Experience Chef Rich Rosendale’s Roots 657

Traveling north on Route 15, you have probably noticed Roots 657 Cafe sitting quietly, clean cut and solo, just outside of Leesburg’s historic district between Ida Lee and Lucketts. It’s a pearl of a restaurant with barn high ceilings, natural wood decor and giant ceiling fans hovering over a huge open space with an indoor market, elegant picnic table seating (if you can imagine such a thing). All that and a delicious menu brimming with choices all from the mind’s eye of one of the world’s 69 Certified Master Chefs, Rich Rosendale.

Only in Loudoun can you find amazing hickory-smoked brisket sharing space with world-class wines, gourmet foods and farm-to-table sides… at a roadside market. That’s the essence of Roots 657. It’s just the place for gourmet take-out, though you may be charmed into eating in and enjoying some time with family and friends.

The hickory-smoked brisket, cooked for 18-hours to give it a seasoned crisp bark (the outer layer), melts in your mouth. It’s so tender it doesn’t need a knife. It actually doesn’t need anything — no sauce, no bun, though the savory jalapeno cheddar bun and coleslaw are a bonus. This is the new standard for real brisket.

Another great option is Root’s Rosetta Farm burger. Cooked medium, topped with melted cheddar cheese, crisp shredded lettuce, bacon and a fried egg. Served open faced, the yolk breaks as you close the bun. And what a bun it is! Not sure what put it over the top: the garlic compound butter or the lightly grilled crispiness.

Hard to believe that there’s room for sides — but you’ve got to eat your vegetables. The menu changes with the season based on what’s fresh and plentiful.

When we visited, Roots was loaded up on tomatoes. What to do? Tomato soup of course! Another soup option: Maryland crab soup. It’s a perfect balance of tomatoes and corn with a generous helping of crab meat. Seasoned with the one-and-only Old Bay to give it just the kick it needs.

Not to be missed is Roots’ signature corn pudding. It hits the spot with a crispy outside and gooey inside. It’s so decadent it could almost stand in for dessert, but corn’s a vegetable, right?

Roots’ owner, Certified Master Chef, Rich Rosendale certainly knows what he’s doing in the kitchen. His resume includes competing in the Bocuse d’Or in France, cooking at Greenbrier and working alongside chefs like Thomas Keller and Jose Andres. He travels around the world working exclusive events and cooking for world leaders.

But Loudoun is where he calls home. He built Roots 657 to share his talent with the community — so you don’t have to wait for your birthday or anniversary to treat yourself. With a casual cafe and a market that sells local goods, beer and wine, he’s set his sights on doing more. Keep your eye out for the opening of the Greenhouse, set to host receptions, special dinners and cooking classes led by Rosendale himself.

I wonder if he’ll share his brisket recipe.

Roots 657 is located on 42301 Spinks Ferry Road in Leesburg, at the intersection of Routes 657 and 15. It’s open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Category: Eat, Featured