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Central Food 1

Breakfast at The Root is as Good as Ever

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When it comes to breakfast in Little Rock, two restaurants—At the Corner and The Root—are head and shoulders above the rest. I’ve already given some ink to Corner, so figured it was high time to shine some light on The Root.

The SoMa mainstay has been around since 2011. Eleven years is a long time for any restaurant but given that The Root is one of the only true farm-to-table establishments operating in Little Rock, its importance and impact on the local food community cannot be understated. Like most folks who are familiar with the restaurant already know, the overwhelming majority of menu items are comprised of local ingredients.

The fast-casual breakfast service helped put The Root on the map, and as I found out recently, it is still as popular as ever. In addition to the skillful execution of AM classics like biscuits and gravy, buttermilk pancakes, and a biscuit sandwich with egg, cheese, and country ham from Rabbit Ridge Farms, The Root continues to make its mark with creative spins on familiar favorites.

The Shiitake Benny is a perfect example of this. While the restaurant also serves your classic eggs Benedict (called Root Benny), the vegetarian alternative made with Plethora Farms shiitake mushrooms is a welcome sight, as is the Breakfast Banh Mi. Here, two eggs (or scrambled tofu) come topped with a shredded, pickled carrot/daikon combination, which adds a vibrant pop of color and acidity. Hoisin sauce gives the dish some sweet, and sriracha brings the heat for what I am guessing is the most popular item on the breakfast menu.

I have always been fond of a good yogurt parfait, and The Root’s is elite, thanks to house-made granola, muscadine wine jelly, organic yogurt, local honey, and a seasonal fruit–thinly sliced apples this time. The parfait is probably a little too sweet to be considered healthy eating, but there is no denying the fantastic flavor combinations residing in the jar, so I say enjoy and eat up. Hey, at least it’s healthier than the biscuits and gravy.

The coffee is also local. Airship Coffee, to be exact. After you place an order at the counter, grab a mug, fill up to your liking, then grab a table either inside or on the covered outdoor patio. On a cool spring morning, it is hard to beat what this restaurant has going on, which is to say great food and drink and total relaxation.

I always tell folks that The Root is quintessential Little Rock. The place is so charming, complete with a laid-back vibe and a hodgepodge of decorative items that all help create this uniquely cozy environment. The setting is a huge draw, but so too is the food.

Especially at breakfast.

Lunch and dinner aren’t too shabby, either, but that is a write-up for another day.

The Root Café
1500 Main St (Little Rock)
Phone: 501-414-0423
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Closed Monday

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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