Panera – Well, Sort Of
Did you know that there is a Panera Bread right here in Walnut Ridge?
No? You didn’t know that?
That’s because I’m lying.
There is no Panera Bread in Walnut Ridge, but Uprooted Cafe is pretty similar.
Uprooted Cafe is a small, family-owned cafe that serves breakfast and lunch. It’s fairly new, so several of you may not know that it even exists.
I took a friend with me to eat lunch at Uprooted Cafe. When we walked in the doors, we were greeted with several friendly faces. The menu was plastered on the wall to the left, and we were told to take our time to choose what we wanted. Once you order, you make your own drink, and then take your number to any table you like.
(The best part about the process above is that the guy who took our orders had a really cool accent; I was too chicken to ask where he was from.)
There are several seating options inside Uprooted Cafe. In fact, there is even a relaxed area near the back where a television and a couch sit, in case you are ever looking for a place to drink coffee and get some homework done (that last bit is just for any of you adults reading; college students don’t actually do homework).
In no time, our food was ready. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich – I know, boring; I’m not an adventurous foodie – and my friend ordered a chicken-bacon-ranch baked potato. And, let me tell you, she got just that.
If I had a dollar for every time she said, “Wow, this is really good,” I would have four dollars.
The staff was very kind and courteous when delivering our food and, even though we made our own drinks, they were quick to offer refilling drinks themselves throughout our meal. Not only this, but long after we had finished our meal – which was fantastic – the staff continued to come by and ask if my friend and I needed anything, or if we would like anything else (this could have been a nice way of asking us to leave, but it certainly didn’t feel that way).
One of the cool things about Uprooted Cafe is that it gives customers the chance to purchase ink drawings and paintings from a local artist named Beverly Ellis. Ellis is currently battling cancer, and all the proceeds from her artwork go towards her fight. The paintings may be a little pricey for us college students, but the ink drawings are far more manageable and quite incredible. My friend and I sat and looked through Ellis’ entire book of ink drawings, fawning over her amazing work.
Another cool thing about Uprooted Cafe is that my friend and I used to work there, except it certainly was no cafe when we were employees. It was actually a vinyl, stitching, and screen-printing shop called Simply Stitched Designs. Some of you may have heard of it before; some of you may have even visited when it was still open.
The owners sold the store several months ago, and the transformation from shirt store to cafe is truly incredible. My friend and I felt as if we were in a daze as we looked into the kitchen (it used to be a screen-washing area), and we freely explored the restaurant and all the changes that had been made. If you do plan on visiting Uprooted Cafe, try and imagine racks of shirts and a huge screen-printing machine instead of tables and chairs; that’s how my friend and I knew it.
Uprooted Cafe is a cool, relaxed little spot to grab a bite of food or get some coffee. The staff is extremely friendly and quick about their jobs. I thoroughly enjoyed lunch at the new restaurant, and I do plan on going back (and this time, I’ll ask that guy where he is from).
Uprooted Cafe is located 110 NE Front Street in Walnut Ridge. It is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except for Sunday. You can call them at (870) 679-1164.