Not only is the location convenient with plenty of free parking across the street in a public lot, but you will find yourself in Downtown Summit, with charming shops in every direction.
Rich double doors welcome you into a vestibule and a warm and welcoming bar with dark walls, rich paintings and murals, a big bowl of fresh apples and comfortable leather booths are in your view. A friendly host or hostess welcomes you and if you made a reservation, you will be guided to your table as you pass many smiling faces of diners and the most professional wait staff. (if you did not make a reservation, you may be out of luck or be able to find a spot at the bar if you don’t need privacy and quiet.)
I suggest you call two to three weeks in advance if you don’t like eating very early or very late.
The air here is not just about the smell of charcoal cooking the highest quality steaks they can find (you can actually hear the sizzle of the steaks grilling when you open the website). Everyone in the restaurant is just glad to be there and you can feel it immediately. The waiters (all men in matching beige jackets that look like they have made a career out of being great at what they do) seem geniuinely happy to see you and they truly have the art of hospitality down to a science. You never get any attitude from one of these fine gentlemen who will serve you as team throughout your meal.
I have dined at Roots since it opened a few years ago and have always been a fan. Named for the famous building that was once the home of Roots the clothing store, where many of us locals remember our dads and brothers shopping in the 1960’s – 1980’s. The former owner, Perry Root, was a well known member of the community, who sold high end preppy and expensive clothing that was the uniform for the well dressed man and his father and son. Today there is a scholarship named in his honor by the Suburban Chamber of Commerce.
Whether you like red meat (their filet mignon is the best I can find in NJ) or if you prefer lighter fare , all of their fish dishes are superb too. I am a creamed spinach afficianado (sheer bliss) and all the side orders to accompany your meal, are divine. You just cannot go wrong with anything on this menu and I have tried all of their salads and many of their soups which also get a thumbs up. Everything is delicious and cooked to perfection and the seats are extremely comfortable.
So above and beyond the obvious reasons, here is why I really love this place. It has a lot of heart, not just good food. A few weeks ago, one of my friends was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and she had come home from a brief stay at the hospital to spend her last few weeks at home. I asked her family if I could bring her one of her favorite meals, comfort food if you will, since she was no longer able to walk, and I thought this would be a meaningful gesture.
I called Roots at about 3pm to say I wanted to pick up an order of the crab cake salad with two of their famous popovers. (I forgot to mention the warm and delicious buns that are placed on your plate with the most amazing butter that you actually start to make little moaning noises of pleasure while taking each bite.)
The friendly young woman who answered the phone, between the lunch and dinner crowd, told me that the crab salad was really only a lunch item and I could not get that for dinner, and they might not be able to have it ready exactly at 5pm.
I explained that this was for a special friend who was dying and that I was hoping they would make an exception since she just got home from the hospital and hospice was coming to take care of her in her final days. I told her that this was her special request and that I had to be at a business appointment by 6pm so I really needed to ask if anyone could make this for me at this earlier than usual time, for dinner take out. She put me on hold for just a minute and when she came back to the phone, she assured me that my carry-out package would be ready for pick up at 5pm and she was so glad to help me.
I arrived right on time to pick up the food and when I offered my credit card to pay for the food, the hostess could not find the bill. She looked all around, asked another person and no one could locate the slip. One of the waiters came over and said, “The chef wants you to take this to your sick friend with our compliments. No charge. We are glad to know that a meal from Roots could help someone who is not well and we threw in an extra popover.
This was not what I expected but as I told this story to people a few weeks later, as we gathered to say goodbye to my dear friend who had succumbed to her disease, many others shared stories of how much they also liked Roots Steak House and how it is more than just a fine restaurant, it has heart and soul. People remember good food. good atmosphere and good service, but for me, there is also a lot of good will that I will never forget.
Thank you Roots for doing something that was extraordinary. It brought tears to my eyes and has made me a loyal fan for life.
Karen Eastman Bigos, Summit, NJ