By guest blogger Katie Lutzker,
Serendipitous. That is how Jan Landis, Carol Hoernle, and chef Kristin Moyer all describe the opening and continual operation of their Quakertown restaurant, Clean Roots.
Friends for years, the three opened Clean Roots in May 2017 with resounding success from their community. Clean Roots, a 100% vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options, shows their customers that vegetarian and vegan food can be made without compromising flavor, creativity, or cost.
Jan switched over to a plant-based, vegetarian diet over a year ago. She was tired of not finding wholly vegetarian menus or late-night options, so she thought, “Why don’t we do it?” She asked close friends Kristin and Carol to join her, and within a few months, Clean Roots opened their doors.
Kristin describes the menu and her style of cooking as “plant-based comfort food.” Kristin takes menu items we frequently see, like mac and cheese, shepherd’s pie, and enchiladas and makes them 100% plant-based.
The mac and cheese is made with a vegan cashew cheese; the shepherd’s pie is made with lentils and chickpeas instead of ground beef; and the enchiladas are made with roasted vegetables and black beans instead of meat.
The layers of flavors keep eaters of all diets coming back multiple times a week. The menu is accessible to all—vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters—because it honors the vegetables themselves, showing and educating their customers and their community that nobody needs to prescribe to any one particular diet.
Clean Roots is not trying to force their customers into veganism or vegetarianism. Rather, it is offering a plant-based menu that is new and different from anything else in the surrounding area.
When they first opened, the three were unsure if Quakertown was going to want to try it out. However, the restaurant has gained a large following in their community and they could not be happier to get to know their customers and be a part of Quakertown.
When they opened the restaurant, Jan wanted something both classy and homey, and that is exactly what Clean Roots is. The interior is clean and minimalist with many plants, and the customers are friendly, excited and local.
“It feels like the show Cheers. Everybody knows each other,” says Janis about Quakertown, “people are always hugging and saying hi, and that’s exactly what I wanted.”
Not only have they acquired a following in their local community, but also outside Quakertown. Having so many vegan and plant-based options and a 100% vegetarian menu entices many people to travel to eat at Clean Roots. Customers come from Philadelphia, Allentown, King of Prussia, Collegeville, and Pottstown not only because Clean Roots is located between many major roads, but also because people are willing to travel for the food.
Literally, everything is made in-house including their salad dressings, kimchi, sauerkraut, sauces, and every menu item is made fresh to order. Because of this, they are able to accommodate allergies, dietary restrictions, and substitutions for their customers.
When they can, they either grow their own produce from community gardens (“instead of farm to table, we’re garden to table,” says Jan), buy local or buy organic.
They offer in-house made vegan baked goods and “whips” (a frozen banana “ice cream” treat) for desserts. The specials change almost daily, posted on their Facebook page.
When you talk to Jan, Carol and Kristin, they glow with excitement for what’s to come for Clean Roots. They have big dreams for the restaurant, their gardens and their brand, and their humility keeps them grounded and successful in their community.
“I tell everybody this is happening to us,” says Kristin. “We just showed up and we’re just willing to do the work.”
500 West Broad Street
Facebook: Clean Roots Vegetarian Cuisine
Tuesday – Saturday: 12 – 8 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 3 pm