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New Home, New Patio: Roots Grows in the Marketplace Park

Roots offers new outdoor patio and unique ambiance

Homemade sweet basil ravioli with a corn, ricotta, garlic, onion and parmesan filling, tossed in a tomato jus with mushrooms, onions and spinach — this is one of Donald Billings’ favorite dishes from Roots the Restaurant.

Billings opened Roots in 2011 on Wales Street in downtown Rutland. Roots gained popularity with a farm fresh menu and creative, original entrees, drawing patrons from in-and-out of state. After its move in December, Roots opened with twice the seats in the Center Street Marketplace Park on Washington Street, where Billings describes it as “bigger and better.”

A view of the patio at Roots, now located in the Center Street Marketplace Park off of Washington Street in Downtown Rutland. Photo credit: Martin Schreiner / Rutland Foodie

A view of the patio at Roots, now located in the Center Street Marketplace Park off of Washington Street in Downtown Rutland. Photo credit: Martin Schreiner / Rutland Foodie

The expansion from the old location was needed as the restaurant’s popularity grew. Roots was named “Best Restaurant for Business Lunch 2019” in Vermont Business Magazine, Best-of-the-Best Restaurant in the Rutland Herald in 2018, and is ranked in the top 10 restaurants in Rutland on TripAdvisor, also with high ratings on many other review forums as well.

Billings said the main difference in this location is size. The new location boasts twice the tables and bar seats but keeps the traditional Root’s themed menu, with both new and delicious options. The location on Washington Street still offers the same farm-to-table ingredients, their signature blue Avonite bar and unique-to-Rutland atmosphere.

Another benefit of Roots’ new location is the recent addition of a covered outdoor patio area providing a new location in downtown Rutland to eat outdoors on a nice night — an option previously limited in the area. Patrons in the patio area can enjoy a view of the park and events that will be held throughout the summer, including free movies that the Rutland Rec and Downtown Rutland Partnership plan to organize.

Billings is the owner-operator of multiple businesses in the restaurant industry, and has been working in the business all his life. Along with Roots, he also owns The Bakery and the re-designed Bakery Annex for private dining, all within walking distance in Downtown Rutland.

The Bakery, located at 122 West Street, serves up breakfast and lunch with smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, salads, delicious pastries and more. Billings opened The Bakery with Roots in mind, as all of his restaurants’ desserts and breads are prepared there.

A crispy potato hash with sunny-side up eggs and butter-poached lobster. Photo credit: Martin Schreiner / Rutland Foodie

A crispy potato hash with sunny-side up eggs and butter-poached lobster. Photo credit: Martin Schreiner / Rutland Foodie

Billings newest venture in restaurant ownership is Crux in Killington, just 20 minutes from Rutland on the mountain and open only during ski season. Billings also purchased the former Phat Italian Market and Deli space to open the Mountain Merchant, which offers food, coffee, and a beer garden with over 300 options year-round.

Balancing  multiple businesses can be difficult, but Billings says he has an awesome staff that helps make it all possible. At Roots, the staff is a key player in the operations of the restaurant.

“We are very fortunate to have a good staff. A lot of people that have been with us have been with us for a long time, and the people that work here are truly invested and choose to buy into the system,” Billings said.

One of Root’s employee’s, Rachel Kyhill, chimed in stating that the relationships the staff builds with their customers really makes them stand out.

“We make connections here. We love our guests and we have the nicest customers.” Kyhill said.

Roots is open Tuesdays through Sundays, and their outdoor patio space will be open all summer. For more information about Roots the Restaurant, check out their Instagram or Facebook, or go online to their website at rootsrutland.com.