A visit to the restaurant at the Waldo Golf Course in Roann in Wabash County had been on my to do list ever since I found out about their prime rib specials. Once we moved south of Warsaw, the talk of finally paying it a visit became more prevalent. One Saturday night, it became a reality as we made the 20 minute trek south to the outskirts of Roann and a golf course I had driven by countless times. To put it simply – it was worth the wait.
The Waldo Lounge sits in the same building that houses the golf course’s clubhouse. I’m not really sure how they pull it off but it works somehow. With its log beam exterior, the building resembles a log cabin, a theme that continues to the inside. Dominated by wooden beams which cover the bar and walls, the rustic décor melds seamlessly with the industrial-like Harley Davidson memorabilia that seem to dominate every square inch of the place.
The Harley memorabilia is courtesy of the Waldo’s owner, Michael Brandt. Mr. Brandt owns successful Harley dealerships in the nearby towns of Wabash and Marion. Access to their swag, if you will, comes pretty easily for him.
Back to the outside for a moment – as I mentioned above, the restaurant sits on a golf course. To take advantage of the beautiful surroundings, some smart soul decided years ago to make sure there was ample outdoor seating. With at least a half dozen picnic tables, a massive fire pit and benches, the Waldo has created an outdoor area that offers its visitors an escape from whatever might be ailing them, even with highway 15 a long 290 yard drive away. It’s really what sets this restaurant apart from others who offer al fresco dining. It’s meant to be inviting and tempt you to stay longer and it accomplishes that on both accounts.
The service was great. Our food and drink orders were taken quickly and the waitress was more than willing to answer our newbie questions. I can’t recall her name to save my life (younger girls with brunette hair) but if I was opening a restaurant or bar, I’d hire her in a minute.
Let’s get straight to it. We were there for the prime rib and it didn’t disappoint. I was so enamored by the place that besides forgetting the waitress’s name, I forgot how much I paid for the prime rib. I do remember this – it was cheap. It came with a baked potato and a side salad and both were as expected. The prime rib, ordered medium rare, was as thick and juicy as advertised. It delivered on taste as well, so much that it will probably be my go to spot for prime rib in the future.
Ahh, the drinks. I asked the waitress if they had a drink menu, even though I knew deep down inside they probably didn’t. She confirmed my suspicion so I ordered up my go to cocktail when no drink menu is available – a Jack and Coke. When I spotted a bottle of Basil Hayden’s eyeing me from the back bar, I quickly placed an order of that with Coke. To my slight surprise, they were both $6, a bargain when you realize that a bottle of Basil Hayden’s runs about $30 retail. If the prime rib doesn’t entice you, those prices should do the trick.
Both were well-balanced, a trick that a lot of bartenders amazingly choose not to pull off, instead making them way too strong (because they think they’ll get bigger tips) or making them too weak (because they own the place and they’re being cheap). There are only two ingredients to these drinks so you can’t be off on your builds. There are no juices, syrups or bitters to hide behind.
If you’re into exploring a little bit to find a treasure, make sure the Waldo is on your map. I don’t leave the Warsaw/Winona Lake community much when it comes to dinner choices but I wouldn’t hesitate to head south to Wabash County. Just make sure you leave a little extra time to enjoy the outdoor seating area. It was created for your enjoyment so don’t disappoint the owners … and disappoint yourself. You’ll thank me later.