Spotlight: Restaurant Capitalizes on the Local Food Movement
As the local and homegrown food movement continues to expand, restaurants are following suit by utilizing fresh and local ingredients in their menu options. Using local ingredients not only provides the utmost quality of food, but also helps support local economies.
We would like to highlight a restaurant located in quaint Powell, Ohio. Local Roots, owned by Jessi Iams, uses fresh, local ingredients in menu options as a competitive advantage. Since its inception in June of 2009, Local Roots has remained true to its core philosophy: Utilizing straight-from-the-farm, fresh ingredients to deliver high-quality, nutrition-packed food. According to Iams, “Everything tastes better when it comes from the farm.”
This philosophy was instilled in Iams at a very young age. Four generations strong, Iams’s family has owned and operated their farm. As a child, Iams can recall her grandmother allocating only $20 per week for groceries, mainly for toiletries and non-perishable goods. Whatever the $20 could not cover, they would turn to the garden. As Iams grew up and begin expanding her palate, she realized homegrown food cannot be compared the food you find in the store or typical restaurants. The flavor is unmatched.
The farm, which generates the majority of Local Roots’s produce, is situated between Plain City and Marysville, Ohio. More than one acre of land is devoted to producing tomatoes, peppers and anything the chefs find to be an innovative new ingredient.
In addition to Iams, her uncle is also heavily involved in the farming community. He and other local farms trade produce in order to have a more robust repertoire of local, fresh food for customers to enjoy. Amish auctions also play in integral role in this collaborative farming community.
This ardent dedication to quality and customer satisfaction promotes a strong, loyal clientele base. “We have our weekly regulars, our monthly regulars, and our random regulars,” said Iams. In addition, the restaurant generates a fair deal of foot traffic. Most of the customers are referrals who chose to give the restaurant a shot based on positive word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth and advertising in Edible Columbus are the only outlets of advertising Iams employs. She chooses a select publication because they share the same value of celebrating the local food culture.
Items offered on the menu are devoid of hormones, pesticides and other harmful chemicals. “You truly can taste the difference between homegrown produce and store bought produce,” Iams said. “There is no comparison when it come to fresh, homegrown produce.” This article expands upon the importance of restaurants using local foods.
Earlier this week, we discussed the importance of updated and freshening up item options. What an easy way to update your menu and introduce new potential options to place on the menu based on popularity and customer feedback. Each week there is a “Featured Menu Page” that consists of 5-6 items. The three chefs at Local Roots have free reign on concocting new recipes to incorporate in-season ingredients to showcase each week. Moreover, Iams aims to revamp the overall menu three times a year.
Feeling thirsty? At Local Roots, they have 24 beers on tap. Of the 24, 12-14 are Ohio-based breweries. Iams has developed relationships with these local breweries and looks forward to expanding Ohio-based beer selections.