Tucked away on the corner of Henderson and Kiln Delisle, Savory Roots is a gem savored by many locals. This spot is the place for fresh, local seafood, a unique twist on chicken and waffles, and decadent desserts.
- by Lisa Monti
The menu, which leans heavily on local seafood, hasn’t really changed since Savory Roots opened in 2017 at the junction of Kiln Delisle Road and Henderson Avenue in Pass Christian. The space, which had been home to several other restaurants before Savory Roots took over, has a wall of windows looking out at the covered porch, where outdoor seating is plentiful.
Owner Reanna Miller’s family has been in the restaurant business for years, out front and in the kitchen, but she said her career took a turn and she became an accountant and now handles that end of things. She and her friend and former classmate Jessica Calvert, who took the culinary career route, opened the restaurant together. It was Jessica who came up with the name of the restaurant, which Reanna said Chef Jessica found soothing. Jessica has since moved on to kitchens in Maine, so now Reanna’s mom, Denise Bartula, oversees the kitchen. As a veteran of the Great Southern Club dining room operations, cooking and making the creole sauces and out-of-this-world desserts comes naturally to Bartula.
Over the years, Reanna said, “We have built up a clientele. People know we are here. We deliver to the Chemours DeLisle Plant every day. We also offer catering for the holidays, and we do weddings.” In addition to a holiday menu, Savory Roots offers a healthy meal prep service year-round, which includes meal delivery to your door.
Savory Roots has a private dining room for up to 25 guests, perfect for private parties. The main dining area is open Monday through Friday for dine-in and carry out lunch and it has extended hours on Friday. That’s when customers come for small gatherings like birthday parties and business meetings. The restaurant is closed Saturday and Sunday.
Reanna said the menu features a variety of seafood, daily blackboard specials, and po'boys. “It’s a good mix. Our most popular appetizer is blackened shrimp nachos, and our main sellers include the fish of the day and our chicken and waffle sandwich.” Jerry Forte, local seafood wholesaler, delivers the fresh seafood to the kitchen regularly.
Starters include Pig Fries, which are sweet potato fries loaded with barbecue pulled pork, Monterey Jack cheese and a sweet and spice slaw. For lighter fare, there’s Savory Root’s signature salad of grilled chicken, mixed greens, honeyed goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, toasted pecans and dried cranberries, all dressed with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.
If you’re craving a po'boy, you’re good here, too. Savory Roots serves fried shrimp, cheeseburger, and shrimp remoulade po'boys on Leidenheimer bread, the prized New Orleans French loaf that makes seafood, or anything else, just a bit better.
More seafood makes its way into Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos, which I enjoyed on another lunch visit, and blackened tuna salad, which is always a solid choice.
Further down the menu you can find hamburgers, firecracker shrimp on a bun, chicken-fried steak, and a bourbon-glazed pork chop.
On this Monday lunch menu, the fish specials were redfish and catfish, a toss-up for me, plus hamburger steak with garlic potatoes, an option for another day. My pick was the blackened redfish served with fresh squash and garlic-y mashed potatoes. I rarely pass up a fish dish, and this one is not to be missed. The generous portion of redfish, both sides nicely seasoned, was exceptional.
The real dilemma was choosing dessert, listed on a separate blackboard, including white chocolate caramel bread pudding, pecan-caramel Key lime pie, coconut pie (which I don’t see on menus often enough), and a more traditional bread pudding with rum sauce. All of them are made by Denise in Savory Root’s kitchen. The white chocolate bread pudding is a customer favorite, and how could it not be with that combination of ingredients? The wedge of Key lime pie was tart and rich, and the coconut pie was a sweet throwback to your grandmother’s kitchen. We can assume that the fourth pick, the traditional bread pudding, is just as delicious as the other three.
Savory Roots is a little off the beaten path but well worth the drive up Henderson Avenue or along Kiln Delisle Road. There’s plenty of parking in the back of the building, the dining room is bright and comfortable, table service is great, and the menu has enough variety to keep things interesting on every visit.
6340 Kiln Delisle Road, Suite G, Pass Christian
Mon-Thurs 10:30 am to 2 pm
Friday 10:30 am to 8 pm
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