By Octavio Serrano
Christian Buze left the comfortable life of a successful salesman to jump into the family business: Soul food.
Buze’s family background is in soul food. His grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. White, who owned Golden Rule Café, and his cousin is Larry White, owner of Lo Lo’s Chicken and Waffles. It took some time, but the Phoenix native deemed it time to leave his mark on Arizona’s food history.
Buze recently opened Scottsdale’s Root & Soul, a combination of the soul food recipes he has honed over the years. Instead, Buze adds his own twist to traditional Southern food by including strong spices to create bold flavors.
“A lot of the recipes I use are spinoffs of what my grandmother taught me. I definitely have my own twist on things, but everything is rooted in their work,” he says.
To bring those bold flavors to its menu, Buze meticulously perfects each dish. For instance, the catfish ($14) is flown in daily and Root & Soul has its own house-made seasoning.
The menu is more than fish. The Southern Fried Chicken ($14) comes with three pieces of chicken dipped in light buttermilk dredge and then fried in a cast iron skillet. Guests have an option of two sides.
“We brine our chicken 24 hours, we do a buttermilk dredge and everything is fried in cast iron skillets,” Buze says.
He recommends diners check out the specials.
The Big Daddy ($20) combines the best of both worlds and includes two pieces of chicken and a fillet of fish with a choice of three sides. The jambalaya ($14.50) is a blend of the Cajun shrimp, chicken and andouille sausage served with rice and topped with red onions. And for those looking for something familiar, the chicken and waffles ($14) are always a safe bet.
Guests are guaranteed to get their hands dirty with these sandwiches. The Catfish Po’Boy ($12) comes with battered catfish filet on a fresh roll with aioli slaw. The Carolina Spicy Chicken Sandwich ($13) is a spicy chicken breast in a brioche bun with aioli slaw.
“The program is the process and I am very particular about how everything goes out,” Buze says.
Until January 2018, Buze spent 15 successful years in car sales. However, he knew his passion was food.
“I always dabbled in food. I had a couple of gourmet food trucks, but I never really committed myself to a restaurant,” Buze says.
Buze took the food plunge after telling his boss he was leaving to open a restaurant. Root & Soul was founded at the now-closed DeSoto Central Market. When the market closed abruptly in August 2018, Buze found himself locked out.
“(An employee) called me at 8 o’clock in the morning and says ‘hey, have you heard? Root & Soul is locked up,’ and I get in my car, fly down there and the doors are locked and chained up,” Buze says.
Root & Soul soon relocated to Scottsdale and the community has responded well.
“What is unique about this place is the food and the atmosphere. It is a place where you’re very comfortable sitting and relaxing and when most people eat here, they usually stay for like an hour,” Buze says.
Buze may be passionate and devoted to Root & Soul, but it won’t be his only restaurant. He is already looking at different concepts so he can be remembered as a food entrepreneur.
“I want my legacy to be that of a food entrepreneur who has several concepts,” Buze says. “I want my legacy to be very diversified.”
THE ROOT AND SOUL
14144 N 100th Street, Scottsdale