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Discovering Healthy Places for a Healthy Life in NWA: The Cooking Studio of Downtown Rogers

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If you are looking for a dining experience with a personal touch, I recommend a visit to the Cooking Studio of Downtown Rogers.  Owners Michael and Sheila Reese combine their exceptional talents to provide a very unique culinary experience. Their commitment to the community shows in every detail of their establishment. They offer a variety of services including lunch, cooking classes and an intimate venue for private functions.  Located in downtown Rogers, its unassuming exterior holds some very pleasant surprises tucked throughout the property.

When asked how the Cooking Studio of Downtown Rogershas a positive impact on the local community, they answered:

We are an intimate venue perfect for any occasion – cooking classes, brunches, showers, team building activities, and much more!   We utilize fresh, seasonal ingredients from local vendors in Northwest Arkansas.
113 S. 2nd Street, Rogers

Michael and Sheila are wonderful, warm and friendly hosts.  When you walk through the door, Micheal is there to greet you and help you find a seat.  It is a charming space whether you are looking for a cozy table for two or are meeting up with a few friends for a fresh and tasty lunch.  Inside, there are assorted sized tables and several chairs at the bar – which puts you right next to Sheila’s prep station.  If the weather is nice, you can choose to sit outside in the garden area where there are umbrella-ed patio tables or covered patio seating (see photos below).   I chose a seat at the bar so I could have a view of Sheila in action and get the chance for a little conversation.

simple yet so elegant inside

Lunch hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from 11-2.   The limited hours allows Sheila to provide a menu that is exclusively comprised of seasonal, locally sourced and hand-selected ingredients.  There is a soup, salad and sandwich offered each day along with a scrumptious dessert.  Tuesday’s offerings are all vegetarian selections.   You can have a single, full size version of any item, a duo (choice of 2) or a trio (smaller portions of all three).   I chose the trio so I could get a complete sampling.   Paired with a blush wine, it was absolutely delicious.  Each bite was savory and prepared to perfection.  Sheila is a master at her craft.   She develops her own recipes for the menu.  She visits and buys ingredients from the local Farmer’s Market every weekend, grows and harvests many of her own herbs that are grown right on site in the garden, uses local products such as olive oils, balsamics and other seasonings (see my other reviews of some of those local shops). She even uses fresh eggs from her own chickens as much as possible.  Everything, including the breads for the sandwiches are prepared fresh, from scratch.  It is 100% Sheila Reese from the recipes and menu to the plating.  No plate is served without her approval.  Watching the preparation just added to my experience; seeing her attention to every detail.   Sheila has published her own cookbook Healthy Options for Everyday  that is available to purchase at the restaurant. Her recipes are also featured in some of the other local shops.

lunch with a view

After my meal, Micheal took me on a tour of the property.  I discovered that not only is he a big help in the kitchen but he is one of our talented local artists and some of his sculpture are tucked in and around the garden area.  The Cooking Studio of Downtown Rogers is very active in supporting local artists and includes various works around the property and exhibiting a different artist each month.   They also actively participate in one of the local monthly events,  Art on the Bricks, which showcases local artists and local businesses.

the garden is landscaped with native plants

Touring the garden, I found that not only is Michael an artist but he is also an avid gardener.  The outdoor space at the Cooking Studio of Downtown Rogers  was very intentionally and thoughtfully developed with only native plant life.  Michael really enjoys showing his customers around and is very knowledgable about the local flora.  Along with various seating options and beautiful murals,  there are several grills where outdoor grilling classes are held as well.  What a beautiful space!!!

Michael’s sculptures can be found nestled in the foliage in the garden
evening ambience is just gorgeous

Along with being the perfect venue for small private parties and showers, the Cooking Studio of Downtown Rogershosts regular community events that are both varied and unique.  A few of the most recent events include a French Bistro Culinary Adventure Cooking Class; Open, Pour, Swirl & Sip – a Guided Wine Tasting Class; Girl’s Night Out – Wine & Cake – a Cake Decorating Class; and an Outdoor Grilling Class.  Attendees can choose the level of participation they feel comfortable with so there is absolutely no pressure;, you can totally relax and enjoy!

Once again, it was my pleasure to find such a wonderful and beautiful spot in Northwest Arkansas that can enhance and promote wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle.  If you live local, make sure you stop by and visit with Michael and Sheila. If you don’t,  then make a point to search out places in your area that utilize fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

For more information about the Cooking Studio of Downtown Rogers, check on the website at  .

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