In The Kitchen at Roots Cafe

A view behind the scenes at West Chester’s dining destinations, and a chat with the people who run them.

If I’m making something, and I’m not happy with it, it goes in the trash. We don’t tweak it,” says Roots Café co-owner and chef John “JT” Hearn. Fellow chef (and other half of the business partnership) Dan Merola, confirms that JT’s words are not an empty threat. “Just this morning, I was licking the icing off a cake because I knew he was going to throw it out. We want people to have the best they’ve ever had when they come to Roots.”

Their steaks are all locally sourced. Chicken comes from a farm in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania and costs three times as much of that offered at other restaurants. They’ve got a guy who drops off a case of mushrooms with his truck, pulling up in the alley so they can buy stuff out the back door. On the first page of the menu alone, more than 90% of the items are local. “It’s supporting local business, which is better for the environment, too,” Dan says…