Inspiring Little Locavores at The Root Café

When The Root opened in the summer of 2011, it represented one of the first establishments to fully embrace the local food movement already sweeping the country. Customers soon realized, however, that at The Root, “eating local” was more than simply a charming philosophy; it meant exceptional quality and some seriously tasty food. The Root supports a long list of local farms, dairies, and bakeries—not only because they strive to build their community, but also because these places provide some of the finest produce, cheeses, breads and meats available in Arkansas.

Parents looking to put something a little better on their child’s plate will find that The Root is a perfect place for their family. Owners Jack and Corri Sundell have made it a point to provide a bright, cheery, casual environment that welcomes eaters of all ages, ensuring that children enjoy their experience at the small South Main Street café just as much as their adult counterparts.

Photo by Daniel Walker

Photo by Daniel Walker

What makes The Root such a fantastic place for families? It’s more than just great food. It’s a small restaurant, with a good number of tables outside, on their porch and inside their small garden, ideal for kids who sometimes struggle with their inside voices. To keep children entertained while parents enjoy their meals, the restaurant has several small wicker baskets filled with toys and games. Toy cars, building blocks, crayons and coloring books and even a handful of board games are available for families who really want to take their time and enjoy the afternoon. Outside in the garden, children can frolic among the flowers and color on the rocks and stepping stones with sidewalk chalk.

Then, there’s the food.

Weekend breakfast is one of my family’s favorite times to sit down together and enjoy an unrushed meal. No one does breakfast better than The Root. Most kids are big fans of pancakes and those offered here are some of the best in Little Rock—three thick, warm buttermilk hot cakes, with real maple syrup and whipped butter. Their biscuit sandwiches should not be missed either—they put other inferior fast food options to shame. Here you’ll find a fresh, homemade biscuit—light and flaky—topped with freshly-ground sausage or smoked ham, a farm-fresh egg and locally-sourced cheddar. And, for a sweet morning treat, The Root’s popular “donut muffin” (with cinnamon and nutmeg and rolled in sugar) is always sure to please. Your family will never want to grab their morning grub from a drive-thru ever again.

Photo by Daniel Walker

Photo by Daniel Walker

Lunch at The Root is equally impressive and provides a number of satisfying kid-friendly menu items. Their “Everyday Dirt” sandwich is a mix of smooth peanut butter, cream cheese and homemade muscadine jelly on toasted Boulevard Bread Co. bread—and believe me, it’s no ordinary PB&J. They do a wonderful grilled cheese sandwich with Wisconsin Swiss or local Honeysuckle Lane yellow cheddar—so good, it’s incredibly hard for parents to keep their hands off (don’t worry, there’s also a larger, adult-sized version available). Kids are always fans of French fries, and The Root’s are some of the finest in town. Theirs are thick-cut, lightly fried and come out much less greasy, but more flavorful, than what you might find at a fast food joint. And of course, the burgers are sure to be enjoyed by everyone in the family—thick, juicy and ground fresh in house.

The South Main Street neighborhood continues to blossom with time and it’s now one of the most family-friendly sections of Little Rock. When the weather’s favorable, a family could happily spend hours in this part of town enjoying great bakeries and sweets, ice cream, strolls through Bernice Garden, unique shops and some of the finest eats in town at The Root.

The Root Café
1500 S. Main St., Little Rock
(501) 414-0423

www.therootcafe.com

Native Foods

November 16: American Indians from long ago ate many of the same foods you and I eat today. Join a park interpreter in learning about traditional foods eaten by many American Indians. It wouldn’t be fair to talk about food without taking a sample. After learning about the food American Indians ate, you will be able to try a variety of dishes enjoyed by American Indian cultures of the past and present. Food is always better shared, so please bring your family and friends. Come early before the food runs out! Admissions: $3 per person, under 6 free. For more information contact the Toltec Mounds Visitor Center at 501-961-9442.

Farm Fresh Wishes

November 7: Come on out and join us for a delicious, farm fresh dinner benefiting the children of Make-A-Wish Mid-South. Event place: Arkansas Governor’s Mansion (1800 Center Street, LR, AR). Event time: 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. For more information visit www.midsouth.wish.org.

Camp Aldersgate 30th Annual Fish Fry

October 6: Camp Aldersgate is holding its annual Fish Fry, with family entertainment, bake sale, live music, face painting, kids fishing derby, pumpkin patch and more. Event time: noon to 3 p.m. Tickets are $15; kids 6 and under are free. An additional cost may be associated with some of the event’s activities. Visit www.campaldersgate.net for more details.

2013 Little Rocktoberfest

October 5: This is an annual celebration of beer and brats on the banks of the Arkansas River. Over the past decade Little Rocktoberfest has become the biggest beer festival in Arkansas, celebrating craft beer, local breweries and the home brewing hobby. Admission includes tastings and foods. Event place: Dickey-Stephens Park. Event time: 6 to 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.littlerocktoberfest.com.

34TH Annual Cave City Watermelon Festival

August 8 thru 10: Crafts, food concessions, and free entertainment will be part of Thursday night, Friday night, and all day Saturday. The event will take place at Park Street in Cave City, AR. For more information contact Charles Landers at 870-283-5959.