Still the One… {Day 5 – the Local Roots Burger}

Do you know that song you keep coming back to, playing it on repeat until you swear you’ll wear out the notes?

What about that butter-soft favorite white tee?  Or that perfect pair of jeans — frayed in the knees but so magically comfortable that you can’t bear the thought of throwing them away?

Um. Yeah.  My feelings about the Local Roots burger are pretty much like that.

And I’ve been wolfing down so many great burgers lately — I’m almost through the first week of my 14-day ‘Noke Burger Challenge — that last night I couldn’t help but feel a pull back to my main squeeze, if only to regain a little perspective.  So when my girl SB said *she* was experiencing an insatiable yearning from the LR burger, I jumped at the chance to join her for one.

And oh.  Hold me.  This thing is just as life-changingly delicious as I remember it.

I should probably confess from the outset that I have a bit of a crush on Local Roots — Roanoke’s most well-known farm-to-table restaurant — for *so* many reasons beside the burger.  I love their their commitment to working with Southwestern Virginia farmers.  I love that every time I go in, I meet folks I know, and the bartender remembers my name.  I love the farm-themed local art on the walls, the slick live-edged slab of wood that makes up the bar, the warm yellow light, the general happy atmosphere.  And my guy T particularly loves their bacon-infused Old Fashioned:  a perfect brunch cocktail if there every was one.  Most of all, I love the way the restaurant is nestled comfortably into the Grandin Village community, right next door to the Grandin Theater and across the street from the health-foods co-op.  Cozy and friendly and elegant without trying too hard, the place just feels right.

So last night, when SB and I perched ourselves at the corner of the bar where we could watch all the fancy cocktails being made at close range — not to mention hear the sizzle and pop of our burgers cooking in the kitchen — life was good.

Just look… We look like we’re in love:

But really, we’re just excited about burgers.

Now, to be honest, Local Roots *probably* wishes I was talking about something other than their burger here — because really, they have so many creative, seasonally-focused dishes on their course menu that it almost seems like a shame to keep going back to this cult classic.

Except that it doesn’t.  Because it’s just that good.

I’ll also admit that this burger is not inexpensive by Roanoke standards.  At $18, it feels like a splurge … But it tastes like one, too.  Which is why I keep coming back for more.

As a matter of comparison, this is a very different burger from the beautiful monstrosity I discovered at River and Rail earlier this week. There, the focus is on smoky-sweet sauce, eye-popping size, and the unmistakable crunch of the fried onion straws.

Here, the burger’s a little smaller and more unassuming … But that just means that you can better taste the delicate grassy-green flavor of the locally raised beef (fantastic), and especially the house-made pimiento cheese, which is by far the show-stealer on the sandwich:

I don’t even know how to describe this pimiento cheese, except to say that when your plate arrives, the cheese is sizzling and bubbling and melting in a gooey sheet of rich flavor over top of the patty.  Liquid gold, kids, running down your fingers.

But don’t forget the snappy crunch of those spicy house-made pickles, served on the side.  Last night I ordered an entire bowl of them just because — let’s face it — they are awesome.  And then I ate the whole bowl, because it’s Local Roots, and these folks aim to please, even if you like your burger with a tasting flight of wine and a bowl of pickles.

(Yes, that’s what I consumed last night.  An {entire} wine flight, an {entire} burger, and an {entire} bowl of pickles.  Judge me if you want to — I have no regrets).

Is this the best burger in Roanoke?  I’m not sure yet, but it still tops my list as a faithful favorite.  If you haven’t tried it — do!

But save your pickles for me. 🙂

–Ashley ❤