To some, Red House in Deep River, Conn. is their go-to BBQ place. To others, it’s the local burger joint, or it’s the place they can turn to during happy hour for an inventive cocktail or a local craft beer.
“Having a menu that stretches from crafted entrées to pub favorites is sometimes a careful balance on the part of the Kitchen,” owner Marc DeTour states. “… but our guests enjoy the variety.”
DeTour – who owns and manages Red House with his wife and business partner, Abby – got his start in the hospitality business during college, and realized it was his goal to one day own his own establishment. That opportunity came when DeTour was 27 and became involved in his first restaurant.
After leaving the restaurant business for some time to work in landscaping and real estate while his children were young, Marc’s chance to return to his passion came in 2012, in the form of a red house over yonder.
In the years since it has opened, Red House – which pays homage to rock ‘n’ roll in name, vibe, and decor – has evolved into a beloved spot that focuses on creative, innovative dishes and drinks “while still being comfortable, affordable, and family friendly,” according to DeTour.
Popular dishes include the fish tacos (mahi mahi, pico de gallo, pickled onion, cabbage, avocado, lime crema, rice and beans), the warm Brussel sprouts Caesar salad (olive oil roasted sprouts with French bread croutons, and Parmigiano Reggiano), and the house burger (peppercorn-crusted patty, local Arethusa Farm blue cheese, and onion straws).
And let’s not forget the offerings from “the Smoke Box”: burnt ends, pulled pork, a hearty half slab of honey-smoked St. Louis ribs…. can’t choose? Order it all in a combo platter – and don’t forget the side of mac and cheese, perfect for mixing in pulled pork or burnt ends.
While Marc is partial to the chicken bomb wrap, and Abby to the steak frites, both DeTours agree that you really can’t go wrong with any dish on the menu, thanks to the work, creativity and passion of Executive Chef Brian Checko and the high standards of quality upheld by everyone at the Red House.
“If we don’t think a dish is going to be great, it doesn’t make it out of the kitchen,” Marc DeTour said.
The varied food menu is accompanied by a range of libations, including a rotating list of nine primarily local beers on draft, specialty cocktails (or mocktails) that change depending on seasonal mix-ins, like fresh strawberries or blueberries, and “all your standards,” per DeTour.
While Red House has certainly nailed its staple offerings, the staff has some fun with weekly theme nights – there’s Taco Tuesday, fresh house-made pasta dishes on Wednesday, Throwback Thursday (when favorite dishes from the past are served), and Fried Chicken Friday. They also observe events and seasonal celebrations with special menus, like Lobster Fest and Shark Week (mako arancini, anyone?).
“There’s a little bit of playfulness,” DeTour said. “We take our food seriously, we take our drinks seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too serious.”
The food, drinks, and general merriment are complemented by an events calendar that includes live music every four weeks or so, tap takeovers with local breweries, and extra special events like the recent pop-off champagne brunch – DJ and all.
To Red House, the measure of success lies in the customers’ experience. To know that they played a role in a fun night, or a chance to get away from the hubbub of daily life, is what the business is all about.
As Abby DeTour described, there’s nothing like wrapping up a Saturday night shift and looking out at the patrons having a good time – the folks lingering over their dinners, or catching up at the bar – and thinking, “Wow, we made that happen… I like to take that in.”
Visit redhousect.com or follow the Red House on Facebook and Twitter (@redhousect) to view the menu and upcoming specials and events.