One of the most popular pop-ups to date at Birmingham’s Pepper Place is, without a doubt, The Blueroot Company. This healthy, fast-casual concept that focuses on tasty, nutrient-dense foods was an absolute hit during its one-month pop-up in July 2019. The Blueroot team felt so much love from the community that they are now planting their (blue) roots in the same space they started: Pepper Place. Serving as Blueroot’s flagship location, the 1,700-square-foot bricks-and-mortar location is set to join Birmingham’s praised culinary scene in early 2021. Not only will this beautiful space serve as a home base for Blueroot’s customers, but it will also be the site for its catering and production operations.
Founder and owner Jennifer Ryan, a West Coast native who moved to the Magic City by way of New York City, had no plans of ever opening an eatery, but she saw an incredible opportunity and knew she had to make her mark. “I have a background in finance, technology and commercial real estate. Nothing to do with food,” she explains. “But I grew up in a Southern California home that focused on whole foods, and thankfully, we had easy access to healthy options. In college, I played D1 athletics, so I knew it was important to take care of my body and fuel myself with whole foods. I ultimately learned good eating habits, and I took those lessons with me when I moved to New York City.”
Jennifer shares that living and working in New York City proved that convenient snacks and meals don’t have to be unhealthy. “When my husband and I moved to Birmingham, we celebrated the burgeoning food scene but lamented the lack of healthy, convenient choices. Blueroot was born to bring a bright and healthy option to our Birmingham community, especially for those on the move,” says Jennifer. Eighteen months ago, Jennifer left her corporate job and hit the ground running with Blueroot.
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Jennifer built Blueroot from the ground up with a heart for the Birmingham community, months of market research and a talented team. “I honestly have a lot going against me,” Jennifer reveals. “I’m not from Birmingham. I’m not a trained chef. I didn’t go to culinary school. I’m a young female. But the different thing about Birmingham is that the culinary scene and all those in it have been warm and welcoming. I don’t look, feel or have the background of a typical restaurateur, but I do know that Birmingham is full of people looking for healthy options.”
When it came to selecting a location to build the first Blueroot location, Jennifer knew it had to be Pepper Place. It has proven to be a beacon of culinary talent, and Jennifer looks forward to joining the ranks of some of the most esteemed entrepreneurs in the South. “Blueroot represents another successful graduate of the Market at Pepper Place taking brick-and-mortar space inside Birmingham’s city limits,” notes Chief Operating Officer of Sloss Real Estate, Tom Walker. “We are proud that yet another female entrepreneur has chosen Pepper Place as a home for her flagship location, and [Jennifer] has done so in such an unsure time. Blueroot will complement the district’s authentic tenant lineup, which is comprised of creative offices, burgeoning retail stores and award-winning restaurants. Pepper Place strives to partner with high-level operators as tenants, and we believe Jen and her team are exactly that.”
Two things Jennifer loves most about the Birmingham food community? The blossoming agriculture scene and incredible culinary talent. She accredits much of Blueroot’s success to her chef, Robin Bashinsky. Robin is a Birmingham native and an imaginative creator, who Jennifer says has always believed in her vision for Blueroot. As a two-time James Beard Award winner, Robin vows to provide the Birmingham community with menu items that feature locally sourced, whole ingredients.
From hearty salads and grain bowls to breakfast bites and on-the-go superfood snacks, Blueroot is a one-stop-shop for those looking for convenient yet healthy sustenance. Thanks to the brilliant minds of the Blueroot team, we can expect an ever-changing, seasonal menu that still includes Blueroot fan favorites like the Not Your Mama’s Rice Crispy Treat and Farmstand salad.
If you can’t wait until 2021 for your Blueroot fix, visit The Outpost in Mountain Brook and be sure to follow the restaurant on Instagram for updates and seasonal specials. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Blueroot and Pepper Place come 2021. Cheers to new endeavors and healthy, whole food options in the Magic City!
All images provided by The Blueroot Company unless otherwise noted.
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