Like clockwork, chain restaurants rolled out the red carpet for pumpkin spice this week. But the locally owned Roots Eatery got a little more creative with its seasonal menu emphasizing autumnal bliss.

Owner and chef Chris Spear added a few seasonal items and a splattering of new sides and sauces on existing menu items. It all is part of a goal to highlight the warm, robust flavors of fall in the weeks before leaves begin to crisp.

“We’re using mushrooms a little more and squash coming into season,” Spear said. “Some of the sauces are richer, creamier and heavier.”

A farm fall salad with creamed wild mushroom, a roasted butternut squash bisque topped with chorizo and a cozy chicken pot pie feature at the rustic spot serving home-style American fare.

“Fall is one of my favorite seasons because there’s a lot of good produce out there and when you cook it right, it’s amazing,” Spear said.

Kitchen staff weren’t shy about their favorite seasonal menu items when the fall menu was unveiled yesterday evening.

Junior sous chef Kaylee Provencher Segura loved the butternut squash ravioli, topped with sauteed mushrooms, wilted spinach and an almond brown butter sauce.

“The brown butter makes it nice and crispy,” Segura said.

Thomas Aviles, a server of two years, called the giant meatball with a parmesan creamy polenta “phenomenal and out of this world.”

Spear particularly enjoyed the sesame-seared tuna loin, which features sushi-grade tuna topped with an avocado, pineapple, jicama slaw and kimchi mayo. Why?

“It’s a little exotic and the textures contrast,” Spear said. “When we change the menus, we take into consideration foods that are familiar but also try to introduce newer foods to Maricopa. We don’t have a lot of dining options, so I feel it’s my responsibility to bring those foods here.”