Snacketology: Local Roots

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From the March 8, 2012 edition

Scouting report: Independently owned Local Roots is aptly named, because it’s proof the buy-local movement has strongly taken root in Central Ohio. By this I mean this suburban (Powell) eatery embraces a homemade-from-local-ingredients aesthetic, but it does so with a menu rife with mainstream family favorites and a come-as-you-are atmosphere. In other words, Local Roots significantly raises the bar — but not the prices — on the popular “casual dining” American restaurant.

Setting the screen: This friendly, open and airy, and comfy booth-rich restaurant has an earth-toney color palette and seven well-placed flatscreens, including a huge projection jobbie near the accommodating and often buzzing bar.

Kiss off the glass: A bountiful bottle collection — topped by locally produced Belgian-style all-star Rockmill Brewery — is fleshed out with about 12 beers on tap. Bonus: An all-Ohio tasting flight ($7) that features pours from Weasel Boy (Zanesville), Thirsty Dog (Akron), Great Lakes (Cleveland) and Columbus Brewing Company.

Slam dunks: Naturally sweet zucchini batons encased in a delightfully crackly batter and sprinkled with parmesan cheese (House Fried Zucchini Fries, $8) make for a terrific knock-’em-back snack. Another veggie-friendly option is the homemade, earthy and corn-nuggeted Jalapeno Black Bean Burger ($10). More hearty than healthy are scratch-made and prettily braided calzones — like the Omnivore’s Heaven, crammed with good olives, peppers, mushrooms and several Ohio-sourced Italian-style deli meats.