Clubhouse BFD at the corner of Crooks and M-59 has only been open for a week, but it already has a lot of history.
The silk parachutes hanging from the ceiling are from World War I. The table chairs are from the University of Michigan library. The bats hanging on the wall are from Tiger Stadium.
But the menu has an exciting new flair.
Although not huge— it features 14 entrees, eight small plates along with soups and salads — it was meticulously developed over a two-year period to highlight the owners' favorite fare.
"I'm a creature of habit. I always order the same, favorite things at the same restaurants," owner Scott LePage said. "I want this to be the 'go to' place for people's favorites."
At last, the burger we've been waiting for
My husband and I lived in Royal Oak for 11 years and during this time we got entirely hooked on Red Coat burgers. While we have found many lovely burgers in the Rochester area, none have ever quite filled that Red Coat void.
After the first bite of his custom-suit burger, hubby turned to me in wonderment and exclaimed, "It's better than Red Coat!"
Perhaps the secret sauce isn't a secret any longer? Or maybe it's the flat-top grill preparation. Either way, just as Scott was hoping, we've found our 'go-to' place for burgers.
Meanwhile, I was enjoying shrimp tacos inspired by trips to Puerto Vallarta.
"Whenever we're in Puerto Vallarta I get shrimp tacos," owner Susanne LePage said. "They're my thing on this menu. I wanted to get them just right."
The final touch was using soft corn tortillas.
"Once we added those, I said, 'This is it!' "
And on the kids side of the table, there was an ongoing battle to snitch fries and steal bites of macaroni and cheese.
My youngest son begged us to get our own side of fries because none of us could leave his (served with chicken fingers) alone! Even my husband with his side of sweet potato tater tots couldn't resist the skinny and delightfully seasoned fries.
And forget about Kraft for the mac-and-cheese. While the grown-up version is doctored up and might remind you of a dish served a bit farther north, the kid version is a simple creamy delight.
It was a shame we were all stuffed to the gills and had no room for another local favorite, the Sanders hot fudge cream puff that is part of their desert menu. I'd like to say 'next time,' but with entrees this good I wouldn't count on it.
Beer Dude on Duty (b.d.o.d.)
The "B" in Clubhouse BFD stands for beer and they've got plenty. There are 40 beers on draft — Michigan breweries supply 19 of the drafts — and another 140 in bottles. But don't be intimidated.
When you enter The Clubhouse, the hostess stand announces there's a Beer Dude on Duty and Brad Orr, b.d.o.d, hopes you take him up on it.
"I'm more than happy to help," Orr said. But pinning him down on his own favorite beer is not so simple.
"That's an impossible task!" Orr said. "I have a hard time narrowing down to 20 or 25, let alone one."
However, when push comes to shove, Orr is willing to offer up these favorite beer families, "Any kind of IPA, barley wines and Russian imperial stouts."
After studying the beer menu presented on a clipboard, which includes a beer flavor wheel to help guide you, we decided on a Murphy's Irish stout and a Pilsner Urquell.
Can't decide on just one? Beer flights are also available, with your choice of four different 4-ounce samples for $6.
And if you're not in the mood for beer, there are 10 reds and 10 white wines to select from as well as some fun cocktails including The Real Detroit made with Faygo.
Bartender Julie Pete gave these as her favorite beers: Backwoods Bastard and Dragonmead's Final Absolution.
But she also said, "I'm willing to try anything."
Clubhouse BFD is located at 2265 Crooks Road, just north of M-59. They open at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and are closed on Monday. Call 248-289-6093 with questions.