Our Delicious Brunch at Roots Cafe in Maple Shade, NJ
We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Roots Cafe provided my family with a meal in exchange for this post and my honest feedback and opinions. The opinions I share about Roots Cafe are my own, and Roots Cafe did not tell me what to say or how to say it. south jersey brunch breakfast family friendly restaurant roots cafe maple shade new jersey
I don’t know about you, but I think breakfast food is pretty awesome. Like, I could totally eat breakfast food for every meal of the day and be completely happy. Pancakes for breakfast? Sure. Eggs Benedict for lunch? Don’t mind if I do. Waffles for dinner? Count me in! So, when I noticed the former Forno restaurant being replaced by Roots Cafe in Maple Shade, NJ, I knew I had to check it out! After checking their menu online and seeing their Instagram and Facebook posts, I had a feeling they’d be perfect to include in the South Jersey Family “Family-Friendly Dining” series! I sent them a message and received a response very quickly. Before I knew it, we had scheduled a date and time for the family to experience a Roots Cafe brunch!
Because of our typical weekend schedule, it worked out best for us to visit Roots Cafe on a Sunday morning. Owned by Kevin and Rachelle Johnson, a husband and wife team, we knew we were in for a treat when we arrived and saw a good amount of cars in the parking lot of Roots Cafe (because that means good food, right?!). We were still able to find a parking spot easily. If you’ve never been to this location, the parking, and the entrance, is towards the back of the building. When we walked in, it was very apparent that they were going for a “comfortable county” look (does that make sense?! It does to me!). An open kitchen (yessss! I love being able to watch the food being prepared) was behind a ship-lapped counter and all but one wall were all painted cozy neutral earth tones. The one wall, facing Church Road, that wasn’t a neutral was painted a sunny yellow with windows and doors opening up to a small patio with outdoor dining. The gray flooring reminds me of those well-worn (and gorgeous!) barn floors and the table tops were decorated with a simple teal-painted milk bottle with a cotton flower and greens. Joanna Gaines would be proud of Rachelle’s design choices! We were quickly greeted by the host and shown to our table: a booth in the corner of the restaurant over by the windows.
As we sat down, we were handed menus – simple pieces of cardstock kept together by a plastic ring. Kevin told us that Roots does change their menus by season and is always adding new dishes, so having the menu printed on cardstock is perfect for allowing changes to be made. Their menu offers a good number of dishes, but was not overwhelming at all. I am one of the worst decision makers when it comes to dining at restaurants! A self-proclaimed “foodie,” I can often get overwhelmed when there are pages and pages of choices. At Roots Cafe, though, I was able to narrow down my choice pretty quickly. I also need to mention another design decision – the flatware. Now, I don’t usually notice things like this, but the flatware was *perfect* for the restaurant. It was a matte finish and a very simple design – it’s like they were made to go with the rest of their decor! south jersey brunch breakfast family friendly restaurant roots cafe maple shade new jersey
Our waitress came over to greet us shortly after we were seated and took our drink orders. The Mister and I both ordered coffee and water. Big Dude ordered lemonade and Little Dude asked for cranberry juice (QUITE the surprise to me – he’s usually pretty set in his drink and food preferences and I was surprised to see him choose something other than lemonade or milk). When the drinks arrived, we all “ooh-ed” and “ahh-ed” over the cute glass milk bottles that had the boys drinks – they were just so cute and fit the comfy country theme PERFECTLY! As if that wasn’t enough, the waitress then offered the boys their choice of….wait for it…super bendy straws. Their minds were blown and they were immediately like 10 times happier than they had previously been. It’s the simple things, am I right?! I took this opportunity to order myself one of their freshly-made tonics juiced in-house from fruits and veggies. I love all things pineapple, so I ordered their “Pineapple Express” made from pineapple, kale, and mint. It was AMAZING. Like, I-wouldn’t-mind-drinking-it-everyday-of-my-life amazing. The list of beverages was towards the back of the menu, so make sure to look there for all the delicious beverages. They also had quite the impressive selection of teas, but, since I require insane amounts of caffeine daily, I passed on the tea and stuck with coffee this time.
We put our meal order in with the waitress and then proceeded to take a bunch of selfies! I’m not even kidding – the boys were still excited by the bendy straws and milk bottles! They spent a good amount of time bending those straws to make a variety of shapes…including creating some pretty awesome “dream water slide” tunnels. lol. (Note to Roots Cafe: keep offering those straws FOREVER!).
