Food News

The New York Times Anoints Tiffany Derry's Roots Southern Table as Top 50 in Nation

Roots' duck-fat fried chicken has earned national attention.
Roots' duck-fat fried chicken has earned national attention. Alison McLean
About a month ago, the Dallas Observer said Roots Southern Table was the restaurant of the year. Now, The New York Times has chimed in with agreement.

The paper published The Restaurant List, which examines 50 restaurants in America to be excited about.

On that list is Roots in Farmers Branch:

This Dallas suburb is not a renowned dining destination. But it soon will be, thanks to chef Tiffany Derry. Roots, which opened in June, is her take on Southern cooking, anchored firmly in her Louisiana upbringing, with plenty of seafood, okra and dirty rice to go around. The food speaks in loud exclamations, like her mother’s gumbo, punctured by a fat blue-crab claw and bathed in a rich, dark roux. If eating her cornbread with smoked butter is like a warm embrace, the duck-fat fried chicken — which should certainly be ordered with a side of duck-fat-fried potatoes — is the equivalent of a bear hug.
That description certainly does make it seem worth the drive to Farmers Branch for this spot, which opened just this past summer. Derry took to Instagram Monday to share the news, saying the restaurant is an “experience where you connect and sometimes learn about the foods that built a nation. Southern cuisine rooted from Africa has a story to tell and it is a story of resilience, love and family.”
Roots Southern Table is an ode to both family and what the local land has to offer, Derry told the Observer in June.

“It's not always your grandmother's cooking,” Derry says. “But it is an ode to my family’s roots. The idea is that we eat from the land, we eat from the bounty. It’s about everything in your area. If you go to the Carolinas the food is very different from the food here, and very different from the food in Louisiana. It's all about who stirs the pot.”
click to enlarge Chef Tiffany Derry - ALISON MCLEAN
Chef Tiffany Derry
Alison McLean
In a September Observer review, Brian Reinhart raved about the vegetables, the duck-fat-fried chicken and the joy among staff and customers as they experienced them.

“I love the crisp batter, which has crunch but isn’t too thick. The spice kept me reaching for more pieces. The biscuits range from perfect to slightly tough, so use them to make a sandwich. As for the hot sauce, well, here’s another menu item I’d buy in great big jugs,” he wrote.

Reinhart concluded his review by writing that "Roots is a joy, pure and simple."

Other Texas restaurants on the NYTimes list are Birdie’s in Austin, Blood Bros. BBQ in Bellaire and Sylvia’s in Brownsville.

Roots Southern Table, 13050 Bee St., Farmers Branch. 214-346-4441. Open 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.