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Red Rock Downtown Barbecue

May 2, 2019

  • 207 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Ypsilanti, MI 48197
  • (734) 340-2381
  • Website
  • Menu

We decided  to take our time coming hom from Detroit after an amazing night at Little Caesars Arena to see P!nk.  It was L’s first concert and we decided to make a special weekend getaway for without her little brother.

When the show was over, we headed back to our hotel in Romulus. I didn’t see the point in staying downtown as I’d have to have paid for parking twice.  I got a really good deal on a hotel by the airport.

We all slept in Sunday morning.  The black out curtains were really good.  It was a little after 9:30 by the time we all rolled out of bed.  Our check-out wasn’t until noon and we had grabbed our swim gear.  I asked L if she wanted to go swimming before we left…..and that was a stupid question.  Of course she did!

We swam for about an hour, took showers, then started the drive home.

It was lunch time and J asked if I had any ideas close by.  I couldn’t find much near the airport so I started looking in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

I came up with Red Rock Downtown Barbecue in Downtown Ypsilanti.  The restaurant is in a 150-year-old building on a very busy Michigan Avenue near Washington Street.  The restaurant had been a bar before the current owners took over in 2010 but they striped the interior down to the bare brick walls.

The restaurant opened at noon and we got there at about 12:07.  We walked in to find a host stand and a guy who kept apologizing that he couldn’t seat us yet.  That day was also Eastern Michigan University’s commencement and several large groups had shown up right at noon.  They were out of menus.  There were open tables, but he didn’t have any menus to give us.

It took maybe five minutes for the first group to get their order in.  When he got two menus back, he grabbed them and a kids menu then showed us to a table in the dining room near the bar.

The dining room has that rustic feel to it with the brick walls and hardwood floors.  They keep the lighting really low to the point even during the afternoon I had a hard time reading the menu.  The spots of light add ambiance to the beat up brick walls.  The furniture is all sturdy, solid wood.  There is a large bar that straddles what used to be two separate store fronts.  This is also the only place where they use tile on the floor instead of brick to separate the two areas.

There’s a pretty large draft beer list written on a chalkboard on one of the walls.  The host was trying to find us a paper copy of the draft list but we were both able to find something we wanted by using the chalkboard.

I picked Official from Bell’s.  There was nothing on the draft list that stood out as something I had to try so I went with something familiar and delicious.  J did the same by ordering a Zombie Killer from B. Nektar.

The menu hits all the BBQ highlights.  I picked a sandwich called The Boulder.  This sandwich is pulled pork, brisket, and bacon on Texas Toast.  They make sure to point out on the menu the brisket is 1966 Angus beef from Halperns’ in Colorado.  This sandwich reminded me a lot of my absolute favorite sandwich from Slow’s in Grand Rapids…the Triple Threat…but instead of ham, Red Rocks puts on some delicious, tender, juicy, brisket.  I love the choice of Texas Toast as the bread.  It’s light, toasty, and doesn’t hold up at all to the meat but it also doesn’t compete with the meat as many denser breads do.

I did the Seasoned Fries as a side.  The sandwiches only come with two small pickle chips and slaw on the side so the fries are extra.  The fries were super crispy and slightly spicy.  I used some of the original BBQ sauce to dip them in just for a little extra flavor and as a chance to taste some sauce because the sandwich didn’t need it.

J stayed simple and ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich.  The house smoked pork is also served on Texas Toast with slaw and pickles on the side.  J didn’t love the Texas Toast as much as I did and in hindsight, should have upgraded to the pretzel bun.  She did really like the pork though which can always be hit or miss.  Some places are “too meaty” but Red Rock nailed it.  She was a little disappointed in the sauce choices as she prefers a thick, sweet Memphis sauce while the closest to that at Red Rock is their original but it’s still a fairly thin, vinegary sweet sauce.

J picked the Brussel Sprouts for a side and even the waitress got excited when she picked those.  These sprouts are tossed in a bacon dressing and topped with shaved Parmesan.  She really liked these sprouts.  I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen her order Brussel Sprouts so there’s not a lot to compare them against, but she really liked these.

L was really excited she got to order a soda for lunch.  They have Faygo products so they didn’t have Sprite but J talked her in to a Cream Soda.  The waitress brought her a glass and some ice so she could pour the bottle out but she would have been find just drinking it from the glass bottle.

This was a special weekend for L but she still has to order off the kids menu.  She doesn’t eat enough to order off the regular menu unless it’s a salad and she wanted something hot.

She picked the Mac N’ Cheese as her entree.  This bowl of corkscrew noodles is covered in a thick cheese sauce and broiled until it’s nice and crunchy on the top.  L ate about half then J and I fought over the rest.  She picked fries as her side choice and ate about half of them as well.

Our bill before tip was right around $45.

Red Rock Downtown Barbecue was well worth the detour off the highway.  We got off to a rocky start with not being able to be seated right away but our meal was more than worth the wait.


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