When the food arrived, it all smelled and looked SO GOOD! Little Dude ordered the Funfetti Pancakes with bacon and eggs (he called them “birthday cake pancakes”), Big Dude got their Pancake and Fruit Tower, and The Mister and I each got benedicts. He got the traditional benedict while I got the crab cake benedict. Both came with breakfast potatoes. Now, I need to mention this about my meal. I LOVE crab cakes, but I tend to avoid getting them from restaurants unless they’ve been recommended by a friend. Why? The bread to crab ratio is usually totally off with the crab cakes being filled with more breading than crab. I took a chance ordering them from Roots Cafe and let’s just say I was VERY pleasantly surprised. There was hardly any filler in these crab cakes – just the right amount to keep the pieces of crab together to form the “cake.” The crab was delicious, tender, and the crab cake included many chunks of crab and not just the tiny pieces. You guys…if you like crab cakes, I TOTALLY recommend the crab cake benedict. In addition to the delicious crab, the eggs were perfectly poached and it all sat upon one of the most delicious english muffins I’d ever had in my life. It was toasted just right and the sourdough flavor really hit the spot. The breakfast potatoes were somewhat crispy on the outside (a good thing!) and soft on the inside (another good thing!). I need to mention that a number of their breads are made in house! Amazing, right? Rachelle has made a variety of English Muffins (including cinnamon raisin, apple cinnamon, and blueberry), challah bread, french toast, and cornbread for Roots Cafe. You can totally taste the love and passion that was put into those baked goods.
The Mister really enjoyed his Traditional Benedict – he didn’t talk much and just ate which is how I knew that he was enjoying it! Little Dude thought his funfetti pancakes were the best thing ever! I helped myself to a piece of his pancake (he was NOT ok with that, but it was necessary for me to write an accurate article, ya know?!) and it was absolutely delicious. He gobbled them up in no time at all. Big Dude, for whatever reason, was not happy with his decision. I have no idea why – he decided on his meal and usually loves fruit (the pancakes came with bananas and strawberries), but, for whatever reason, he was nearly in tears over this meal. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, I think he may have just been having a moment of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when he saw his little brother gobbling up the rainbow sprinkled funfetti pancakes. While The Mister and I were trying to encourage Big Dude to try his pancakes, Kevin came over to check on us. We told him how much we were enjoying the food, but it was pretty obvious that Big Dude was not happy. Even though we were encouraging him to eat what he had ordered, Kevin totally and completely made his day by offering to make him up a new plate of the Funfetti pancakes. You guys, he definitely didn’t need to do that, but just that act of kindness spoke volumes about the level of customer service at Roots Cafe. Those new pancakes were made in no time flat and Big Dude was happy again! south jersey brunch family friendly restaurant roots cafe maple shade new jersey
So, by this point, you should have a decent idea of how our experience at Roots Cafe was. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and both The Mister and I mentioned that we would need to come back again soon. I do love my fair share of chain restaurants, but there’s just something special about locally owned restaurants, you know? When we were talking with Kevin, he had mentioned that he and Rachelle were diy-ing the restaurant themselves. They’re literally putting their blood, sweat, and tears into this restaurant and that kind of dedication definitely shows. It is still a work in progress, but having projects incomplete absolutely did not take away from our wonderful experience. If anything, it makes me want to return again soon so that I can support them and watch the progress! From the look of the paint swatches on the outside of the building, I have a feeling there’s going to be some big changes coming!
If you’re looking for an enjoyable, quality, family-friendly meal, definitely check out Roots Cafe and let them know that South Jersey Family sent you! They do have high chairs and booster seats available for the kids (yay!) and, if the bendy straws don’t keep the kids attention, there are also a few tvs on the wall. If you remember Forno, you’ll know that there were quite a few tvs set up then. There are nowhere near as many tvs set up now, which, in my opinion, is a good thing because I can now have a conversation with my family instead of having to compete with a ton of tvs. Roots Cafe offers breakfast and lunch between the hours of 6:30am-2pm so be sure to plan your meal between those hours. For more info, including their address and contact info, check their info page here. Thank you for having us, Roots Cafe!
What’s your favorite kind of breakfast food? Do you know of any other local restaurants we should include in our South Jersey Family – Friendly Dining Series? Let us know!
For more family-friendly dining, check out our visit to Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, NJ
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