Diane Elliot, Owner

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No one was more surprised than Diane Elliot when she said “Yes!” in January 2009 after her son Rives, founder and original owner of Local Roots Café, approached her about the possibility of buying the restaurant. “Never in a million years did I think I would own a restaurant!” she says. “But Local Roots—well, that’s different.”

What was different was that Elliot had long believed in eating local, organic, and sustainably produced fare—food that has been respected from the ground up, “be it animal, vegetable, or mineral.” Working with food is not an anomaly in Elliot’s family. Her daughter is a chef, her sister is a caterer, and, of course, her son started the restaurant he was now asking her to manage. It didn’t take her long to make up her mind. “I told him, ‘Yes, I’ll buy it,’ and I’ve never looked back.”

Elliot might have been a stranger to owning a restaurant, but a respect for home-cooked meals and her desire to serve the community has long been a part of her life. Her mother had always cooked from scratch and her father often stressed the importance of supporting one’s local businesses. Elliot carried those practices and philosophies with her as she grew older: “At Local Roots, we share a vision of serving the local farm-to-table connection while supporting the community’s well-being,” she says. “We are all about real here.”

Outside of the restaurant, Elliot remains committed to several causes that promote eating locally and sustainably. She’s been a member of a local CSA for 15 years and is currently a member of Slow Food, Chefs Collaborative, the Southern Foodways Alliance, Organic Consumers Association, and Food Democracy Now. She even manages to squeeze in time to tend her own garden at home. “In the few spare moments I have, I love to garden,” she says. “In particular, I like trying out principles of permaculture—making an edible landscape in the city and using heirloom seeds to keep the old varieties going and available for future generations.”

 
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