Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living, May 2017
Written by Gail Collins
One of life’s simplest joys is eating out, and by that, we mean out of doors. Warm and lovely days encourage us to camp, hike or fish, and inevitably, to gather for a meal. Everything seems bigger in the great outdoors— including our appetites for food and flavors. Gathering for a barbecue or escaping for a picnic provides real health benefits, such as vitamin D, boosted mood and increased activity.
The delights of eating outdoors are timeless. From a trestle table filled with a family feast in the Tuscan countryside to a patio table laid with linen on the Champs Elysees to a rooftop view above it all in downtown Flagstaff, al fresco dining is a pleasure. “We have the designation of being the only rooftop dining in town,” said David Smith, chef/owner and partner with Jeremy Meyer of Root Public House.
Root’s rooftop perch is spacious, nearly doubling the its size, under a bowl of blue. A bank of seating wraps the patio plus plenty of tables for soaking up the rays and the view make it the best summer spot. The San Francisco Peaks hold prominence on the horizon surrounded by historic city sites. The bar is self-contained, providing equivalent drinks service as the main floor with eight to 10 local brews on a dozen taps. Or try the signature cocktail Root Down. It’s vibrant, containing only local ingredients: Desert Rain gin, carrot juice, jalapeno bitters and local IPA foam exuding a citrus fragrance. Although the rooftop tends to drinks and nosh, guest have access to the full food program.
Like the expansive rooftop, Smith and Meyer’s idea to own a fine dining restaurant grew. Raised in Virginia and Arkansas respectively, they channeled their southern backbone for inspiration originally. That blossomed as well with Smith open to the whims of whatever looks good and tastes great on the menu. Meyer summed, “Root Public House pushed our boundaries in good ways—we’re keeping it organic.”
Both had lengthy industry backgrounds. Smith arrived in Flagstaff a decade ago with successes as partner/owner of Brix Restaurant and Wine Bar, before opening Criollo Latin Kitchen and Proper Meats and Provisions. Smith met Meyer, the bar program manager at Criollo, in 2010. Understandably, the team had a proper following when they launched Root in July 2016 with a bang. The partners’ consistent mission provides sustainable, organic and local fare. White paint and steel touches create an understated vibe like the owners’ trademark jeans and tees.