Root

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 33 reviews )
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717-826-9130
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223 W Walnut St, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, 17603

Vegan bar and restaurant, opened Dec 2015. Open Mon-Fri 4:00pm-11:00pm, Sat-Sun 11:00am-11:00pm.

Categories: Vegan, American, Beer/Wine, European

33 Reviews

First Review by Jodipiglet

Favorite restraunt - Edit

I love going to this place because I feel at home. It's amazing because I can order anything on the menu, which is something i'm not used to. The employees are awesome and efficient. I've never been disappointed and I especially like the aesthetic.

Pros: Options, affordable, takeout

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so so good - Edit

Went in for early dinner and had a delicious meal. Eggplant wrapped risotto, and edamame dumplings. They’re alcohol selection is really awesome too, had the doppelbock.

Pros: tasty food, nice venue

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Great Quick Stop - Edit

Stopped by here for some takeout on my way to a non-vegan party. The jackfruit quesadilla was delicious and even the non-vegans that I got to try it loved it. Service was a bit slow but it was a busy Friday night.

Can't wait to come back and try more options!

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Root Vegan - Edit

The food was good for the most part (the potato tofu curry was too plain according to my sister). I had an eggplant pesto dish that tasted wonderful. The only bad news was that my sister, who is gluten free, could not have many of the options on the menu because even the gluten free options had things in there that she could not have (like tomatoes and cauliflower). Also they were a little understaffed on the waiting staff so the service was a little slow. However, it was nonetheless still a good restaurant, my mom, who is allergic to dairy, loved it especially.

Pros: Friendly staff, Reasonably sized portions, Great food (mostly)

Cons: Not enough waiters/waitresses, Not a lot of options without tomatoes, Lack of desserts

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Love - Edit

The environment is so welcoming, awesome staff, very reasonable prices, and awesome vegan food.

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Just okay - Edit

Apps: potato nachos & medium wings. Nachos were so bland and disappointing. Wings were a bit better; they were medium but still had a bit of kick. Asked for a side of ranch but it wasn't very good. The seitan was very dense, would have been nice to see a more tender texture. It's not a buffalo sauce, btw.

Main course: wife got a salad which she barely touched. I got the KFC bowl, which was pretty good. The "gravy" was very thin but had a nice flavor. It also came with a side of cauliflower, which was way too much food but also had me questioning whether the mash was potato or cauliflower because the aroma was so strong and it was pretty chunky.

Service was okay. They brought me the wrong wine but fixed it quickly. There is apparently a full bar but they don't tell you and I didn't notice because it was behind me. (There was not even a mention like, "the draft list is on the board behind you", even though we mentioned that it was our first visit. This is mostly notable because there is a placard on the table for wine & bottled beer.) Had to ask twice for ranch. There is a jukebox, and when it is on it is obnoxiously loud. There were no desserts.

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All vegan! - Edit

100% vegan food and a full vegan bar! Good food, decent service and it's a cool place!

Pros: 100% vegan!, Full bar, Menu changes every so often - good variety

Cons: Service can be slow

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fresh, delicious vegan food! - Edit

This place is awesome! Great service and not too expensive, and the foods phenomenal! Definitely the place to check out if your vegan in Lancaster

Pros: GF options, raw options

Cons: gets pretty busy

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Delightful surprise find! - Edit

My family was traveling south on I-81 and found Root on Happy Cow. We decided to take a detour to try it, since there are so few true vegan restaurants anywhere. Boy, were we glad we did! Even though we live in the DC area, Root is our new favorite restaurant! From the friendly server who was single-handedly covering the entire place with a smile to the appetizers to the entrees and great beer and wine selections, we were thrilled! We only wish it were in our neighborhood. Highly recommend.

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Enjoyed our first time! - Edit

My BF and I stopped by here, very hungry, after leaving the Lancaster veg fest(looooong food lines!!) and were very delighted at how great the service was. It was incredibly busy as a lot of people had the same idea as us to come here for dinner after the fest. Food was delicious, staff were friendly and accommodating, great beer selection. I have no complaints!

Pros: all vegan

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Aesthetic - Edit

My friend and I traveled 2 hours to try out this place and ill tell you this, it did not disappoint. The food was delicious, the atmosphere was rustic yet modern, and our waitress was super nice! I will definitely be back!

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Visited with a non-vegan friend. - Edit

Visited with a non-vegan for wing night and he loved it. I've been here a few times and have loved it every time

Pros: all vegan lots of options

Cons: can't think of any

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Alright - Edit

My family and I went out to eat here some time ago, and have not returned. We were super excited to try this place out as we had heard that the owner had formerly been running the vegan operation of another restaurant where the vegan food had been pretty fantastic.

