VISTA Breakfast: Roots Café

(Image via Roots Cafe)

Publisher’s note: VISTA Breakfast is a weekly series of Chester County breakfast spot reviews.

By Rena Coyle

In the heart of West Chester, the streets are lined with restaurants, coffee houses and breweries.  Most of which begin their day in the late morning with breakfast as the allusive meal.

Roots Café, nested in the center of West Chester and steps from the courthouse, is an exception.  It opens its door to the early morning patron and offers them a breakfast menu chock-full of great ideas and interesting selections.

Amongst the small brownstones and historic buildings that line Gay Street, Roots Café found it’s new address. Walking through the front door you are welcomed as if you are walking into someone’s home.

Cheerfully met by a hostess, my guest and I were shown to our table in the restaurant’s quaint 34-seat dining room, formally the home’s sitting room.  In addition, there are 34 seats outside for dining al fresco.

Our server greeted us with warm enthusiasm. Along with the daily breakfast specials, she shares with us the proprietors’ philosophy for Roots Café.  Their ingredients are a locally sourced and when possible, organic.

What I loved was how these aspirations were translated into the menu.  It reads like a brunch menu and they have used ingredients to expand your breakfast experience into more than the classic American carb-loaded meal.

A real celebration for protein is integrated into the menu and not simply marketed as a side.  Roots Café makes it own corned beef hash and creamed chipped beef, both served with fried eggs, an omelet with breakfast meats and cheddar, a cheesesteak burrito and chorizo tacos.

The chefs also spark seasonal inspirations into warm oatmeal with butternut squash and toasted almonds.

Our order was a bit more traditional. My guest had the lox benedict.  Two halves of an English muffin layered with fresh baby spinach, house-cure salmon, perfectly poached eggs covered with a hollandaise sauce.  I chose the roasted mushroom omelet. A selection of Brandywine valley mushrooms layered inside with caramelized onions and goat cheese then topped with a porcini béchamel.

There are also plenty of choices for vegans and even croissant French toast with apple butter, pumpkin anglaise and whipped cream for the special celebratory breakfast.

Roots Café opened 9 years ago in a different location on Gay Street.  After relocating to its current home, last spring two local chefs, Dan Merola and John Hearn, became the new owners and began to breath new life into this quaint popular restaurant.

Roots Café is open for breakfast and lunch six days a week and dinner three days a week.  Gradually over the past many years, smaller restaurants have proliferated.

The key to their success is communicating passion and enthusiasm for their culinary style through using ingredients and farmers as their allies.  Roots Café exemplifies this modern culinary partnership.

Roots Cafe
133 East Gay Street
West Chester, PA 19380





Rena Coyle is an accomplished food and marketing professional with vast experience in all aspects of creating, developing, and communicating strategic messages for major food conglomerates to the media and consumers. Rena, who lives in Newtown Square, can be reach via email at or by telephone at 610.662.9894.

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