Beets get a bad rep’. The colorful roots maintain notoriety as earthily piquant, but that’s not necessarily the case, according to Burtons Grill & Bar chef Ray Girman and reformed tastebuds across the city. 

“Beets can be a misunderstood item in any root cellar or on a grocer’s shelf,” Girman says with a laugh and a nod to grandma’s boiled beets. But as Girman points out, the brightly hued veggies can harbor a host of flavors. “Depending on the cooking method, beets can taste extremely sweet without the earthiness that most people are used to.”

Thanks to the piedmont’s abundant growing season, beets are a popular choice for local gardeners, usually as a spring or fall crop in the Carolinas. Most grocers and markets should have a profundity of beets this time of year, too. If you’d rather skip the garden and the grocer altogether, Burtons is a healthy, allergen-aware option for even the most particular of eaters, offering a variety of gluten-sensitive and paleo options. The creative menu and attention to ingredients is what drew Girman to Burtons, especially because he likes to incorporate his science background (he studied biology at the Virginia Military Institute) into his cooking. Burton’s creative and flexible menu allows Girman to incorporate a rainbow of tasty fruits and veggies into his dishes—healthful options like beets.