When we got there and reviewed the menu, the items seemed much pricier than similar items had been at the other restaurant. Fine, we thought, the food will be amazing!

The food was alright. It wasn't amazing, it wasn't bad, it was just alright. Probably similar to what I'd be able to make at home if I put some effort into it. What was most disappointing to us, though, was that we felt the portions were way smaller than what we'd be used to getting for the price we paid.

Small portions and expensive food did not make for a great vegan experience - family or not. While we have a passion for finding good vegan food and enjoying it, we have not been back and are not eager to get back.

Pros: Beer on tap, Good variety of options

Cons: High prices, Low portions

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Vegan restaurant with good staff - Edit

I don't think we ordered all that well, and we'll be back if we're ever in the area. It's a vegan restaurant with beer on tap, as well as good service.

It happened to be the case, for us this time, that we weren't completely crazy about what we ordered. I didn't like the dressing or the tofu "cheese" (like ricotta) on my Asian salad, though the soy curls were very good and the vegetables were fresh. My husband said his mashed potatoes were not very well prepared, though the rest of his bowl (including crispy seitan and corn) were fine.

I imagine that this is one of those restaurants where we could each eventually settle on a couple of items we like, and learn to order just those. The staff was certainly efficient and pleasant, and the atmosphere was fairly good.

Pros: Not bad food, Good staff, Pleasant environment

Cons: Some items not to our liking

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Two Thumbs Up - Edit

My daughter and I dined at Root by chance. We were waiting at a restaurant down the street and I looked up and saw a sign for Root. The sign said 'vegan' and so I went and got my vegan daughter. She had the Avocado Ruben and I had the Pesto Pasta. Both meals were very good and get two thumbs up. In fact, we ordered two of the Rubens to go. There were quite a number of options which made it hard for me to choose. I will definitely return if and when I return to Lancaster.

Updated from previous review on 2017-04-30

Pros: Quite a few choices

Cons: We had to wait a few minutes for service

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Quite disappointed - Edit

We have been looking forward to eating here for a few weeks. It has a cute storefront on a quaint street. Good luck finding parking. We parked 1/4 mile away after circling the streets for 30 minutes. The interior is cute and clean. It looks like a place you'd be seated at, and even though everyone who worked there stared at us standing at the front, no one told us to seat ourselves. After several regulars came in and sat down, we did the same. Place was about half full. Service was painfully slow. The Mexican sweet potato app was AMAZING, until they cleared our table and took what we hadn't eaten yet away! We were so upset!!! But we let it go because we were certain the rest of our meal would be just as tasty. Boy, were we wrong. Got the Big Mic (vegan big mac). Tasted like fat chunks of seitan on a thick bun with no sauce. It came with fries, but they're more like sticks. There is no potato to the fry. Also got the portobello french dip. The bread was perfect but they don't know how to season food. Their seasoning is to load on the salt. Bleck. Came with fries (aka sticks). Didn't see our waitress for a good 30 minutes (nothing to quench our thirst after eating the salt infused french dip), so we asked another waiter for refills. Asked yet another waiter for dessert. They only had 1 slice of cake and stawberry mousse left, so we went without. We wanted The Big Mic boxed up to take home and never saw our food again. It was thrown away! Still wondering what the heck happened to our waitress, as she was never seen again. Our plan was to order more food and eat it at the hotel later that night, and were syked to do that. Obviously decided against it and now it's late and we're hungry with no other vegan options close by. Ruined our night.

Pros: Cute place, Reasonably priced

Cons: Learn how to cook, not just how to veganize dishes, Need to take waitressing 101 classes, They threw away food I paid for (twice!)

1 Response
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DannyRebel 12 May 2017 - You should be assertive to anyone taking your unfinished food away.
There is nothing they can do about parking in a city. Foot traffic is primary. A quarter-mile really isn't that far unless it is in over a quarter-foot of snow.
I very much empathize with confusion at many restaurants whether to seat oneself or even how to make payment (at table or walk-up).
It also sucks that a waitress may have gone off-duty in the middle of your meal without considerate transfer to another server.
With the overall combination of displeasure, I would have asked to speak to the manager on duty. You might have received the last of that cake and mousse complimentary or comped for something that was thrown out or not tasty.  


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My first vegan restaurant experience - Edit

And boy what a good foot I started off on. Love the size of the menu as well as everything I ordered. I only wish I had more room in my tum to stuff with more dishes. Guess I'll just have to go back.

Pros: Menu size, Variety of food, Delicious

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My favorite downtown restaurant - Edit

Great food, great service. Highly recommend!

