The Root Restaurant & Bar to Open in Spring
The White Lake restaurant plans to offer fine dining in a casual atmosphere.
With an emphasis on modern American cuisine, The Root Restaurant & Bar plans to open in the spring.
Officials broke ground last month on the 4,700-square-foot building in the Village Lakes Shopping Center next to Highland House Cafe & Carry Out. The plans call for 111 interior seats and 28 outside. The restaurant, which will serve lunch and dinner, will be open Monday through Saturday.
Officials for The Root Restaurant & Bar said they want to offer fine dining appeal in a casual environment.
“We don’t want a restaurant that people are afraid to come in because of the dress code,” Rigato said.
The restaurant's chef, James Rigato, described the food as modern American, and said they will be serving composed entrees with regional proteins such as lake fish, grass fed beef and chicken, among other things. He said he will focus on seasonality and plans to use locally grown foods often.
Appetizers and soups will be available starting at $5 and entrees are not planned to exceed $30. Rigato noted that everything from pie crust to ice cream to bread would be made from scratch.
Rigato used to be the personal chef of Ed Mamou, the restaurant's owner. He had always wanted to be an executive chef of a restaurant and now, at 26, will get his shot. The graduate of Schoolcraft College in Livonia said he left culinary school with a deep appreciation for seasonal dishes.
According to Mamou, the restaurant will be one of a kind for the area due to its focus on seasonality. For example, Rigato said that for soups they could make an asparagus soup in the spring, then once asparagus wasn't available local and fresh they would switch to a gazpacho or corn chowder in the summer, then maybe squash in the fall. Along with the courses that will change, the bar will offer seasonal cocktails as well.
The Root Restaurant & Bar staff are still in the process of creating the menu and would not give any further insight on specific dishes. Officials said a menu will be available at www.therootrestaurant.com in about a month.
Choosing White Lake
As a stepping stone to the restaurant, Mamou and Rigato created a catering company about two years ago, known as Ripe Catering. They plan to continue the catering company at the restaurant.
White Lake was selected as a location because Mamou, vice president of Royal Oak Recycling, an independent recycling business, grew to enjoy the community when he'd visit the recycling company's branch office. He also said the restaurant would likely have less competition than if he opened in Royal Oak or Birmingham, which has restaurants on par with their ideology.
White Lake officials said they are pleased that Mamou chose White Lake and to soon have a new restaurant in town.
“I personally sampled some of the food they plan to offer and it’s fantastic,” said Sean O'Neil, planning director for White Lake Township. “I don’t think people will have to go more than one time to be impressed.”
O’Neil said he really likes the concept of having a season-driven menu. Not an adventurous diner himself, he said he anticipates that switching the menu will encourage people to try new things.
The restaurant will operate with an open kitchen, so patrons will be able to see the chef most of the time.
“We really want to get people in the door and create relationships,” Rigato said.
The restaurant is accepting applications for servers, bussers, hosts and kitchen staff. Those interested in a position may e-mail their resumes to email@example.com.