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From Beer and Burgers to Tigers Bats, New Clubhouse BFD Has Flair

With a moose over the bar, a shrine to Johnny Cash and a menu of favorites, newest Rochester Hills restaurant is open for business.

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.

Until now.

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.

Jordan Kotubey February 22, 2012 at 01:18 PM
We went on Saturday night to check out their beer selection. I was pretty impressed with the selection they had available. Overall, this is a nice addition to the Rochester Hills area. We'll be back soon.
Michele February 22, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Thanks for the update, Laura. Was wondering what the fare/ambiance was like there. We will try it out soon!
Michele February 22, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I would like to add one critique: They could do much better with that old sign that looks like it's a spray painted version of the old Ram's Horn sign! Honestly, it wasn't doing much to entice me until I read your review.
Sandy Altherr February 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I would agree with Michele. We will definitely try it now because of your review but their sign should light up or have brighter colors, it's hard to read even in the daylight. It's right by M-59 exit and could attract more people if they could see the sign but glad to hear about the burgers, beer and yummy kids' food !
Sa February 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Yes, the sign is a real downer... Good to hear the positives!
Michele February 22, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Now that it's out in the open (LOL) I honestly think that their sign will harm their business. Everyone knows that that building sat idle for years, and now it makes it look like it's just another version of the old family restaurants that were there. Definitely needs light and more prominence. Not to mention, I think the BFD is a bit curious...
Sus L February 23, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Thanks for the wonderfully written article Laura! We are very happy that you and your family have a new "go to place for burgers":-) We are very excited about the quality food our kitchen is putting out and how lucky we got with hiring such experienced and motivated staff. Thank you also to the several patch readers for the input on the sign. We are going to work on the colors and the lighting/appearance. The City of Rochester Hills has a very strict sign ordinance. Our sign happens to be grandfathered in and we were not allowed to make many changes to it. Thus the reason it looks retro fitted. It wasn't an option to get a new sign. If we went with a new sign it would have had to been lowered to street level. We wanted to keep the tall sign so that it could be seen down M-59. Please don't judge us on our sign:-) Give us a chance to show you that we're not just another version of the old family restaurants from the past! We may try to go to the City for a sign variance. Wish us luck!
sandi February 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Four of us were there last Friday and had burgers and fish and chips and they were amazing. My husband was ready to go back the next day. My son and his girlfriend went the next day and totally agreed with us. They also had the bavarian pretzels with two different dips and loved those. We've been waiting a long time and we're so excited!
Laura Cassar February 23, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I know, Sandi, there are so many things I want to go back and try! It's a really exciting menu!
Tracey G February 23, 2012 at 02:43 PM
What does the BFD really stand for?
Sus L February 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Beer, Food, Drink :-)
Michele February 23, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Now it all makes sense, Susanne! I can see how you want the sign to remain tall in order to be seen. We are a family that dines out often, and we are always looking for new places to try. Trust me, we will be in soon. Best of luck to you!
J.R. February 23, 2012 at 06:18 PM
I have to agree with all of the sign comments. When I first saw the sign, I thought it looked unprofessional and I struggled to figure out what it said. Because of that first impression, I didn't bother to find out more about the place. After reading the positive reviews, now I'm looking forward to checking it out!
Patch February 23, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Susanne, very encouraged by your potentially large selection of Michigan craft beers. The more you feature, the more I (and my friends) will stop by. Many colleague educated folk around the area have been hungering for a place that features craft beers instead of the national brand “water” beers, which lack character, taste, or “beer” for that matter.
Joshua Raymond February 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Sounds like a backronym to me.
JChandler February 25, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Beer and burger place, 'nuff said - leave the kids at home, please... this is what makes the Mills not as attractive as could be. There are plenty of No Alcohol served restaurants to bring the kiddies to.... when we had the little ones the last place we would think to bring them was a pub/bar/beerhouse...
Michele February 26, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I beg to differ. We parents like to enjoy that atmosphere too - and we don't always have the leisure to leave our kids at home. As a family that dines out often, our kids are used to all kinds of venues. And how much more casual can you get than a burger place? The times they are a changin'...
Susan Heholt March 08, 2012 at 06:54 PM
We have been in a couple of times now, and find the people to be very nice and helpful, the food to be fantastic. I'm working my way through the menu and so far can recommend the mussels, the absolutely fabulous mac and cheese, and now the chicken strips (yum, yum from scratch!)... Only thing is I think the stools are a bit hard, and only at a few tables are the foot rests at a comfortable height. Next visit we are going to check out some of the games. One additional comment, the sign can't really be seen from the highway, so if you wanted to re-do it to make it prettier, or give more information (like a computer sign), I don't think it will effect hwo many people can see it, just maybe how they react to it...
David Gifford March 09, 2012 at 06:00 PM
The menu reminds me of Penny Black when it first opened. I think we will be making some bike rides out there from downtown this summer. I need to check out the sidewalk situation from the trail to the parking lot first though. Wish it were closer to downtown!
Laura Cassar March 09, 2012 at 06:29 PM
From my first conversation with Scott back in February the only thing I have ever heard this restaurant name standing for is Beer, Food and Drink.
Laura Cassar May 16, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Wow! I think I could live on the Lou Lou Salami and Bavarian Pretzels! Delish!!!

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