The Dish: Roots Bakery Bistro & Bar

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Photo by Sally Scruggs

Though Turtle Harrison and brothers Juan Jose Ordonez Ramos and Rolando Ordonez Ramos grew up hundreds of miles apart, they all sat down to family meals of grilled corn and fried chicken. North Carolina and Guatemala, respectively, might seem like worlds apart, but their cuisines share staples. “Fresh is more common in the places of the South and south of the border because of the warmer climates and abundance of farms and home gardens,” Turtle says. In March, he went into business with his brothers-in-law Juan Jose and Rolando to open an eatery (look for the bilingual sign!) that fuses Southern and Central American cuisines with offerings like fried plantains, whipped sweet potatoes and El Chicken Salad. For their pork tamales, they slow cook the meat beloved by both cultures and nestle it in a scoop of masa, a dough made from ground corn. Each mound is then folded over in a banana leaf to preserve its shape and add a super fresh flavor before getting cooked for a few hours. With tender chunks of pork, it’s the kind of hearty dish everyone will love regardless of their palate. “As my grandfather said, ‘There is no meal without a biscuit,’” Turtle says. “My father-in-law says the exact same thing about tortillas.” $12

Roots Bakery Bistro & Bar, 161 E. Franklin St., 919-240-7160;

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Jessica Stringer

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