Food News

Esquire Names Tiffany Derry’s Roots One of the Best New Restaurants America

Roots' duck-fat fried chicken has earned national attention.
Roots' duck-fat fried chicken has earned national attention. Alison McLean
Last week Esquire magazine released its annual list of best new restaurants in America and we couldn’t agree more. Chef Tiffany Derry’s Roots Southern Table in Farmers Branch, an ode to  Southern cuisine and hospitality, snagged a top 20 spot, coming in at No. 19.

Roots, which opened in late June, was listed on New York Times list as a top 50 restaurant in the nation earlier this year.

From the pages of Esquire, “Roots is plangent proof that Black southern cooking from the Creole coast, incorporating as it does elements of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean traditions, alchemizing as it does migrations forced and otherwise, is both the country’s greatest culinary patrimony and its path ahead.”

If you haven’t made reservations yet, you should soon. The showstopper here is the fried chicken, which is fried in duck fat just as it is at Derry's fast-casual chicken spot, Roots Chicken Shack in Legacy Hall in Plano. The chicken is brined and marinated, then fried to a deep dark brown. The family-style platter is served with a plate of biscuits, a small bottle of hot sauce and candied rhubarb slices.
click to enlarge The dining room at Roots Southern Table - ALISON MCLEAN
The dining room at Roots Southern Table
Alison McLean
Chef Derry made an appearance on season seven of the cooking show Top Chef, where she won "fan favorite" after finishing fifth. She also competed on Top Chef: All-Star chefs in season eight and finished fourth. She helmed the kitchen at Private | Social in Uptown for about a year after that. Roots has long been in the works for Derry, something she spent years creating.

And as good as the fried chicken is here, you’d be remiss not to indulge in her symphony of seasonal vegetables. And it's been said Roots serves the best gumbo in the city; Derry even served it at the White House to then-President Barack Obama.

Plus, it's simply a lovely space. From Reinhart’s review earlier this year:
“At Roots Southern Table, her [Derry’s] triumphant new Farmers Branch restaurant, everyone is full of joy. The customers are happy, the staff is enthusiastic, the mood is like a family reunion and the food tastes like a celebration. At Roots, it’s very easy to remember just how much we loved a great night out before the pandemic.”

Esquire’s list also included Hestia in Austin (no. 4); March and Degust in Houston (No. 6 and 17 respectively). In 2018 Petra and the Beast was named to this list, a well-deserved and enduring spot. Look at our female-driven kitchens.

Roots Southern Table, 13050 Bee St., Farmers Branch. 214-346-4441, Open Tuesday through Sunday 5-10 p.m.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.