Community-focused, local, sustainable and responsible are the key words used to describe The Root Cellar, an organic café, bakery and juice bar in Old East Village. A culinary team led by chef Dani Murphy produces organic specialties from food grown and produced within a 45-minute radius of London.
The kitchen’s repertoire of “from-scratch” seasonal menu offerings and in-house artisan baked goods are made from locally sourced and organic grains. All offerings are organic (with minor exceptions), and 80% of the food is procured locally. If you are looking for a sustainable water buffalo burger or a tasty vegan Shepherd’s pie or some kale and potato samosas, you have come to the right place.
From a design perspective the restaurant is perfection. Everywhere your eyes travel you will notice interesting design elements, cohesive surfaces or something recycled, reclaimed or original. From bike frames fused to a counter at the traditional storefront window to the duo bicycle rims repurposed as practical and decorative cup hanging racks. Other design features include interesting wall sconces and the rebar that has been welded into light fixtures on the ceiling. The exquisite sheet metal flowers that are suspended above the bar area reflect the café's artisan sensibility. There are many comfortable seating options that add to the eclecticism of the space. For the politically minded, the “Radical Reading” bookshelf near the kitchen door is not to be missed.
The idea and concept for the restaurant grew out of a desire to bring the community together with local organic farmers and producers to build solidarity within the local food system. The Root Cellar is a spinoff of On the Move Organics cooperative. The cooperative connects people to local certified organic food producers through its community supported agriculture home delivery service and its organic green grocer booth at the Western Fair Farmers' and Artisans' Market. On the 2nd floor of the market, On the Move Organics also features an organic juice bar and production facility. The worker-owned cooperative has four principles – Jeff Pastorius (founding partner of On the Move Organics), Aaron Lawrence, Joel Pastorius and Root Cellar manager Ellie Cook.
The business embraces the tenets of the slow food movement (a non-profit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating regional culinary identities while embracing the purity of the organic movement, survival of endangered animal breeds, heirloom varieties of fruit and vegetables, traditional artisanal products and to slowing the deterioration of the environment to name but a few of Slow Food’s mandates.) while consciously attempting to offer affordable and accessible healthy eating options to the larger community.
“We believe that food is political, that the choices we make about food--what we choose to eat and who we choose to support by doing so--resonate through our community, our economy, and our planet. At the foundation of this project is a commitment to invigorating our community, discovering the plentitude of our local foodshed, supporting sustainable agriculture, and working cooperatively,” states the On the Move Organic website.
Since its beginning in July of 2012 as a small 20 seat cafe, the Root Cellar Organic Café has evolved into a 70 seat café/pub, takeaway and anglophone Canada's first worked-owned cooperative nano-brewery, the London Brewing Co-operative.
Whether you're looking for a filling breakfast, a simple and healthy lunch, something vegan, or just proof that organic muffins really are tastier than conventional, the café has plenty of options. In addition to ethical coffee locally roasted by Patrick’s Beans, the Root Cellar also features a fresh juice and smoothie bar where customers can choose from a full menu of nutritious, energizing, detoxifying, or just plain refreshing signature drinks. Try the Jitterbug with beet juice, spinach, medjool date, banana, hemp hearts, coconut oil and house-made maple cashew milk.
Breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner (Mon-Tues 8am -7pm, Wed-Sat 8am-11pm).
623 Dundas Street, 519-719-7675