Roots Cafe Does Brunch Right in West Chester

Roots Cafe's exceptional farm-to-table cuisine is worth the midday splurge.

When Dan Cellucci opened Roots Cafe in 2013, West Chester was still in its culinary infancy. Getting in on the ground floor of what would be an exploding farm-to-table trend, the restaurant quickly became a low-key gem for foodies. Original chef Dan Merola purchased the business from Cellucci in 2020, making some changes to optimize the flow from the kitchen. He also took a major risk by dropping the evening menu. “We weren’t happy with the experience we provided for dinner,” Merola admits. “So now we’re the only seven-day brunch place with a liquor license.”

Mac and cheese topped with roasted Brussels sprouts at Roots Cafe
Mac and cheese topped with roasted Brussels sprouts.

The risk has apparently paid off, as the weekend lines at Roots can be daunting. But it’s worth the wait.

A salted caramel and pumpkin coldbrew
A salted caramel and pumpkin cold brew.
Prepping sausage hash.
Prepping sausage hash.

The menu focuses on nap-inducing comfort food. Think rich mac and cheese topped with crispy maple-roasted Brussels sprouts, or sweet-potato fries heaped with crumbled house-made scrapple and drizzled with cheese sauce and chipotle-maple syrup. Vegans will love the thick, sweet, candied pumpkin bisque, the colorful and fresh roasted beet salad, and the gyro with crispy polenta, arugula, tomato and tzatziki. A special shoutout goes to the hearty scrapple Benedict covered in hollandaise and the sausage hash dishes topped with a sunny-side-up fried egg.

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Candied pumpkin bisque.
Candied pumpkin bisque.
Brunch goes best with an apple cider margarita.
Brunch goes best with an apple cider margarita.
Owners Debra and Dan Merola.
Owners Debra and Dan Merola.
Merola’s wife, Debra, handles the cocktail program at Roots Cafe. Highlights include an apple cider margarita, a coffee martini with local Turk’s Head brew, and the S’mores Old Fashioned. You’ll also find Chester County beers from East Branch, Wrong Crowd and Stolen Sun. “She has fun with the cocktail program, and her enthusiasm translates to the selections,” says Debra’s husband.
Scrapple Benedict
Scrapple Benedict.
The S’mores Old Fashioned
The S’mores Old Fashioned.

With barely 35 seats, Roots’ interior is cozy. It’s housed in an old rowhome, with hardwood floors and large front windows. Stairs lead to a second-floor gift shop with a rotating selection of local artisan jewelry, soaps, candles and more. In nicer weather, a garden patio adds another 35 seats, and the Merolas have plans to spruce up the location with fresh paint, new light fixtures and a few outdoor upgrades.

Roots Cafe’s humble façade
Roots Cafe’s humble façade.

Cost: $8–$20.
Atmosphere: Small-town homey.
Hours: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. daily.
Attire: Casual.
Extras: The mimosa flights are well worth exploring.

Fresh burrata drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
Fresh burrata drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

Roots Cafe
133 E. Gay St., West Chester

(610) 455-0100, rootscafewc.com

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