Photos by Vicki Liantonio
For a while, Fishtown’s MO was strictly pub grub and craft beer. Now it seems like this bustling stretch of Frankford Avenue is growing up and Root, a refined new restaurant and wine bar, fits right in. Combine a beautifully designed space with a well crafted wine program — plus a creative kitchen — and you’ve got a welcome addition to this evolving neighborhood.
The wine bar is a front and back of house partnership between Greg Root, a Starr alum who spent nearly a decade directing the restaurant group. There's also Nick Kennedy, a chef whose resume includes time spent in the Michelin-starred kitchens of Del Posto and Jean-Georges in New York.
Root’s by the glass list is filled with varied pours: an easy-drinking Arneis from Italy’s northwestern Langhe region, a Portuguese red made with rarely seen baga grapes and a sparkling rose from Australia. Glass prices top off at $12, so, the list is easy to explore. Don’t skip the shot menu of sweet, fortified wines like a honied petit manseng — it drinks like liquid dessert.
Mid Century Sipping
Tapping local design firm Stokes Architecture, Root transformed a unused space into a breathtaking wine bar. There's eye-catching tiled flooring, sleek wood details and leather banquettes. The bar opens up to the street allowing for both great Frankford Avenue people watching and some oh so flattering natural light.
Taking a cue from the largely Old World wine list, Kennedy’s menu takes inspiration from Spain and Italy without being married to the confines of either culinary tradition. The result is a fun, wine-friendly lineup of snacks, toast and plates built for sharing: smoked mushroom croquetas, butternut squash toast with long hots, and smoked yogurt and a seasonal vegetable bagna cauda.
Although the wine list is a great place to start, Root has plenty to offer those who’d rather go with a cocktail or a beer. There's a quartet of gin and tonics — each featuring its own unique combination of flavor infusion and tonic — along with three house cocktails. (We like the springy Fishtown Mule with vodka, grapefruit, ginger beer and rhubarb bitters.) Beer-wise, the opening list is full of warm weather brews like Avery White Rascal and Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, the kind of beers that will make you want to grab a table in the sun.
1206 Frankford Ave.; 215-515-3452