Featuring a blend of Southern and Ecuadorian cultures, locally-sourced food and a seasonal menu, Roots Restaurant offers a unique fine dining experience. Chosen as AY’s Best New Restaurant before its first birthday, it’s well on the radar of Arkansas foodies everywhere.
Husband and wife chef team Paula and Karl Lowe started the restaurant in 2019 and abide by the slogan, “Kitchen, culture, community.”
Karl’s love for cooking came naturally, from his grandfather’s butcher shop to Sunday dinner at his grandma’s table. A lover of travel and the late Anthony Bourdain, Karl’s knack for discovering culture led him to Ecuador, where he met his wife. Having worked her way through culinary school, Paula also knew the power of good food. She recalls doing an event for renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adrià at the historic Casa de Cristal in Quito, Ecuador, which is where she remembers thinking that being a chef is so much more than cooking good food.
“We are very proud of partnering with farmers; this ensures the best product that we can get and also empowers our community by sourcing products from local farmers,” Karl says.
Not only is the food sourced locally, but also the plates. Each is handmade by local potter, James Tinker, and his family at Black River Beads, in Pocahontas.
When it comes to its menu, everything is done intentionally.
After making the list of seasonal ingredients and ensuring they’re available for the whole season, the couple takes a long car ride to the farm and starts developing the menu on the drive.
“Most of the dishes are sketched, so we have a vision of exactly what we want,” Karl says. “Everything needs to be according to what we stand for — seasonality, cuisine and marriage of both cultures. After that, we put it to practice on our burners.”
Showcasing cuisine from two very different backgrounds have helped the couple become who they are, and while on this new journey, they’ve not lost sight of their main goal.
“It’s hard to find that in this industry,” Paula says. “Ego gets in the way and it’s easy to fall into that. At the end of it all, we are all cooks. Chef is just a title, but it means nothing if you forget how to be a decent person.”