It reads 1831 on one side of the Roadside Inn restaurant in West Eaton. And, if truth be told, the date seems a pretty accurate reflection of when the last major paint job or renovation was done on the building’s exterior. A slight sag here and lack of paint there, though, shouldn’t stop you from visiting the Route 26 restaurant, especially when the fresh haddock sign is propped up out front.
Wife L and I ate there Friday night for the first time, and came away impressed with our meals and the cozy feel of the place. It was very busy when we visited, definitely the place to be in West Eaton; well, the only place to be in West Eaton. We were among the youngest folks in the place, which made me feel good and bad at the same time.
We ate in the dining room to the right of the main entrance, where the foyer floor is well-tracked linoleum. There are about 10 tables, some that accommodate groups of six, in the main room, and each has a crisp, white tablecloth. An old tin ceiling is painted white, along with plaster moldings that ring the room. It is very clean inside, with good light from the windows that front Route 26, even on a dreary, rainy evening.
The other main section of the building has smaller tables and a busy bar, where a game of pool was in progress and one of those terrific old shuffleboard games was waiting for players.
I had the fish fry, which featured a huge piece of haddock. It’s not beer-battered, like at the Huff Brau in Earlville, but rather hand-breaded and seasoned with a slightly salty tang. It was sweet and delicious. I had great sweet potato fries with my fish, and you also can get regular fries and baked or mashed potatoes. The horseradish dipping sauce for the fries was wonderful, too. For another $2 I could have had unlimited trips to the soup and salad bar, but my $10.95 entree was plenty for me.
Wife L had the roast pork dinner, which featured thick, moist pieces of pork loin and mashed potatoes covered in gravy. She enjoyed her meal, too, but wished she had opted for the salad bar for a little more variety. Her entrée cost $7.99.
I can’t recall how many times I’ve passed by the Roadside Inn on my way to Stony Pond State Forest, which is a great place to walk the dog. I had never thought to stop at the restaurant, not sure what it would be like inside.
That’s the thing about locally owned restaurants, you don’t always know what you will get, and that uncertainty can push people away and into the Olive Gardens of the world, which is a real shame. Because I am almost always pleasantly surprised after taking a chance on one of the dwindling number of mom-and-pop eateries that line the roadways of upstate New York. They have stories to tell and good food to share, and are worth that little leap of faith. The Roadside Inn is one shining example of just that.