The Real American
The word "Roadhouse" conjures up many images, sounds, tastes, smells, the wail of an electric guitar, well-worn boots tapping on a hardwood floor, smoke rising from fresh steaks on the grill, the cracking open of a cold beer, hearty laughter, and a sense of freedom. It's a place where people of all types can come as they are and feel welcome. It's a place where great stories are shared and lifelong friends are made. The roadhouse is a unique institution deeply rooted in American culture - from the days of the gold rush, to prohibition in the 1920s, to the heyday of Route 66.
The term "roadhouse" dates from the mid 1800's. Over the years, roadhouses have come to mean many different things to many different people, but the welcoming, upbeat atmosphere and the freedom to come as you are remain constant.
During the gold rush, travelers made their way West and North in search of this natural treasure, and roadhouses provided hot meals and warm beds for the weary and road-worn. Guests were often greeted by friendly innkeepers who came to know them by first name, welcoming them back "home" each time they visited. At one time, Alaska, one of the centers of the gold rush, had more than 3,000 roadhouses across the state.
During the days of prohibition in the 1920s, roadhouses outside city limits became the ideal place for Americans to be a little naughty. Bootleggers transporting whiskey and gin were frequent patrons, as were big-time gangsters of the era such as Al Capone. The melodrama of these establishments during that era was captured in Jimmy Durante's debut 1930 film Roadhouse Nights.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, post-prohibition, post-war America had a new obsession: the automobile. People cherished their cars, and in the heyday of Route 66 - "The Mother Road" - roadhouses dotted the American landscape. As thousands traveled the route from the Midwest to Arizona and California, the roadhouses became the main place to loosen up and socialize, serving up home-cooked meals and nighttime entertainment. Nat King Cole immortalized the Mother Road and its culture in his 1946 hit that included the famous phrase, "Get your kicks on Route 66."
Music has always been an integral part of the roadhouse culture, particularly the blues and blues-influenced rock-n-roll. The musical spirit of the roadhouse is evoked in the sounds of such legendary artists as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, among others.
With the development of the national interstate highway system in the late 1950s and early 1960s, roadhouses began to fade from the landscape to be replaced by "modern" convenient marts and truck stops. Interstates were designed to give travelers speed and safety, but lacked the character and charm of the old highways like Route 66, which provided a sampling of true Americana.
So where is the real American roadhouse today? Although only a handful of the historic roadhouses are still standing, roadhouse culture is alive and well at Logan's Roadhouse. This popular restaurant and bar revisits the classic roadhouse from days past and brings it to life in a modern way through its welcoming hospitality, attentive service and kickin' upbeat atmosphere. Come as you are to Logan's, grab an ice-cold longneck at the bar, enjoy a fresh, mesquite-grilled steak, and tap your toes to the rockin' roadhouse sound. Make lifelong friends. It's a real American tradition.