Take Root Cafe: Flavorful and Fresh

The average Truman State University student’s diet consists of three things — dining hall food, fast food and junk food. Many of these foods are enjoyable in the moment but are followed by aching stomachs and feelings of regret. Guilty pleasures account for most of the foods we eat because of habit and habitat.

Kirksville is not known for its cuisine, but there a few gems hidden within the Midwestern rough. Last November, Take Root Cafe introduced itself as a cheap solution for students looking to eat right at an affordable price.

As a member of the organization, One World Everybody Eats, Take Root Cafe attempts to uphold seven principles

  1. Pay-what-you-can pricing.
  2. Patrons choose portion sizes.
  3. Staff are paid living wage.
  4. Serve fresh local/organic food.
  5. Volunteer in exchange for a meal.
  6. Use volunteers to greatest extent.
  7. Community table and engagement.

While I can’t speak on the restaurant’s economic impact or the effectiveness of their pay-what-you-can volunteer system, I did have the chance to taste some of their fresh, locally grown cuisine.

Braised Cuban Pork Sandwich

The braised Cuban pork sandwich features a garden variety of subtle flavors. Despite the sandwich’s name, the sweet caramelized onions are the real star of the show. The onions’ sweet taste and smooth texture work so well with the savory pork I couldn’t imagine enjoying the dish without them.

The spicy chunks of red pepper and sour layer of pickle complete the meal’s quality flavor quartet.

A sandwich is only as good as its bread, which in this case is top notch. The bread crust is a bit tough, but the soft bread within more than makes up for the effort it takes to reach it. The bread’s texture was what you would expect from a soft thanksgiving biscuit, fresh out of the oven.

If you’re new to Take Root Cafe and you need a bit of meat on your plate, the braised Cuban pork sandwich is for you.

Chocolate Terrine with Pecan

For an $8 asking price, I was a bit disappointed by the serving size, but looking back, the Chocolate Terrine was well worth a-dollar-a-bite.

Two chunks of smoky brownie brittle sit proudly atop the terrine, acting as an excellent preview of what’s to come.

If you’re new to chocolate terrine like I was, think of it as a brownie with the consistency of fudge.

Take Root Cafe’s terrine consists of a moist dark chocolate with fresh, flavorful chunks of pecan. The apple compote mixes eloquently with the rich chocolate whereas the marshmallow sauce doesn’t mix quite as well with the chocolate terrine. Also, I wouldn’t recommend mixing the two sauces together. It’s a strange and likely unintentional mixture of flavors.

If you have yet to visit the newest addition to Kirksville’s square, I recommend you give Take Root Cafe a chance next time you’re in the mood for something fresh and flavorful.