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.”
The risk has apparently paid off, as the weekend lines at Roots can be daunting. But it’s worth the wait.
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.
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.
Atmosphere: Small-town homey.
Hours: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. daily.
Extras: The mimosa flights are well worth exploring.
133 E. Gay St., West Chester
(610) 455-0100, rootscafewc.com