Boushala: Root digs deep for taste

A consummate opportunity and Ed Mamou’s appetite for food sent him in the direction of opening the Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake.

Mamou said he decided to open an organic restaurant with only the very best and local ingredients because he thought it would be something different for Metro Detroit.

“It’s about local ingredients and my love for organic foods and foods in general,” said Mamou. “A couple of years ago my chef James Rigato and I had a catering business together and decided to open a restaurant for business.”

Root includes an open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs preparing locally grown, organic meals. Expressive, detailed artwork is displayed on the walls, including photographs by Regina Mamou and paintings by Nicole Carlson.

The name Root represents “where everything starts, the root of it all,” said Mamou.

He and executive Chef Rigato created the menu with everything built around the local ingredients available during Michigan’s various seasons.

Root calls its cuisine a “throwback to classic dishes” — with a unique twist. The baked Mac and Cheese, for instance, features Michigan white cheddar topped with herbed bread crumbs. The Baked Michigan Brie is baked in a puff pastry and topped with arugula, radish, green apple, maple syrup and balsamic vinaigrette. Michigan farm-raised beef, pork, chicken and shrimp are also featured.
Root makes everything from scratch, and all of the breads are homemade including French, Italian and American versions using local ingredients, Mamou said. The bar features eight Michigan beers and many Michigan spirits.

Mamou said he opened his restaurant in White Lake because of the growth of the area and its busy location just off of M-59 West. “White Lake is in the middle of somewhere where there are many businesses along this road,” he said. “It’s not in a dead town.”     Mamou still operates his recycling business, Royal Oak Recycling, which his father — who came to the U.S. in 1973 — bought in 1991. Mamou worked with his father while growing up, and later received a master’s degree in math.

Working in the recycling industry not only gave him an opportunity, he said, but also some degree of financial stability. In the end, opening a restaurant was fulfilling a passion.
“I wanted to take it to the next level and become intimate with it,” he said. “The whole theme is transparency and everything made from scratch.”

Root is located at 340 Town Center Boulevard in White Lake. Call (248) 698-2400 or visit TheRootRestaurant.com.

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