Worth Knowing: Wild Roots in Royalton is worth the trip
The Royalton restaurant Wild Roots was mentioned 3 times in conversations I had last week so I decided to drive over and take a look.
Royalton is nearly as far west as you can get in the Upper Valley. I got off exit 3 on I-89, took a left, and was at Wild Roots just a few minutes later. Wild Roots occupies a beautiful brick building right up against Vermont Route 14. The building was built in 1818 and originally served as a stagecoach stop. Now its downstairs hosts Wild Roots' 2 separate dining rooms, outdoor patio for dining, office and kitchen.
One dining room at Wild Roots
Other dining room and cozy bar
The menu at Wild Roots is eclectic and adventurous and - above all - very, very local. There are 5 different cheeses on the menu and each one hails from a Vermont farm. You can start with mushroom toast with duck eggs and arugula or have stir fried Chinese cabbage with a spicy, sweet sauce. For your main course you can choose between vegetarian, fish, chicken or steak platters. The two most appealing to me were the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Salad with local greens, heirloom tomatoes, buttermilk dressing and savory herb waffle crouton and the Swordfish Chop with smashed red potatoes, wilted frisee and peach salsa. Local vegetables like mushrooms and corn are available as sides.
Wild Roots kitchen
The bar offers all different kinds of Vermont beer and cider, mocktails and cocktails, locally distilled spirits and various amari (Italian bitters) and digestifs. There's a wine list showcasing sparkling, red, white and rosé wines. All but the sparkling wines are available by the glass, and the price point seems quite reasonable.
Wild Roots is owned by wife and husband team of Jayne Sully-Cole and Josh Walker. The chef is Chris Farina. They are all committed to serving food as it grows - in other words, on a seasonal basis. Josh told me the menu had just changed to reflect what foods that are available here in the Upper Valley in early fall. Right now Wild Roots is using foods from about 20 different Vermont farms. The menu will change again in late September.
Farms supported by Wild Roots
If you haven't wandered off the beaten path to Wild Roots yet, you should consider it, especially if you're a supporter of the localvore movement. While the fish and wine may come from far away, the vast majority of items offered by Wild Roots come from right here.
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