In this week’s TALK series, McLean Today sits down with Donna Shore, the manager of Roots Kitchen and Bar. Since 2021, Roots —at 8100 Old Dominion Drive— has held a special place in the McLean community — as a gathering place to meet friends and neighbors while enjoying a coffee or a cocktail; a place to eat-in or take out a fresh, local, healthy meal or perhaps to grab a bottle of wine or some other grocery item.
Q. What was the inspiration behind creating Roots?
The three owners of Roots wanted to bring [to] McLean something they thought was missing — a local hidden gem that catered to the guests living there — to provide great food, a small provision center where people could just jump in, grab a bottle of wine, whatever they need, but also just grab a bite. Roots [has] a little bit of everything, it’s a bar that has a coffee shop, and a sandwich shop. But it is really supposed to be community based. When we found our location, there was already a provision and sandwich shop that was in this one location. So we took over that, changed the name, and expanded into the space next door to create the bar.
Q. You opened the business in 2021 during the peak pandemic. How was business like when you first opened?
It was slow, very slow. We’ve actually picked up significantly which is really exciting. And people have great confidence in us and loyalty. More guests are now coming so we’re super excited about the future.
At Roots, you can enjoy fresh, quality ingredients in all their scratch cooking.
Q. Why did you choose to open Roots in McLean?
McLean didn’t have something like this before, and the owners actually live locally, right down the street. They wanted a place that was based in the community which was needed in that strip on Old Dominion. That was really why it was created.
Q. Is there a story behind the name “Roots”?
We wanted to be “rooted” in the community. So that is actually where the name “Roots” came from. When people find out about this place… they send their friends over. So people from [Tysons] Boro now come by and we’ve been getting a younger crowd that was a little bit further than the community that we are touching, which is really exciting.
Q. What food specialities do you have at Roots?
We run seasonal items. We want this place to be family based, so we have a great kids menu. We get a lot of people from McLean High School that come after school. We finally expanded the menu to have some different sandwich options, but also some entree options so people can come to the bar and enjoy the sports game with their friends and get to have a meal. We’ve expanded that menu to have some vegetarian options and vegan options as well. During the NFL season, we do dollar wings. We also redid the whole bar and it has a lot of what we call “dessert drinks”. We also make some speciality coffee drinks because we are a coffee house as well.
Q. Is Roots a breakfast, lunch, or dinner spot?
It depends on each day of the week. We host local bands, for the people local to the area that enjoy playing music for the community. We have them come in on Friday night. So that actually ends up being a really heavy evening. Saturdays are really busy. Breakfast busiest on Monday through Friday. During NFL season, the crowd picks up at nights, especially Sunday nights and we extend our hours for the games because we have so many large TVs. Trivia Night also is one of our biggest nights and that’s on Thursday.
Q. What are you favorite spots in McLean?
I really like going to the Mom and Pops shops, I like hitting those places that aren’t well known. You get to know the owners and that’s kind of what I focus on because there are a lot of bigger things in the area compared to small businesses.
Dania Reza is the social media content curator for McLean Today. She is a senior at McLean High School and is the design editor-in-chief of her award-winning school news magazine, The Highlander.
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