Roadhouse Throwback – Kitchen Takeover at The Ritz – Tina Miller + Tara Reynolds

Last week, Tina casually walks over to my desk and says that she’s doing a Kitchen Takeover at The Ritz this month. I let out a squeal of delight. This is going to be awesome! Tina is an amazing chef. From her Moxie, to her cookbook to Rosewater, her food is always on point, and never did I think we’d see her in the kitchen at The Ritz!

But is was on, for one night only, February 5th, 2020 and we were there! Tina partnered with her good friend Tara Reynolds (author and previous Rosewater kitchen manager), to do a throwback menu from Tina’s first restaurant, Roadhouse.

Roadhouse was well before my Island time. Opened in 1989 in West Tisbury, this restaurant featured good food and was a community favorite for years. Just like The Ritz is a community favorite! Also, Tina and Tara opted for a Roadhouse inspired menu because the food would work with The Ritz dive bar scene.

The Takeover

For these Winter events at The Ritz, doors open right at 6:00 p.m., and there’s always a line waiting. Tonight was no different. Since Tina is a Point B’er, a bunch of us went to support her including me, Katie Dawson, Trish Lyman (and her friend Stephanie), and Sheylah Jordan. I just have to mention that it was Sheylah’s first time EVER at The Ritz, and of course it’s always fun to have a reason to venture to The Ritz on a work night.

What a scene and it was packed! An epic mix of those who loved Roadhouse and of those who loved Tina and Tara from Rosewater. People were there for them and to have fun and eat good food. The Ritz, Tina and Tara delivered!

The menu actually had a couple of the original recipes from Roadhouse, including the Veggie Chili, the Red Beans and Rice, Dark Rum Glazed Gingerbread with Whipped Cream, and the Roadhouse sauce that topped the BBQ ribs and chicken.

Tara brought her own twist with Vegan Broccoli Mac, a fancy slaw, and the Vegan Almond Pound Cake with Lemon Zest Glaze and Coconut Whipped Cream and more.

It was great having Tara and Tina in the kitchen. They were definitely working hard but having fun too! They had lots of visitors, and even a little extra help in the kitchen, like Tara’s husband, Owen, on dishes, chef Austin Racine for some prep, and lots of shouts of love and support from people in the dining room! It was just one of those magical Vineyard Winter nights when you felt the love of this community.

BBQ Roadhouse Style

Ordering was simple. I was lucky enough to share with Katie and we pretty much sampled it all! We had the 1/4 BBQ Chicken with Roadhouse Sauce, the St. Louis Style BBQ Pork Ribs with Roadhouse Sauce, Red Beans and Rice, the Watercress, Scallion, Red Cabbage, and Cumin Slaw, Vegan Broccoli Mac, Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Bread and a big ole piece of the Vegan Almond Pound Cake. Sound like a lot? It was and boy did we enjoy our feast!

Special shout outs go to the Roadhouse Sauce. I don’t know what’s in it but it takes BBQ to another level! The Vegan Broccoli Mac should be in my life daily, and that cake with the coconut whipped cream makes me want to eat everything vegan!

I only wish my food photos caught the beauty of the food, but alas the lighting in The Ritz and my iPhone are not the best pair. The food was simple but delicious, just what you would want from Roadhouse and The Ritz.

Tina had a moment after dinner was over and was able to come say hi! It was fun to connect with Tina and bask in her glow of culinary success for a minute.

She said she had a blast peeking through the service window – seeing longtime and new friends. I had to ask her if she missed the kitchen life, but she said no. She still loves food and cooks every night (when her son is not cooking at home). But the kitchen can be grueling physical work, and she still gets to enjoy her passion of food as the editor of Edible Vineyard and she is and I quote, “having a great time transitioning into real estate full time.” Which as you can imagine makes us all so happy!

The last Kitchen Takeover at The Ritz is happening Wednesday, February 12th, with The Port Hunter! Then The Ritz is closing shortly after, February 17th – March 17th. Stay tuned for its reopening with Dilly’s Taqueria in house!

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