There’s Nothing Better Than Rock and BrewsJan 01, 2017 ● By Christine Perrenot
If you have driven east down State Highway 121 for any reason during the last several months, I am sure you have noticed Rock & Brews, a large restaurant that sits just off the highway in The Colony next to Hard Eight BBQ, in the Nebraska Furniture Mart complex.
When you walk up to the restaurant, you are immediately immersed in a world of rock and roll. Loud rock music and a friendly staff greet you as soon as you walk past the large outdoor, dog-friendly dining area. My crew of friends decided to eat inside on this particular day. The ambiance was really cool and eclectic! Not an inch of the facility strays from the rock and roll theme. Concert lighting, music video favorites, memorabilia and photos of notorious rock legends cover the walls, transporting diners back to an era that was all about rock and roll.
After we were seated, the waitress informed us about some of the highlights of the menu. The restaurant serves American comfort food and has one of the area’s largest selections of international and craft beer. Diners who are game for trying a unique brew can choose from draught beers, bottled brews or even a popular beer flight. There is also an extensive wine list and a specialty drink list. We took a moment to enjoy a cold brew ourselves and checked the place out a bit. One of my friends decided to get the Local Beer Flight, which features four different pours of select beers. I chose a mixed drink … the Ginny Hendrix. I admit, I totally chose to order this because of the clever name. The drink mixed New Amsterdam® Gin, St- Germaine®, lemon juice, blueberry, thyme, simple syrup and soda. It was refreshing and delicious … something Jimi Hendrix himself might have enjoyed.
We got a good laugh at some of the throwback music and videos playing on televisions throughout the restaurant, and I was truly amazed at how much memorabilia was showcased at the restaurant. The fun, upbeat environment just puts you in a good mood and invites you to leave your troubles at the door. It was the perfect spot to celebrate the beginning of the weekend.
Before long, our tummies were rumbling and we were ready to order a few appetizers, or “Opening Acts,” as they are called on the Rock & Brews menu. When you first open the large menu, you immediately notice that a lot of the dishes are labeled either “spicy” (depicted by a guitar icon) or have green chile in the ingredients (depicted by a chile icon). Everyone at the table was in favor of taste testing some spicy and more eccentric foods, so we decided to try the Sriracha Shrimp and the Crispy Carnitas Tacos. The Sriracha Shrimp was anything but ordinary. The tangy, hot sauce coated the fried shrimp providing a fabulous mixture of various flavors. Dip the shrimp in ranch (I am sorry … I cannot help but put ranch on most things …) and you really have something great. The Crispy Carnitas Tacos originally caught my eye while I was perusing the menu because they are served with hatch green chiles, which sounded quite unique. Hatch chile is a new trend in food, and I love that! The crispy flour tortillas are stuffed with slow-roasted pulled pork, cotija cheese and cilantro and are drizzled in a beautifully-colored tomatillo salsa. Other notable appetizer items included the Fire Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Hawaiian Street Tacos and the Green Chile Cheese Fries. Different, right? I wish we could have tried a little bit of everything, but we did need to save enough room for the main course!
The restaurant serves everything from Signature Wings and VIP Salads and Soups to R&B Wood-Fired Super Stars, Front Row Pizzas and Craft Burgers. You can pretty much count on the menu having anything you are in the mood for.
As the waitress worked her way around the table taking orders, I went back and forth on what I wanted to order. When I eat somewhere, I like to feel like I tried something exclusive to that restaurant, so I went for the Santa Maira Tri Tip Sandwich, which is considered Rock & Brews’ signature sandwich. Mission accomplished! The flavorful meat is tucked inside a sourdough roll and smothered in amazing pico de gallo. The sandwich is made complete with baby greens, garlic aioli and barbecue sauce. Sandwich sides include fries, potato salad, rice, fresh fruit or steamed vegetables. I, understandably, went for the house potato salad, to complete my authentic Rock & Brew meal. My friend, Brittany, went for the pizza. I tried a bite of the Pizza Salad, and it was something special. The presentation of the pizza was fabulous, and the bright colors from the veggies and lettuce were very eye-pleasing. The pizza is exactly what it sounds like, constructed with a farmers’ market salad ready to eat on top of a freshly-baked pizza crust, coated in herb butter. Mozzarella and Parmigiana cheese help keep the classic pizza elements part of the dish.
I am embarrassed to admit that we did go ahead and have dessert, or an “Encore,” as the menu calls it. The names of all the food items on the menu are so catchy, and I had to see what kind of dessert would be named “Purple Rain Drops.” The dish featured six chocolate-filled French donuts, drizzled in raspberry sauce and covered in whipped cream. Yes, please! Brittany was intrigued by the “Float On,” which is a classic root beer and vanilla ice cream float. You cannot go wrong with a classic like this!
Rock & Brews is also very well-known for its Backstage Brunch, which is available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. I looked ahead on the menu and already know I will be trying the Sweet Heat Alabama, which is fried chicken on a Belgian waffle, served with two eggs and syrup. Sign me up for brunch! The menu incorporates all diets, offering gluten-free choices, fun dishes for kids, or “Lil’ Rockers,” and a “Rockin’ Fit” selection of items that are all under 600 calories.
Take a little tour through the space to look at all the neat rock memorabilia, and be sure you stroll by the merchandise stand to pick up a hat, shirt or other piece of commemorative gear. If you are interested in trying some of Rock & Brews’ innovative menu items or checking out the local live music scene, head over to Rock & Brews today! The restaurant is located at 5351 Nebraska Furniture Mart Drive in The Colony. Check out a menu ahead of time at rockandbrews.com.