I noticed a lot of construction activity at The Root Cafe (1500 Main St.) recently and called owner Jack Sundell to get the lowdown. After winning a $150,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase Bank and $25,000 from the HLN show “Growing America: A Journey to Success” last year, Jack and his wife, Corri Bristow Sundell, decided to expand — using shipping containers. Four of the eight containers the restaurant plans to use are now on site and are being connected to the restaurant. Three will be used as new dining space with six windows along the front and two large doors at the end. Another three will expand the kitchen by three and a half times and one will be used for a new walk-in cooler. The Sundells, who are serving as their own contractors, have to complete the whole project before the restaurant can occupy the new space, per code requirements. They hope to be finished this calendar year.
In the meantime, The Root is offering a five-course ticketed dinner every second Friday of the month and a counter-service dinner every fourth Friday.
Also, Sara Slimp, the founder of the Fayetteville food truck Chunky Dunk, has joined The Root as head pastry chef. She plans to continue the Chunky Dunk cookie sandwich line in coordination with Loblolly in Little Rock, too.
Also also, The Root is hosting its second annual Pie Bake-Off and Recipe Swap at 4:30 p.m. at the cafe. Pre-registration for competitors is encouraged but not required. Writer Harrison Scott Key is serving as celebrity judge.