Dining Out

Black Radish

A Vegetable-Focused Restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida

Screenshot at  PM
Written by Lauren Titus, Images courtesy of Pablo Gabes
lots of people enjoying a meal at a long table at Black Radish

Like many other Southern cities, Tallahassee’s dining scene is dominated by casual American cuisine. Enter Black Radish, a vegetable-focused concept that has captured the interest of local diners, both vegetarians and meat eaters. “Nontraditional concepts with a focus on vegetables and a beverage program featuring biodynamic wines wouldn’t be out of the norm in large cities with a vibrant food scene,” says chef-owner Matthew Swezey. “But in Tallahassee, that definitely is. Fortunately, it’s evolving, and the reception Black Radish has received is evidence of that change.” 

Black Radish comes with a great pedigree: Swezey’s partner is Jesse Edmunds, who leads the prolific team behind Liberty Bar, the Hawthorn Bistro & Bakery, El Cocinero, and Bar 1903 in the city. “I had been working with Jesse for about five years when he approached me about creating my own concept,” Swezey says. “I had in mind a super-quaint, super-personal restaurant serving food that I liked to eat, which is mainly vegetables and pasta. Jesse found a former restaurant across the street from Liberty Bar that ended up becoming Black Radish. With 90 seats, it’s not quite as small as I envisioned, but with Jesse’s support and expertise, he helped bring everything to life.” 

The pricing at Black Radish is not fine dining, but the attention to detail creates an upscale yet approachable atmosphere. “We don’t want this to be just a special occasion destination, and we priced the food accordingly,” Swezey says. “I would rather see you once a week several times a month than every three to six months for a special occasion.” 

While the menu is 85 percent vegetables, pasta, and nonmeat dishes, Swezey doesn’t refer to Black Radish as a vegan or vegetarian restaurant. “We want to show people that if you source good products and pay attention to how you treat the ingredients, they can be interesting, fun, and exciting,” he says. “You can eat an entire meal of just veggies and leave full and satiated without having an eight-ounce portion of protein.” 

Based on feedback from customers, Swezey may be onto something. “It’s a great feeling when guests come in and tell us, ‘I’m a steak-and-potatoes person, and we didn’t have any meat here. But we enjoyed ourselves and feel full.’ A little less meat, a few more veggies— diners are starting to understand the concept, and we’re happy to be a part of that evolution.” @blackradishtlh

Get the Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Pie Here

chocolate peanut butter freezer pie from Black Radish, a new restaurant in Florida

What to Order at Black Radish

The menu at this restaurant in Florida is seasonally driven, and as a result, some dishes come and go according to the time of year, while others have developed a loyal fan base and will be available long-term. 

Bubble Potatoes | These have a crispy hash brown exterior and creamy mashed potatoes inside and are served with smoked paprika aïoli and chives. This dish has been on the menu since the beginning. “It will stay because we’re afraid there will be riots in the streets if we take it off,” Swezey says. 

Spinach Tortelloni | This spinach-laminated pasta dough is filled with ricotta, parmesan, a little basil, and lemon zest and rests in a butter sauce. 

Fried Tofu Wrap | This large-format dish, intended to serve several people, comes with bulgogi barbecue sauce, kimchi, gochujang mayo, and chili peppers. 

Whole Chicken Roulade | Another large-format dish to share with the table, this whole-baked, deboned chicken is served with chili-garlic crunch sauce, cilantro, jasmine rice, and bok choy.

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Matthew Swezey

  • Address

    1304 North Monroe Street Unit B
    Tallahassee, Florida

    • Vegetarian

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