Sarah Sendlbeck and
At the table
ROOT & BLOOM OFFERS A RAINBOW OF
BY CHRISTA GLENNIE SEYCHEW
Root & Bloom, 423
Sendlbeck does the
Both are 30
JAMES ERNEST AND SARAH SENDLBECK have
had varied lives and careers, working and traveling
through several major metropolitan cities. Ernest, a
PR guy, and Sendlbeck, a music therapist, returned to
Buffalo, Ernest’s hometown, after roaming the country
in a tiny-home caravan with their infant daughter.
During their more nomadic period, the couple visited
more than a dozen national parks and sought notable
vegan dining experiences all over the West Coast.
Spurred by the limited vegan options and the absence
of any vegan-focused restaurant in Buffalo, the couple
opened Root & Bloom. Over the summer, it operated
as a pop-up using the secluded outdoor dining room
off Elmwood and Bryant once operated by Nickel City
Cheese, and before that, Tabree. The couple found
their footing and a lot of Instagram success right away,
taking over the interior space in early October and
transforming their wanderlust into brick and mortar.
What inspired you to pursue owning and operating
a restaurant as a profession?
Our inspiration comes from time spent in California.
Our flavor profiles are very Southern California inspired,
but with the East Coast twist of also being filling and
comforting. After living out of a camper van in Los
Angeles for six months, we spent time in Joshua Tree.
The first night in the desert was calm and serene. The
color palette of the sunset across that landscape was
just incredible. That feeling has inspired the décor of
Root & Bloom, but it can also be found in our food.
What have you found to be the most common
misconception meat eaters have of vegan cooking?
That it’s eating salad and greens only. We’ve found
that most people think the food won’t have any flavor or
that they won’t leave full. We try to use the term plant-based, instead of vegan, to make people forget their
preconceived ideas. I think the food speaks for itself.
Recently, kale, Brussels sprouts, and even
cauliflower have had their fifteen minutes of fame.
What’s next? Is there an unsung hero in the veggie bin
you wish people loved as much
as you do?
While we love all of those
veggies and have found really
amazing things to do with
cauliflower (including a crusted
“steak” and a cultured “feta”
cheese), we are loving on beets
right now! The color they
produce gives our beet-brined
seitan “corned beef” its
authentic look. Beets also give
dishes an earthy flavor profile
that can be really nice.