Red River Rockhouse


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Never be so focused on what you are looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.—Ann Patchett


I have been trying to get the Missus to accompany me on a lunch date to the Red River Gorge.  I have been curious about the Red River Rockhouse since I heard about it from a friend about a year ago. I asked him what is so good about it and he said, “the cheeseburgers”.

Now I love a good burger as well as the next self-proclaimed foodie with a palate similar to eroding blacktop after a tough winter in Eastern Kentucky,  I just didn’t know if I wanted to drive the necessary forty-five minutes for the consumption. I realize most of us will drive even farther to proclaim a dining success.

The Red River Gorge is a gorg-eous place.  It draws tourists from across the country, most it seems come from Ohio.  On any given weekend, the population of Powell and Wolfe Counties is inflated with folks from north of the Ohio River.

The planets must have aligned last week because I got my lovely wife to agree to that lunch date.  We met some out-of-town friends (who amazingly were not from Ohio) through a planned consequence. Now I know you are not familiar with this term, so I will explain.  We talked about meeting for lunch the next day and I would send a text to confirm.  However my friend, who was staying in the lodge at Natural Bridge State Park, did not have cell service and did not get my text saying we would meet them at 1:00 PM that day.  The plan did not materialize, however they showed up anyway and we had really nice time.

Now the important stuff.  If you are going to the Red River Gorge to hike, camp, canoe, kayak, bird watch, or just get out of Ohio, you need to stop in at the Red River Rockhouse for a simple meal of good food.  The menu is not exhaustive, it is written on a chalkboard.  The food is simple but the taste is not. Evidently the Ohioans love a good burger or the selection of craft beers, because it was a busy place.

We started with guacamole and chips, both house-made. I highly recommend this as a starter.  One order was enough for the four of us.

Next I ordered the aptly named Heavenly Cheeseburger. The menu says it is local grass-fed beef topped with cheese made with milk from a local dairy.  I don’t know the difference in grassfed and grainfed beef as far as the taste (I refer to the previous description of my palate), I just know this is one of the best cheeseburgers I have ever eaten.  It came with a side of hand cut fries, or should I say a hillside of fries.  There were a lot of fries and all of them were good.

My wife ordered a burrito.  On the menu, it is described as “a fatty burrito”.  Hello Captain Obvious.  It was the size of a small sombrero.  It took three people two days to eat it all.

Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you, this is high quality food served by a friendly staff in a beautiful area of Kentucky.


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Guacamole and chips for starters.

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Heavenly cheeseburger and fries, always a good choice here.

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Strap on an appetite to tackle the burrito.

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