If you've walked along Frankford Avenue recently, you may have noticed some construction transpiring between Fette Sau and Joe's Steaks, maybe even an orange liquor license posted onto the wooden bulwark hiding the build-out happening underneath Amrita Yoga.
That's ROOT, a restaurant and wine bar set to open in early March at 1206 Frankford Avenue.
ROOT is a 60 seat three-headed monster of a restaurant. The heads: Greg Root, Director of Restaurants for STARR Restaurants for the past 13 years, will take care of all Front of House operations. In the kitchen: chef Nick Kennedy, most recently Scott Conant's corporate chef de cuisine, overseeing all Scarpetta restaurants and any other Conant-venture he's opened in recent years. Before that, he cheffed at Del Posto as executive sous, and sous'd at Jean Georges in NYC. The dude's got some serious pedigree. Last, but not least: Nathalie Richan, owner and operator of the ever-bustling Café La Maude in Northern Liberties.
After spending 14 years in New York City, Kennedy had just moved his family to Philly with ideas to open a place of his own. Root, having maxed out his potential in Philly's biggest restaurant group, was ready for just the same. Call it serendipitous, the two hit it off at Frankford Hall, and brought on Richan as a third partner to help bring the concept home.
ROOT will be whatever you make of it. Described as a casual restaurant and wine bar, know that wine will obviously be a main focus with a food menu to complement. Ranging from small to large plates, Kennedy has devised a menu meant for snacking, sharing, or a front-to-end, full dining experience. It'll be wine-food, not restrained by any geographical boundaries: pan con tomate, truffle-topped Robiola grilled cheese, fresh pastas, and, of course, plenty of requisite cheese and charcuterie. And a burger — "because wine goes great with a burger," said Kennedy, oh-so matter-of-factly. Wine will come from all over — again, not bound to any particular region, with an eye toward approachability and affordability. Cocktails will be easy: gin & tonics, made of top-shelf gin and fancy tonic, and other riffs on some classic cocktails. Craft beer will be by-the-bottle only. According to Root and Kennedy, ROOT should be an "unwind bar", where neighbors come to relax after a long day, jonesing for great wine and food at reasonable prices.
ROOT's interior (pictures to come) is designed by Stokes Architecture (Frankford Hall, La Colombe), and will fit in with all that is hip and modern on the avenue. Kitchen hours will go from 4 p.m. - close (around 11 p.m.) daily, its bar open late. Come April, prepare for weekend brunch and weekday lunch.
The name? Well that's easy. But besides the obvious, the restaurant's opening stands as a homecoming for Kennedy and Root, be it a life-long dream realized or rerooting to Fishtown with hopes of great success. Stay tuned for more.