Thursday, March 15, 2012

[Concentrate] Only in Ann Arbor: Ron's Roadside BBQ

The reviews on Yelp say it best. Between the effusive praises and complaints that their favorite dishes were sold out, folks like Peggy F of Northville describe Ron's Roadside BBQ (a.k.a. Romanoff's Catering) as "hidden off to the side of nowhere and nothing." And that just seems to fuel the passion for a family business that has been an Ann Arbor fixture for almost 40 years but mostly attracts those who are 'in-the-know.'

Roman Philipp started his business as a small catering company in the ‘60s, then built the kitchen that currently houses Romanoff's Catering and Ron's Roadside BBQ in 1973. Roman and his family ran the business for all these decades until he passed away a few years ago. At that time, Roman's son Ron was living in New York and operating his own BBQ restaurant; his father's death prompted him to come home and helm the family business.

To say Ron is an interesting character would be an understatement. He studied at LaVarenne Cooking School in France, worked in high-profile kitchens in Manhattan and the Hamptons, was a chef for the Barefoot Contessa, spent some time out in New York's wine country then decided to open his own BBQ restaurant in upstate New York.

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