Roots 657 is what happens when hipster meets country.
It’s succulents on the tables and quilts on the walls. The space is tall and open, mimicking the structure of a barn, wooden beams and all. To the right are picnic benches and tables. Straight ahead is a counter with a streamlined menu: smoked turkey, pulled pork and a chickpea sandwich with sides of corn pudding and mac and cheese. To the left is a marketplace, mismatched with rows of wine both local (Fabbioli) and foreign (sherry). There are large-format beers from Virginia producers, plus a fridge case with six-packs, ice cream and deli meats. The traditional local wares include sauces and seasonings and plates and bowls from nearby potters, and then it turns into a kid’s fantasy: bins and bins of bulk candy.
This seems like an ordinary cafe and market, but then there’s a sign for a sous-vide cooking demonstration. And then there’s a display of autographed DVDs of The Contender starring Rich Rosendale.
On the line where Leesburg meets Lucketts, Rich Rosendale—Certified Master Chef and contestant for one of the most prestigious cooking competitions in the world, France’s Bocuse d’Or—opened Roots 657, a glorified sandwich shop. (The Contender tells the story of Rosendale’s yearlong training for the competition.)
One day Rosendale is cooking in Augusta for Sergio Garcia the weekend he wins The Masters, and then the chef is in Loudoun employing a moisture meter to check on his 18-hour smoked Roseda Farms beef for a brisket sandwich.
When Rosendale left the famed Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, he moved his wife and three kids to Leesburg, and while he looked at spaces in downtown D.C. better suited for high-end concepts, he decided against it. “Been there, done that,” he says of the trappings of fine dining. “I don’t want to be working at a juggernaut of a hotel.”
With Roots 657, he is home making dinner for his family most nights of the week, unless he’s off in Miami or Dubai or South Africa cooking at hundreds-of-dollars-per-plate dinners or leading advanced workshops or otherwise hobnobbing with culinary talents under his consulting-catering-classes company.
In NoVA, he’s already building out next door with The Greenhouse, to be used for private events, workshops and other tasting experiences.
During Rosendale’s 2013 TEDx talk, he explained “running out of runway” and how to make a plan of action today.
“Look, you only have so much time,” he says about his decision to open a shop within 10 minutes of his house. “How do you spend the equity of your day?” // 42301 Spinks Ferry Road, Leesburg