In his quest for a larger space, Roots Cafe Owner Dan Cellucci refused to lose the intimate ambiance he has grown at his current cafe (pictured below), opting for a quintessential West Chester townhome to house his new venture.
Whether guests will be seated in the 35 seat backyard patio or open and brightly colored dining room, a meal at Roots Cafe will still feel like sharing a meal at an old friend’s home than a stuffy bistro. Even though the new location will be a BYOB, diners can wait for seating in Roots’ bar lounge adorned with reclaimed wood from Lancaster farms.
Breakfast and lunch will be served Tuesday through Sunday and dinner will be served on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Private parties will be held on other evenings, where hosts can use Dan’s catering menu or he can create a customized menu. Throughout the week, the bistro will be a hub for the arts, hosting open mic nights and live music.
In their new location, expect the same classic dishes with eclectic details like strawberries and cream french toast (pictured above) or pan fried leek, grilled apple, roast pork and cheddar grilled cheese for breakfast and lunch. A bigger kitchen and storage area will allow Dan to bring long-awaited, sophisticated additions to his breakfast menu—house cured salmon, duck benedict, charcuterie, and house-made sausages.
Both customers and Roots’ staff have thrown around the idea of doing dinner, but they always came back to the same conclusion, their tiny kitchen was holding them back. “We realized we needed to grow to ever be able to do this. The opportunity came and we took it,” said Cellucci. “A bigger space to hold more people allows us to really shine a bit more. It will hopefully show people we love what we do and we’re serious about what we do.”
Their sophisticated farm to table dinner menu will feature seven to eight appetizers, a soup and salad, seven or eight entrees, and four homemade desserts, changing every two months. A sample menu for their June opening could include a forage mushroom soup, arugula salad with maple chili pecans, pork belly spring rolls, grilled cheese bites, apples julienne and local blue cheese, roasted and pan roasted duck breast with a blackberry caramel sauce and potatoes and wild mushroom and trout carbonara with a spinach pasta.
From day one, Dan’s goal has been to be as sustainable as possible, choosing local products whenever he could. “You’re coming here because everything is from Chester County, from the farmers in the area, these are the guys that we look up to and I respect. Being able to take the stuff that they put their blood, sweat, and tears into and turn it into something great for people, that’s why I do it,” said Cellucci.
Not only will his new digs allow more storage space for his CSA shares, but he plans on building a herb garden in the backyard. The larger kitchen enables Dan to sharpen his butchering skills, now that he’s partnered with Common Market and Lancaster Co-op to start receiving whole pigs and ducks. Photos taken by a local artist of the farms, farmers’ markets, and farmers that The Roots Cafe supports will surround diners during their sustainable meals.
Dan is currently searching for a staff of like-minded, local farm-loving people. Applicants can drop by the cafe. You don’t need to wait until June to savor locally-fused, creative fare, the current Roots Cafe is located at 8 West Gay Street, where it will stay open until the end of May.
All photographs credited Joe Krauss, courtesy of Roots Cafe.