KemoSabes Roadhouse Grill: The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

. May 31, 2016.

KemoSabes Roadhouse Grill

820 Sandusky St., Fostoria
419-435-3000 |
Hours: 11am-9pm Tuesday-Thursday;
11am-10pm Friday-Saturday; 11am-9pm Sunday.
On FB under “KemoSabes Roadhouse Grill”
Takeout and catering available

During 10+ years of travel from my house in Findlay to my parents’ house and other destinations, I have watched KemoSabes Roadhouse Grill come and go through the car window at least 200 times. We’re not usually looking for a meal – but still – my curiosity loomed high when I found myself pushing open the door.

Honestly, I’d always thought it was a place I wouldn’t want to take the kids.Wrong.

Finally taking it all in, one of the best words to describe the interior is cozy. Owners Nate Heiser and his father, Dave, have made Kemosabes a warm and welcoming place, a great gathering space for friends or family. Chef Billy Reese also concocts an exceptional menu – but we’ll get to that in a bit.

A Little Bit of Fostoria History

KemoSabes, formerly called The Black Cat, originally opened in 1928, and was the first establishment in Fostoria to receive a liquor license after prohibition ended.

After purchasing the historical restaurant, Nate and Dave spent three years renovating with a western theme before re-opening the doors in 2011.

Notable decorations include a giant vintage sound horn that once graced the Fostoria Civic Theater and a scoreboard that served Fostoria High School football games; antique local signs, colorful wrestling singlets and letter jackets from area schools and even the very school scale Nate used to weigh in on before wrestling matches in high school. Wood, repurposed from old farm barns, enriches the atmosphere.

“KemoSabe” was a term of endearment The Lone Ranger used for his sidekick Tonto, and my family and I found ourselves in a rustic room with TVs, a fireplace, and a cowboy and Indian theme. There is also the Elbow Room, Locker Room and a full bar area to dine. As I perused the menu, I was again impressed, now by the alluring array of quality choices.

Distinct, Enticing Menu

Appetizers, soups, salads, sides, sandwiches, even desserts abound. Patrons can also choose from dinner salads like the Gorgonzola Steak Salad or affordable pastas and dinner entrees, for example Cedar Plank Roasted Fish or Cowboy Meatloaf. Also of great interest is the Chuck Wagon, a menu that changes every four or five weeks. In May, the Chuck Wagon offered beauties like Green Apple Shrimp Ceviche (appetizer of small pieces of raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice, often with onions, peppers and spices) for $9, Mango Rice Lettuce Wraps ($7) or Carne Asada Street Tacos ($15), to name a few.

Our kids, ages 10 and 7, both ordered their go-to chicken and fries from the kids menu, with my older son adding a house salad and bread to his order. They enjoyed their food. My son offered this inspiring input about his salad, spoken in an Italian accent: “It’s good, it’s nice. It’s like, full and rich.”

My husband ordered a burger with fries and ate it quickly, which is always a compliment.

My Precious

And now… without further ado… ME.

My eye started to twitch when it spotted the Salmon BLT, grilled salmon with smoked bacon, tomato and lemon dill dressing, served on a grilled bun. A salmon BLT seemed like an amazing idea to me. It kind of rocked my world. I couldn’t wait to try it, and, oh my goodness was I LOVING THE SALMON BLT! It was even presented with a knife pierced into it, like the chef was saying, “Bullseye Sarah! Bullseye!”

The light salmon flavor mixed so nicely with the salty bacon and lovely lemon dill sauce. Add to that the cool crispness of the tomato and lettuce and I was sold! Truly delicious – and better than the one I ate a few weeks later at another restaurant.

My precious was served with fries and a pickle (I like pickles. As a kid I used to drink pickle juice from the jar…I don’t do that anymore.) The fries were top-notch, nice and thick with a slight crisp on the outside and soft inside.

Hi ho, Silver, awaaay!

I think it’s pretty safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed KemoSabes. Just like Tonto would never leave The Lone Ranger hanging, I can guarantee we won’t pass KemoSabes another (insert sad old number here) times without coming in. So glad I finally opened the door.

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: Very
To avoid wait: Make a reservation or come at an off time. Busiest on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-9pm and during lunch from 12-1pm.
Noise level: Moderate
Bathroom amenities: Clean and adequate
High chairs? Yes, and booster seats
Got milk? Yes, white and chocolate
Kids’ menu? Yes, with a nice variety of sides available
Food allergy concerns? Owner Nate Heiser said to let your server know, and every effort will be made to accommodate your needs.