Fresh, Local, Creative Eats: Roots Café
2300 E. 3474 South East Millcreek, Utah 84109 || 801.277.6499
Mon–Sun: 7 a.m.–3 p.m.
I have never ended up in Millcreek accidentally. The search for good food usually leads me Downtown, but recent whispers of quality dining options in East Millcreek piqued my curiosity. What I found was Roots Café.
Roots Café presents itself as a creative place to enjoy fresh, locally sourced food. As a breakfast and lunch place by design, their menu is simple and affordable. It also focuses on inspiring the community to “discover and support local foods, eat with consciousness and extend their palates.” And where it may look like an artsy coffeehouse from the outside, the emphasis on simple food, fresh-pressed juices and gourmet sandwiches and desserts sets Roots Café apart as a serious food destination.
B and G, Always Over Easy
As an early riser, I am always on the hunt for a good, hearty breakfast. My first trip to Roots had me digging deep into their early morning options. A favorite menu item is their take on eggs benedict, something they simply call The Benni ($10.50). The Benni starts with a toasted English muffin. They then layer on poached eggs, heirloom tomato slices (summer months only) and your choice of either applewood-smoked bacon, pork or veggie sausage, or Canadian-style cottage bacon. It is then slathered with a house-made hollandaise sauce and served with a side of pan-fried breakfast potatoes. For those not tempted by the protein options, wild smoked salmon can be ordered for an additional ($2.25). And for those with an aversion to gluten, savory corn polenta can be swapped in for the English muffin. Opting to go more traditional, I ordered mine with cottage bacon. What a great combination of flavors! A strong, buttery hollandaise sauce always risks overpowering the somewhat fragile flavor of poached eggs, but Roots Café gets it just right. The sauce was plentiful, and the crisp muffin and savory bacon made it feel familiar and filling.
Another great breakfast choice is the Roots B and G ($11.50). This nontraditional approach to biscuits and gravy starts with a pair of house-made herb biscuits. They are layered with your choice of protein and are then smothered in a vegetarian-poblano-chile gravy and topped with two farm-fresh eggs. The home fries also accompany this dish. The mildly spicy, creamy gravy is really something special. The peppers add a certain earthiness and just the right amount of heat to the sauce. Order the eggs over-easy if you want the bright flavor of the yolk to help the dish feel a little lighter. If you’re looking for something to cut through the richness of the meal completely, consider ordering one of their fresh-pressed juices. The Cleanser, a concoction of carrot, apple, beet and lemon juices—with a touch of ginger—is a fresh and cool favorite.
Your New Millcreek Brunch Spot
From 11 a.m. to close, Roots Café also serves a serious selection of salads and sandwiches. My go-to Roots lunch is their Utah Burger ($11.50). The Utah Burger is made with locally raised, grass-fed beef that is topped with lean cottage bacon, a poblano relish, cheddar cheese and a fried egg. It’s served on a pretzel bun and comes with your choice of sides, including baked kale, pasta salad or green house salad, with the option of substituting a cup of soup, black-eyed pea salad or quinoa for a dollar more. I order my burger cooked medium, with the egg cooked over-hard because the last thing I want is yolk everywhere. There is a lot going on here flavor-wise, and that’s a good thing. Most impressive, the robust flavor of the local beef is never overpowered by the other ingredients. Even though I’d never really thought that an egg belonged on a burger, it would be hard to imagine this one without it.
If beef is your thing, The Peeto sandwich ($9.95) is another good choice. This re-imagination of a French dip sandwich starts with thinly sliced, marinated beef. It is served on a baguette with a horseradish avocado aioli spread, pepper jack cheese, sweet onions and caramelized jalapeño peppers. It comes with a cup of house made au jus. A friend ordered this on a recent visit to Roots and was so impressed with it that he wouldn’t let any of the rest of us try it. If beef isn’t your thing, they also make a vegetarian option called The Porto that swaps in marinated grilled portobello mushrooms for the meat.
I am grateful that I found Roots Café. And I’m happy that they have managed to carve out a relaxing and unique dining spot in an often overlooked part of the valley. Their focus on finding fresh, local ingredients (and their ability to be creative with what they source) is as inspiring to me as it is flavorful. We all now have one more solid reason to visit Millcreek on a regular basis.