Root could open in the second week of July in Allston's Union Square, bringing another plant-based option to a vegan-friendly neighborhood that already includes FoMu (dairy-free ice cream) and Grasshopper (vegan/vegetarian Asian food). Root's space itself used to house vegan pizzeria Peace o' Pie. Root co-owner Deena Jalal, who also co-owns FoMu a couple doors down, chatted with Eater about what diners can expect from her upcoming restaurant. The short answer: a small, accessible menu of natural, plant-based foods and drinks made from scratch. Read on for all the juicy (yes, there will be juice) details.
Don't expect a full customize-your-own juice bar; instead, look for a carefully curated menu of fruit and vegetable juices and juice blends that vary with the seasons and available ingredients. "They're all made from scratch," says Jalal. "We're not sourcing; we're making everything in house, so we'll have a handful of beverages, including straight fruit juices and vegetable juices that will be available all day long."
The food will be veg-friendly, simple, and unprocessed.
"Essentially, we will be a plant-based restaurant," says Jalal. "The premise is familiar, approachable foods, foods that are familiar to anyone whether they're an omnivore or vegetarian or vegan. We felt like there were few options in the Boston area for people who wanted to eat a thoughtful, healthful meal that didn't involve animal products that wasn't necessarily on the diner-y side or the fast food side. We really put a lot of thought into how we source the ingredients and how we prepare the food, so most everything on the menu is from scratch, and the couple of items that we will be sourcing are sourced locally. We're really trying to showcase what's in the food, not what's not in the food. In our eyes, there are so many amazing food items that are available to us, especially this time of year, that are just beautiful and flavorful. We're trying to showcase the natural amazingness and not involve any sort of processed or manufactured or overproduced foods at all. We won't be using any fake meat products or fake dairy products."
Does plant-based mean 100% vegan?
Jalal shies away from slapping the restaurant with a vegan label because people live vegan lifestyles for a lot of different reasons and in different ways, but the goal is to accommodate everyone. "We did refrain from using any animal products and went the extra mile to ensure that all of our products are vegan-friendly, so they don't involve any manufacturing or process that involves animals," she says.
The design of the space will reflect the natural philosophy behind the menu.
There will be about 20 seats, and the interior is composed of plenty of Earth-friendly materials. "We have an open kitchen, and we wanted the actual space to reflect the menu and ingredients themselves," says Jalal. "We used a lot of reclaimed wood, barn wood, copper, and metal accents." The restaurant was really built around the space, owing its conception to the hole left by Peace o' Pie's closure. "We wanted to ensure that something really great went into that spot that brought and maintained value in that corner. We really invested in [Allston's] Union Square and wanted to ensure that Union Square kept a lot of value and was growing in value. We wanted to maintain that veg-centric sort of legacy that had been built up over the last few years, and we thought, 'You know what? If we keep it simple, keep it fresh, and keep it very approachable to people, why not?' We're huge foodies, we love food, and we were like, 'Let's exercise this creative muscle now.' So that's what we ended up doing, and we have a great team of people that are helping us bring it all together."
The other details.
During the week, diners can order at the counter, and then they'll be served at their seats, but Saturday and Sunday brunches will be full-service. Hours haven't been finalized yet, but they'll likely start in the 11am to 11pm range on weekdays and the 9am to 11pm range on weekends. The target opening date is the second week of July; construction's mainly done, so the timeline mostly depends on permits at this point.
· All coverage of Root on Eater [~EBOS~]