Red Rose Cafe | Santa Rosa

Puffing away quietly on the deck, the Red Rose Café’s Southern Pride smoker tells you all you need to know. Where there’s smoke there’s BBQ. And where there’s BBQ, there’d better be a guy like Harold Rogers, throwing a dash of this and a dash of that into his recipe for serious southern sauce–sweet and spicy and rib-sticking–and guarded so closely that even his wife doesn’t know the recipe.

Soul food once again goes prime time in Santa Rosa as the Red Rose’s owners, Harold and Nancy Rogers, bring on southern-style home cooking not seen since Terry’s Southern BBQ vanished.

Raised in Arkansas, the Rogers know from BBQ, and collard greens, sweet potato pie, catfish, fried chicken and yams–all cooked from scratch. In fact, Nancy insists on getting her farm-raised catfish from the Southern ponds her family works. She just feels better knowing where it comes from.

Surrounded by family (their children, grandkids and
extended family are all part of the mix), the Rogers recently moved up
in the world from their former space in a bowling Sebastopol bowling
alley that seated just 16. Remodeling the recently-vacated “Marbles”
space off Piner road, Nancy said the couple made more than a few
upgrades to the kitchen to get it up to their special
soul-food-cooking-needs. Like the smoker, the special pressure cooker,
and plenty of room for Harold to experiment with his recipes.

Best
bets from the menu include the BBQ ribs, cooked on site with hickory
chips; a meaty pull pork sandwich; Nancy’s pressure-cooked fried
chicken and farm-raised catfish and, of course, a piece of homemade
sweet potato pie.

And if you’re hankering for a big breakfast, Red Rose serves up liver and onions, biscuits and gravy, chicken wings and waffles, Louisiana hot links and chicken fried steak. You know, just a little something to tide you over until lunch.

The
restaurant also accommodates lighter eaters, featuring tofu and tempeh
scrambles and a Thai noodle salad for the waist-conscious. Hey, not
everyone can put away a half-chicken, a bowl of greens and a slice of
pie in a sitting. Pitiful, I know, but true.

In fact, there’s just one thing you can’t have at Red Rose, and that’s the secret to Harold’s secret sauce. But take one bite of that smoky sweet meat, and you’ll know all you need to know.

Red Rose Café, 1770 Piner Road, Santa Rosa, 95403
Open for Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday, Sunday until 3pm.
www.redrosecafe.com

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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4 Comments

  1. I Love Red Rose! I stuff myself every single time and I always need a nap after eating there. Best BBQ in Sonoma county for sure!

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  2. first time my family and myself ate at Red Rose was last month, had the fried chicken, seafood plate, food was sooooo very good, owners were very nice and took time to stop by and ask us how are food was, everything was cooked to order, chicken soup was home made not out of the can….will go back again and try the ribs, all most forgot try the chicken wings with BBQ, the best….

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  3. Three of us went to The Red Rose the other night being in the mood for BBQ. The pork ribs were adequate-fairly juicy and tender and the sauce was good but the chicken could not be eaten. We did take out or would have sent it back. The hush puppies were good however as was the cornbread. I will go back just never order chicken there.

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  4. After reading about The Red Rose, we thought we’d give it a try tonight. Our dinner was almost $60, with a tip, for two people(no alcohol).
    I have to say I was disappointed with everything we ordered except the iced tea and our waitress!! The pork ribs were not crispy at all, and they had that flavor of reheated old meat. The catfish had a VERY strong fishy taste, and we could NOT eat it. The tarter sauce was horrid! I’ve had catfish before that was very good, but this was NOT. The hotlink was just a store-bought product. I was expecting something more traditional or home made. The beans were soupy and lacked any flavor other than a strong overwhelming bellpepper flavor. I’ve never seen bellpepper in bbq baked beans! The hushpuppies were nice and crispy on the outside,but very mushy on the inside, kind of like raw dough, ugh! No onion or corn in them either… And then there’s the all-important sauce…it had WAY TOO MUCH vinegar in it, NO spice heat to it at all, and very watery.
    I like to see family-owned restaurants make it here in Sonoma County, and that is where I tend to spend my money. I’m sorry to say that I cannot recommend this restaurant to anyone, which is typically what I do when I find a new great place to eat in town. I hope they will take this feedback to heart, and make the necessary changes to the quality of the food they serve. If not,they won’t make it for much longer here in So.Co. With the economy the way it is, dining out is becoming more of a luxury even for those of us with disposable income. I still have fond memories of Pac Jacks…

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