Downtown Greenville is unique with minimal chain restaurants and more distinctive options to choose from. How can you decipher the ones that actually support local farmers and sustainable agriculture? This question was answered during an investigation of Roost, a restaurant that is actually in a hotel!
Roost is in the Hyatt, downtown Greenville on the corner of North Main Street and Beattie Place. The ambiance is simply beautiful and with the weather in Greenville, you can enjoy outside dining by the fire and waterfall nightly. Not only does the restaurant project a relaxed luxury but the menu is affordable and healthy.
The menu is not only seasonal but also features local and organic. For example, Trevor Higgins, Roost’s executive head chef orders the produce from Bio-Way Farms, some free-range meats from Greenbrier Farms in Easley, goat cheese from Split Creek Farm in Anderson, and even does some shopping at the Slow Food Earth Market in Noma Square. It doesn't get any more local that that!
Local food or sustainable food is an alternative to big agribusiness, focusing instead on supporting local producers and economies. The USDA’s definition of local food refers to products that can be considered day goods distance (DGD), generally under 400 miles from producer to consumer.
Michael Rosen, VP of Food and Beverages, JHM Hotels, created the vision of Roost. He felt Greenville was ready for a sustainable concept although we still have a far way to go compared to other parts of the country. He developed a love for local, seasonal ingredients during his time as head chef in California many years ago where the norm was fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients.
What many call “Farm to Table” Rosen prefers “Soil to City", as the term encompasses Roost perfectly. He explains that the menu changes seasonally so the dishes can not only be full of flavor but have the highest amount of nutrients.
Furthermore, Rosen says his “Rules of the Roost” include a ban on high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, which can be very difficult to implement and hard to maintain budgetary restrictions when the chefs and other staff are responsible for ordering of ingredients. Rosen says one way they keep costs down is by getting slightly less expensive cuts of natural meats such as sirloin instead of filet and then make a culinary creation out of it.
Next time you are looking for a very high quality local sustainable meal, head down to Roost for some “Southern/Low Country with a Twist”. Be sure to try Rosen’s favorite pick, the Country Captain Chicken, the vegetarian highlighted melt-in-your-mouth Wild Mushroom Ravioli, or Trevor’s creation of Crab and Tarragon Funnel Cake with honey and bacon powder.
Don't forget a quick downtown lunch option, the Harvest Table Lunch Buffett for only $9.99. When Rosen was asked if there were other healthy local restaurants in the works for downtown Greenville, he smiled and said, “Stay Tuned Greenville”.