Farm-to-Table Dining at Local Roots Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia

Colorful Straw Flowers on a Table at Local Roots Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia, April 2014
Colorful Straw Flowers on a Table at Local Roots Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia, April 2014opens IMAGE file
Colorful Straw Flowers on a Table at Local Roots Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia, April 2014

“These are beer-battered ramps,” the opens in a new window Local Roots Restaurant server said while placing a platter down on the table.

Thinking I didn’t hear her properly, I asked, “They’re what?”

Lightly golden brown straws ranging from half an inch to an inch in length sat in front of me. Some were single tubes while others had small branches, looking like miniature barren trees. Underneath the deep-fried coating I knew something dark green was underneath yet had no idea what it was. For all I knew, it could be deep fried caterpillars.

Beer-Battered Ramps, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014
Beer-Battered Ramps, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014

“They’re ramps, I foraged them myself,” she said, “spelled R-A-M-P, like a wheelchair ramp. Enjoy.”

The petite server with her dimpled smile, dainty nose and brunette hair pulled up in a loose ponytail with a handful of hair framing her face reminded me of a forest fairy. I envisioned her prancing through the local woods and fields parting grasses in search of these green things called ramps.

Sliced Bison Tongue, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014 #OldSchoolVA #LoveVA
Sliced Bison Tongue, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014

Turns out ramps are wild leeks, popular during spring in Appalachian states, including Roanoke, Virginia, where Local Roots is located. And, they’re mighty tasty, too. Underneath the delicately battered crunch was a light, refreshing onion flavor. They were served with a side of a dipping sauce which I didn’t try. In addition to ramps, depending on the time of season, other foraged foods are served at this farm-to-table restaurant include nettles and dandelion leaves.

Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014 #OldSchoolVA #LoveVA
Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014

Located in opens in a new windowhistoric Grandin Village, which dates back to the 1920s, Local Roots sits across the street from the opens in a new windowRoanoke Natural Foods Co-op and next to the restored 1932 opens in a new windowGrandin Theater. The restaurant practices S.O.L.E.: Sustainable, Organic, Local and Ethical which means Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner menus change depending upon what’s available from local farms.

Deep-Fried Catfish Sandwich, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014 #OldSchoolVA #LoveVA
Deep-Fried Catfish Sandwich, Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014

Because of this, the menu changes frequently. During my April lunch, in addition to the beer-battered ramps I sampled thinly-sliced bison tongue with mustard and a fresh slaw which was savory and a bit tangy and a fruit and cheese plate with creamy cheeses from area dairies.

The main course was a deep-fried catfish sandwich. The fish fillet was mild and rested on a bed of slightly bitter kale slaw, topped with sweet, thin apple slices all nestled in a freshly-baked, toasted and crunchy hoagie roll. Although I could have ordered hand-cut, thick-sliced fries, I munched on the homemade potato chips which typically accompany sandwiches at Local Roots.

Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014 #OldSchoolVA #LoveVA
Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, April 2014

My beverage of choice was opens in a new windowFoggy Ridge Hard Cider handmade in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It was light, crisp and almost like biting into a bubbly apple. The beverage menu included Virginia beer and wine along with handmade cocktails such as Figgy Maple and Pear Blossom.

As for dessert, well, the menu sure looked tasty but I ended up at walking off some of my lunch by visiting nearby Viva la Cupcake and Pops Ice Cream and Soda Bar, and that’s another delicious post.

My afternoon at Local Roots was more than just a lunch stop to fuel the body. Although forest fairies really didn’t forage for my food, the afternoon was a deliciously flavorful Virginia Blue Ridge adventure served up in one sitting. Yum-ola!

Local Roots Restaurant
1314 Grandin Road SW
Roanoke, VA 24015
Tel: 540-206-2610
Open Tuesday through Sunday, call for times.
opens in a new windowwww.localrootsrestaurant.com

Local Roots Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: I was a guest of the opens in a new windowVirginia Tourism Corporation. They have not reviewed this post and opinions are my own.

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Jenn

Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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