While my wife pursued the more typical Local Roots experience during our maiden visit to the edgy eatery in residential Roanoke, VA, my teen-aged daughter and I were fixated on a craving. We had to have a burger. There was one, minor problem -- the menu. Fresh, extremely local trout, chicken breast with wood-fired shiitakes, and blackened North Carolina drum were the featured main courses, but nothing even vaguely resembling a burger. My wife ordered and enjoyed a lighter dish, an Heirloom Barley ($17) concoction with goat cheese from a Rocky Mount, VA, dairy, roasted tomato and fennel, to name a few ingredients.
Luckily, we asked our waiter, Caleb, if there were other options. He produced the "Bar Menu". There it was, on top of the lineup -- the Ancient White Park Burger ($14), served with house pimento cheese, bacon and chipotle aioli between halves of artisan Brioche, with a side of substantial house-cut steak fries. The best was yet to come. We received a lot more than our cravings dictated. In this era of all-natural, hormone-free, grass-fed Angus beef, burger aficionados have been springing up everywhere. How many of those aficionados have sunk their teeth in to Ancient White Park beef?
Never heard of it? Neither had I. It is sourced from nearby Leaping Waters Farm (Alleghany Springs, VA). Its web site, which I visited later, advises that it is one of only a half-dozen farms in the United States raising the Ancient White Park breed. In case you are wondering, these are, in fact, white cows. They render a flavor that is pure burger heaven, juicy but very lean and of a robust texture. I ordered mine without bacon, medium. The beef quality is such that there is no "hangover", just satisfaction.
Despite the burger's starring role, it would be a mistake not to try a starter salad. The "Early Autumn" ($8) combined fresh pear with feta and balsamic dressing, while the arugula salad ($10) is enhanced with crumbled Georgia "Asher" bleu cheese and a poached hen's egg. Of course, every ingredient was hyper-fresh.
Farm-to-table is a trend that has staying power, especially when a chef such as Nathaniel Sloan at Local Roots manages to offer food that is good for you with food (a stellar burger) that is unmistakably good.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.