I had only been to The Root Cafe once. Last March, four of my co-workers and I took a trip over to S. Main Street to this tiny little local joint I had never even heard of. I was excited, but kind of overwhelmed with how to order and what to do my first time. We got there a little after eleven- and thank goodness we did. The line was soon out the door and people were shuffling around looking for seats in the little space! Although it was cramped, the eclectic decor and artsy hipster feel appealed to me. And even if the venue hadn’t left an impression, the food sure did.
A little over a year later, I was itching to go back. It had been too long! Granted, we had spent the last fourteen months trying new places popping up around Little Rock… but it was time to go back to The Root. So two of my super awesome co-workers/friends and I piled into my car and made the drive through the city.
I try not to be a creature of habit when it comes to eating out- but this place is kind of known for their burgers (and brunch items). That being said, I was intentionally going there to devour an onion-mustard-mayo-pickle-cheese slathered fresh slab of beef. I ordered the Honeysuckle Lane Yellow Cheddar cheeseburger- as did my companions. Apparently cheddar is trending, guys. Take note.The burgers come on delicious buns from Arkansas Fresh Bakery and are served with a fabulous little side salad made of a bunch of fancy green earthy things. (I’m no herbologist. Yes I use Harry Potter terms in real life). The meat is tender and juicy- made from freshly ground grass-fed beef from Simon Farms in Conway. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the key right there. This beef has a particular taste that’s rare to come by. I had never had a grass-fed cow burger until The Root, but man is it something else! If you have never experienced this, I really recommend it. I’m not saying it will replace your need for a regular burger, but it’s something you totally have to try!
Along with my burger, I had some hand-cut sweet potato fries. They were hot and fresh and went perfectly with the spicy homemade Hickory Chip mayo. Let it be known that I do not like sweet potatoes. However, I’ll find myself trying sweet potato fries from different places on occasion because sometimes they taste right. And let me tell you, this was one of those times. I have tried sweet potato fries in other local places around Arkansas, but nothing compares to these. Maybe it’s the green atmosphere that makes me feel like I’m making good decisions for my body that inspires my taste buds. Maybe it’s the actual fact that I’m eating local food and that local food tastes good. But these fries aren’t too sweet and are just the right amount of softness. The creamy mayo adds a pinch of pizazz to your classic sweet potato and it’s just the glimmer my tongue desires.
I’m not a person who eats local food for every meal. In fact, I’m more of a poster-child for processed things and whatever’s quick and easy. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love supporting Arkansas businesses and enjoying what our lovely state produces. And, when you can afford it on occasion, it’s a great way to give back to the community! I love going to places like this because the people who work here have a passion for what they’re doing and they really make you feel at home. I love local businesses and I love food- so if you combine the two, you bet I’m going to check it out!
That being said, just because a place is cute and home-grown it doesn’t necessarily mean the food is good. But The Root? The Root is pretty darn delicious. I’m a little picky when it comes to my beef and I’ll try any place once. The truth is in the action of going back to a restaurant. Did I have a good experience? Did it fulfill my appetite in a unique way? You bet. I’ll be back.