Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Roxxy

(UPDATE: Roxxy closed yet again this past summer 2012 after a valiant attempt from new ownership. Just an unfortunate spot, perhaps? Please also view part 2, posted in July 2012)

Roxxy is a restaurant-and-bar establishment located on State Street in Salem, Oregon. It is next to Taj Mahal, Sassy Onion, Adam's Rib Smokehouse, and Willamette University. It is home to the former Lefty's establishment from a few years ago.

Roxxy was open under the same name until sometime in 2010, when it had apparently shut its doors permanently. But Roxxy re-opened at the end of September under new ownership, and is looking to become the place to be in this small-town capital city.

Their grand opening sign still up a couple weeks after re-opening
Their hours (as of October 2011)

I made my trip to Roxxy on a cloudy, rainy Monday. I had been reading about Roxxy's re-opening for a few days and decided to make the short trek down to see what they had to offer.

Roxxy's Breakfast Menu (as of early October 2011)
Roxxy's Lunch Menu (side 1) (as of early October 2011)
Roxxy's Lunch Menu (side 2) (as of early October 2011)
It was a little after 11 a.m. and I was looking at the menu (posted outside), when one of the servers (Kelly) came out and happily greeted me. She mentioned Roxxy was under new ownership and now had an awesome five-star chef cooking up amazing dishes (as opposed to the pizza place that occupied the area for the past few years). Intrigued, I walked in and took a seat.

The interior hadn't changed from the last time I was in Roxxy about two years ago. It's an ideal place to be if you want any semblance of nightlife Salem possesses. It houses a full bar, and Roxxy will have entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights -- when the place stays open till 2 a.m.

I asked Kelly what some of her favorite menu items are. She immediately mentioned the Homemade Bacon Mac and Cheese ($8): bacon and macaroni blended with four kinds of cheese, topped with bread crumbs and Parmesan, served with their house side salad.

Homemade Bacon Mac and Cheese on the menu!
For sandwich options, Kelly suggested the Dixie Chicken sandwich ($7): grilled or crispy chicken, their house-made hot sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion on grilled sourdough bread. It's served with sweet potato fries or tater tots, although you can get a cup of soup or side salad for $1 more.

Dixie Chicken Sandwich on the menu
For my first trip, I went with the lighter option and got the Dixie Chicken sandwich, opting for their side salad (with Italian dressing) instead of the fries or tots. As a note, Roxxy will always have the dressing on the side when ordering a salad. I like this option; it gives the customer the choice of how much dressing he or she wants on the vegetables.

Kelly started me off with a small complementary helping of their soup that day: chicken and rice. A very refreshing, comforting sample here. The chicken was moist and cooked nicely. The rice was also cooked well, maintaining its texture without going gummy on me. The vegetables gave the soup a vibrant appearance. It was the right amount of seasoning (not oversalted) and put me in a happy mood to enjoy the rest of the meal.

Chicken and rice soup (Roxxy)
Then I dove into the salad. Again, very refreshing. The Italian dressing had subtle tang and a peaceful overall flavor, allowing me to enjoy the integrity and texture of the fresh vegetables. Shredded cheese is not something I normally see in a side salad, but it worked with the dressing and added that creamy dimension to each bite.

Side salad with Italian dressing (Roxxy)
Finally, the sandwich. I really loved the toasting of the sourdough bread. To me, there's nothing like biting down into a sandwich that has perfectly toasted bread (of any sort). It's something about warm, toasty bread that seems to be my Achilles' heel, a soft spot of vulnerability that simply makes me happy. One of my comfort foods, I guess.

The chicken was great and retained its moisture. But honestly, three items really made this a great sandwich. First, the bread, as stated above. Second, the hot sauce added a lovely tang and very mild kick (for me anyway). Lastly, bacon. Why? because everything's better with bacon -- especially when it's crispy bacon strips. And the bacon wasn't greasy...even better.

I had a couple of concerns with the sandwich. First, I would have liked to see the cheese melted, instead of merely placing an intact slice inside. Second, there was too much onion inside the sandwich for my liking. Because the onion slices were also fairly thick, the bite of the onion lingered on my taste buds for a while -- even long after I had left the restaurant.

Dixie (Grilled) Chicken Sandwich (Roxxy)
Cross-section of the sandwich
Right now, I also don't see very many vegetarian options on any of their menus. For their Sunday breakfasts, they have French toast, breakfast burritos, and an "Absolute Bloody Mary" as possible non-meat items. However, for lunch, many of the vegetarian meals are either appetizers or salads. While I'm sure one can make any wrap or sandwich vegetarian (i.e., grilled cheese), I'm hoping the dinner menu will carry more vegetarian options, as I know several friends who don't eat meat and would love to try this place out.

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