We’ve all been there when that intense craving for a good, meaty burger hits us like a ton of bricks. But for vegetarians or folks trying to watch their waistline, a traditional burger just isn’t an option.

Fortunately, we have some excellent alternatives here in Little Rock—none better than the shiitake mushroom burger at The Root Café. As expected, this burger is comprised of several local ingredients, an aspect the restaurant prides itself in delivering to a loyal and adoring fan base of customers.

A beautiful, signature Arkansas Fresh Bakery bun is loaded down with a gourmet spring mix from Arkansas Natural Produce, house-made vinaigrette, and a marinated, then grilled Sweden Creek shiitake mushroom. If mayonnaise is your thing, even that is made in-house, using fresh egg yolks from Barnhill Orchards.

“It was Jack's (co-owner) idea. But we always knew we'd use the shiitake mushroom as our veggie burger rather than a veggie patty or a portobello because Sweden Creek always has their shiitakes available. And they're really big and delicious,” says co-owner Corri Sundell.

Using the shiitake as the featured ingredient on the burger is a brilliant, albeit uncommon move, but one that works quite well. It soaks up the marinade and bursts with flavor with each bite, while delivering a slightly different texture than the portobello. Granted, The Root’s traditional burger is one of the most popular in town, but if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, the shiitake mushroom burger will not disappoint.