live music venue on Fridays and Saturdays, hosts an open mic night on Tuesdays and has a lively bar area with regular drink specials. Like the old-time roadhouses it’s named after, Highway 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen has something for just about everyone.

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