Opening of Deep Roots in Yardley, expanding vegan options in Bucks County
Trailer || ‘Return To View’ Podcast – Merrybeth Hodgkinson’s Brother Eric
Merrybeth Hodgkinson’s younger brother Eric talks about what he would do if he came face to face with the person responsible for her death.
Cole Johnson, Bucks County Courier Times
Jim Cain didn’t expect to eat at his new restaurant.
But somehow Deep Roots, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant he opened in the heart of Yardley Borough earlier this month, has since become his favorite dining spot despite his love of meat .
“The presentation is beautiful, the environment is inviting, and the food is absolutely delicious,” Cain said.
The pharmaceutical executive turned entrepreneur has been busy in recent years helping to grow the local dining scene in historic downtown Yardley, nestled perfectly along the Delaware River.
Deep Roots shares its location with Pretty Bird Coffee Roasters on Main Street, across from Vault Brewing Company. The cafe and brewery was originally started by two of Cain’s sons, John and Paul Cain.
Cain has since taken over both businesses and also owns Vault’s production facilities at The Tannery, Kawaii Tori Sushi, Vault Taproom and Delavue Distillers. The bar will soon be rebranded to a restaurant called Vault Barbecue in April.
So why would a meat eater choose to open a vegan restaurant?
Cain attributed this decision to two main things he considers for every new business venture – it has to be in Yardley and a similar business can’t already exist in the town.
To visit: Have you visited Yardley town center lately? You may be missing “a thriving business community”
Also in the borough: The vegetarian pizzeria, Eliyahu’s Yardley Pizza, takes over the old pizzeria
“We had the idea of using vegetarian because it is an emerging culinary cuisine. And you have to go all the way to New Hope or Southampton to find something comparable,” Cain said.
With the help of Tim Wheeler, executive chef at all of Cain’s restaurants, they recruited head chef, Connor Jonigkeit, and sous chef, Courtney Woolslayer, both recent graduates of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Jonigkeit and Woolslayer worked together to create a plant-based menu that would appeal to vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters, while incorporating culinary influences from around the world.
“They go out of their way to create flavors and presentation to make you want to devour it,” said Cain, whose favorite dish is truffle and mushroom risotto, a vegan and gluten-free entree.
A popular vegetarian option is portobella “steak” fries, marinated portobella mushrooms that are grilled and then covered in a blue cheese sauce.
Smaller plates are also available, including kung pao brussels and stuffed squash blossoms.
“I really wanted to make sure everyone could enjoy the menu,” Jonigkeit said. “I know it’s vegetarian and vegan, but we wanted everyone to come and enjoy some really delicious food.”
Jonigkeit originally worked for Wheeler at Red House, a restaurant Wheeler co-owned before closing amid the pandemic.
Throughout his schooling, however, Jonigkeit credits Wheeler for helping propel his career through mentorship and guidance along the way, and is now grateful for the chance Wheeler and Cain gave him at Deep Roots.
“I was presented with a great opportunity that virtually any culinary student would kill for right out of college,” Jonigkeit said. “Tim and Jim were very supportive with just about every menu item I suggested.”
Continued: Yardley’s La Lobster expands menu at restaurant’s new seafood shack
For subscribers: Warwick Brewery opens new tasting room to showcase farm-to-tap beers
Cocktails anyone?: Bucks County’s top bartenders competed at the Logan Inn in New Hope. Discover their creative cocktails
Below its menu, Deep Roots offers craft cocktails, most of which are made using spirits from Delavue Distillers. Guests can enjoy a drink with their meal or sit at the bar and watch an espresso martini being made with Delavue Distillers vodka and Pretty Bird espresso.
Between 4 and 5 p.m., after Pretty Bird closes and Deep Roots opens, the space undergoes a subtle but effective transition. Panels are moved, revealing large murals. A screen descends hiding the café-bar. Lighting is low. Every detail invites guests to slow down and savor the flavors of their meal.
“There’s a really classy vibe to it,” said Melanie Houska, from Newtown, as she dined with her family, none of whom were vegetarians or vegans.
Her son, Ian Houska, encouraged the rest of his family to come out after trying the place a few days earlier. “You can’t even tell it’s vegetarian or vegan. They really step it up when it comes to flavors and seasonings.
Cain expressed his gratitude for the support he received from the community and his team of Business Partners to make Deep Roots possible.
“What’s really fun is when you have an idea, work with a team to create that idea, and see people like that idea,” Cain said. “He’s worth it. That’s really why I’m doing it.