Rooted in the Ozarks
What does it mean to be ‘rooted in Ozark cuisine?’ Our team has spent a lifetime trying to answer this question. Through our research of family journals and letters from the early 1800s, we have uncovered over 200 years of history. History that includes the bold families of indigenous people, enslaved residents, and Euro-Appalachian immigrants that tamed the wild lands of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri (and tips of Oklahoma and Kansas). These are the people who defined what has become known as Ozark cuisine.
We’d love to tell you all about what we’ve found, but we’d rather you come discover it with us one plate at a time.
How can food history contribute to restorative justice efforts in our community? Our work allows Bulrush to share two definitions of history with restaurant guests: history as the past and history as interpretation. Although our team’s research is confined to Ozark experience of the nineteenth century, the culinary interpretation of those foodways for contemporary audiences mirrors historiography. That is, the food served at the restaurant invites visitors to consider the biological and human diversity of the Ozark region as well as the present-day environmental and political consequences of that history. The research and restaurant experience has the potential to perform reparative work for groups and individuals whose histories include traumatic connections to the past.
Guiding Philosophies & Values
The primal satisfaction that comes from good food – really good food – can’t be replicated. We must cultivate and sustain the source. This is why we forage, grow only what belongs here, and gather only what we need.
Our food is not only seasonal, but hyper-seasonal. We want you to experience fresh ingredients at their best possible moment – and then again, after they’ve been preserved and become even more delicious. Sorry, no hot-house tomatoes in January for us.
It’s just like our ancestors said, “If you want peaches in January, you better have canned some in July.”
- Innovation: We don’t need to fly in extravagant ingredients. We need to wow you with sustainable, local ingredients treating with cutting edge thought. We’re not interested in copying the latest, greatest Instagram chefs. We’re interested in giving you something you can not get anywhere else.
- Authenticity via transparency: We regularly publish our ingredient sourcing and financial figures to demonstrate our commitment to local farmers. We share “white papers” on all of our research efforts so you can see how the food on your plate came to be. We share all finances with our staff so they see the direct tie between sales to gratuities to salary.
- Supporting emerging restaurants, especially those owned my immigrants and marginalized groups
- You can rest assured that all of our locally grown ingredients are organically raised.
- We gather our own foraged ingredients to ensure that they were gathered ethically and legally. We have numerous participants in our Bulrush Land Partnership giving us access to nearly 10,000 acres of pristine private land on which to forage.
- Our kitchen is zero-waste. All scraps become sauces, fermented drinks, and in rare cases, food waste is sent to compost. We average 5 gallons of food waste/compost a week.
- We work with a number of local farms to raise a handful of rare produce that we’ve documented to 1841.
- We strive to have the top spirit-free drink program in the region. Much of this stems from our Zero Waste practices.
- All of our staff is paid a fair wage in conjunction with our all-inclusive prices. The prices you see on our menus are inclusive of tax and hospitality.