For the frequent traveler, hotel fare–as in dining options in a corporate hotel–typically suggest forgettable club sandwiches and muffins speckled with splotches of purple masquerading as blueberries. In other words, “fresh” and “nourishing” aren’t the adjectives that typically spring to mind. But Roost, a new restaurant that opens today in Greenville, SC (one of our Tastiest Towns in the South), tucked inside the downtown Hyatt, is determined to change those perceptions.
Roost has an open-air bar area, and a Harvest Table where guests can work with the chef directly to build their own meals from an array of vibrant ingredients. Chef Trevor Higgins worked with local purveyors and farmers to procure nearby ingredients, and to create a menu that showcases the best of the Piedmont. Consider snacks like “Fresh” Bacon with Corn Puree and Sweet Tea Jus, or dishes such as Wild Stripped Bass with Rock Shrimp Chowder and Smoked Garlic Aioli. Chicken Fried Steak with Sawmill Gravy and Brioche French Toast with Salted Banana Caramel makes us eager to try their brunch menu.
The Piedmont bounty perked our interest, so we asked Trevor Higgins what he’s hungry for right this minute.
Current Ingredient Obsession: Terrace Major beef
Why do you love it?
Quality and price point. It’s the second most tender cut on a cow, next to the tenderloin. It’s lean and full of flavor, but it’s cut from the Terrace Major muscle on top of the shoulder blade. It’s not widely known about or sought after—it’s actually pretty hard to find on the meat market. I love featuring it because the quality is essentially the same as a luxury cut (most people couldn’t even spot the difference), but it’s a lot more affordable for our customers.
How do you prepare it?
Grilled, and finished with a sea salt and pepper mélange (made with white, smoked, and pink pepper) and candied brussel sprouts.
What’s your favorite item on the menu?
I love the Smoked Pot Roast Benedict with wilted kale, steak sauce caviar, and biscuits—it’s a great twist on a classic. I grew up loving pot roast, but I’d never had it smoked until we started doing it here. We serve it at Roost during breakfast and brunch (breakfast is my favorite meal of the day), but I even think it would be great for dinner with a glass of red wine.
One doesn’t expect to find local, organic, and seasonal fare at a corporate chain hotel. What does the menu at Roost say about how people want to eat now?
Roost really operates with an independent mindset, even though we’re owned by the Hyatt. And our menu reflects the growing sense of awareness of what we eat. With diseases like diabetes running rampant in this country, awareness has evolved about a cleaner way of eating. We use the best versions of the products available, take no shortcuts, and don’t use chemicals, which are all becoming increasingly important to people.
Sustainable cocktails? Tell us about the drink program at Roost.
Our cocktails are all handcrafted—we’re making our own sour mix, muddling all our fresh ingredients, and squeezing our own fruit. We are sourcing close to home for our cocktails (even the garnishes are local) including Dark Corner Distillery, which is right across the street from us—they are South Carolina’s first distillery since Prohibition to produce small-batch, hand-spirited whiskey, and also their White Tiger gin which our state’s first hand-distilled gin. It’s great for the community. We’re also garnishing with all local produce.