In our new blog series, Lunching in Little Rock, Michael Kirkpatrick will explore and review the city’s best restaurants – all in time to get back to the office. First up is The Root Cafe at 1500 Main St., a vegetarian-friendly restaurant with a great burger.

My son, Willem, took a class at the Innovation Hub this week. I picked him up at noon, so we decided to try some of the great lunch places downtown. We wanted to go to restaurants with great food and an atmosphere that isn’t what you would normally get in west Little Rock.

A table inside The Root Cafe. The cafe also has outdoor seating.

The Root Cafe

On Willem’s first day he wanted a burger. My favorite choice for a burger downtown is The Root Cafe. The Root sources from small farms and producers here in Arkansas; this includes 100 percent of the meat, eggs and bread, as well as the majority of the vegetables, fruits, nuts and cheeses.  Willem’s first impression was that the cafe wasn’t exactly a “high class restaurant,” but the chill vibe is all part of the fun. Eventually, he settled into the scene. The line was out the door, but the weather was nice, so we read the menu and talked about where the food came from.

“It’s good to know the food is not made in a chemical plant,” Willem said.

My lunch partner ordered the cheeseburger with Wisconsin Swiss and a side of sweet potato fries. His favorite part was the Arkansas Fresh Bakery bun. He wasn’t a fan of the sauce on the side. Beef for The Root’s burgers comes from a Conway farm.

I had the “Old World Style” brat with a side of fried green tomatoes. The dish was great – it tasted like summer visits at my grandmother’s house when she made homemade brats and kraut. The tomatoes were spot-on and the dipping sauce had the perfect amount of spice.

The Root’s bratwursts are made from pork from a Perryville farm. Arkansas Fresh Bakery supplies the brat buns in addition to the burger buns, and homemade sauerkraut is served with the meal.

Willem said his least favorite thing about The Root Cafe was the long line and wait. It turns out that the wait was my favorite part; I got to sit at a neat place and share a root beer with a cool kid.


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