Buckeye Roadhouse is the quintessential Marin County dining mainstay. Enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine in our cozy rustic bar before entering the beautiful Aspen lodge-style dining room, adorned with vaulted ceilings and a magnificent river-rock fireplace. The smoker out back produces exceptional wings and brisket, but the leather banquettes and recessed lighting call for steak. At this Mill Valley landmark, the bacon-wrapped petit filet mignon comes with a red wine sauce, and the Brandt rib eye has a herbed garlic butter sauce so decadent you’ll want to take a bath in it.
We spoke to the general manager Peter Schumacher about how Buckeye became such an institution.
What can you tell us about the history of the Buckeye Roadhouse?
The Buckeye was built in 1937 right when the Golden Gate Bridge opened up. It was a wonderful German restaurant lead by Rudy Bush and his family. When Higgins and Upson took over the lease in 1990, they kept the warm lodge-like feel in place but improved the look of the Buckeye. We have been going strong ever since, increasing our regular customer count year by year by offering an amazing food menu, warm professional service in a unique atmosphere.
What do you think it is about the Roadhouse that has made it a Marin mainstay for so many years?
We have an amazing staff that loves to take care of our guests. They want to lead them through a mini culinary vacation by suggesting our best food items paired with wonderful mostly local wines. Our bartenders are the best around, they recognize almost everyone and take good care of them. Many of our staff members have been here for at least ten years, many close to twenty years. We are also very involved in the community: All the owners live in Mill Valley, we try to support as many schools and charities as possible, I think our clientele appreciates that and they give back to us as well.
Where does the inspiration for your menu come from?
What do you think makes the Roadhouse an essential part of the community?
The Buckeye is so much to so many different people. Some folks visit us for their birthdays, anniversaries. Many parents ask their kids where they want to go for their birthdays and graduations, and most kids want to come here. We are also heavily involved in the community. I hire many high school students from Tam High and Redwood for different positions, and these kids report back to their friends how much fun it is to work here and how much they have learned. Young and older people from all walks of life are comfortable here. You won’t find a more diverse crowd in any other restaurant.