Pros: Food, Service , Atmosphere

Cons: None

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meh - Edit

came back here for the 2nd time knowing I would be disappointed by the subpar food and I was. probably wont come back unless I'm as desperate as I was the 2nd time.

Cons: flavorless.

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Great Food and atmosphere - Edit

I was visiting Lancaster and committed to a whole food plant based lifestyle. Root was a pleasant discovery. The atmosphere is pleasant, the staff friendly and the food was fantastic. I had the potato curry dish and it was great! Let's keep them in business!

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Noodles with tofue - Edit

I thought that the rice noodles with tofu was really good and flavorful however it was pretty oily so it was definitely not low in fat. They do not have a vast array of options on their menu, but it was pretty good. I agree with other reviews that they do not embrace whole food plant based dishes and many options are vegan substitutes when they could be more creative and not using those substitutes but it was pretty good!

Pros: nice enviroment, friendly staff

Cons: many fake substitutes

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Great service, average food - Edit

I have been to root a few times and I really wanted it to be my favorite place since the vegan food in this area is very limited. I was happy with the attentive and friendly service but the food didn't wow me. As a vegan foodie I was hoping for more, maybe I'm just picky. The one time I ordered squash with quinoa it was burnt and very salty. Some of the other dishes didn't have much flavor. The apps are usually not too bad.
My other limitation with the menu was the amount of "fake" meat and cheese options which I'm not a fan of. I have been a vegan for quite a few years and just don't like meat and dairy so I don't like any of the alternatives but I understand that they also try to cater to none-vegan customers who want to try plant based food. Over all the food was not bad, just not anything I wouldn't attempt to cook at home and that's usually what I look for when I go out to eat.

Pros: friendly staff and owner, all vegan food

Cons: average food, loud music

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Just what we were looking for. - Edit

This place was awesome. We really wanted a burger or a sandwich and this place had both. Love it and will return anytime I'm in PA.

Pros: Lots of options, all of them vegan.

Cons: None

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Wonderful over all experience - Edit

We tend to hit new places hard, ordering a bunch of different apps and entrees, with the menu frequently changing at this place, we are looking to returning soon. Ordered the stuffed mushrooms a smokey delight, "Ricotta" calzone and stuffed shells made us yearn for more. More seasoning and thought was needed on the Asian Style Spring Rolls and the Taco Mac & cheese was far from cheesy experience I wanted. Being the only Vegan place in town stake your claim, make it great so even the non veg heads will flock in!

Pros: Attentive Staff, Ever changing menu, Fairly priced / Good portions

Cons: Under seasoned

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Definitely Not Bar Food - Edit

Entering Root for the first time you may be confused by the tasteful spartan-industrial interior which gives a hip upscale vibe; yet the four large flat screens broadcasting different sporting shows behind the bar feels like a neighborhood watering hole. The friendly wait staff immediately makes you feel welcome and comfortable, and when you are seated Rob Garpstas, the owner of this unique and wonderful restaurant, comes over to greet you. Once you peruse the menu, observe the plates at the other tables, and witness others enjoying their food, you realize that you are at a place that takes vegan cuisine seriously.
We started with an appetizer of Tofu Mojo De Ajo - which was flash fried tofu with an orange garlic sauce that was both subtle and spicy. For the main course my wife enjoyed a thick and complex White bean and Mushroom Stew - with carrots, celery, mushrooms, white beans and kale. It was served with a delicious bread that is locally baked. I ordered the Lime Curry Tofu - tofu, zucchini and red peppers in a coconut lime curry sauce served over rice noodles that complimented the stew. The portions were large and the presentation was artful, not what one would expect from “bar food.” All options are vegan and the menu changes every four to six weeks. For dessert we enjoyed three locally made cupcakes: lemon, almond, and double chocolate.
Prices are very reasonable. Rob and his staff checked on us throughout the meal, but we felt that we were family rather than customers. If we lived in Lancaster this would be our favorite “go to” restaurant.

Pros: Delicious vegan options, Friendly service, Reasonable prices

Cons: No non-alcoholic beer

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solid - Edit

This place is pretty good, and an all vegan place is hard to come by in the area so it is much appreciated. I really loved the atmosphere, it's a really cute place in a nice area, and well decorated inside. I wish that the menu had more options; most seemed to revolve around making traditionally meat dishes vegan besides embracing the more creative, vegetable side of veganism. The food was good, nothing to brag about really but it did the trick. Service was really great, just wish they embraced more of the earthy, veggie, soy etc vegan side!

Pros: service , atmosphere

Cons: smaller menu

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I really wanted to like this place... - Edit

Maybe it's because I'm spoiled from living in Philadelphia, but my husband and I were extremely disappointed by the food here. We scheduled a vacation at a Wolf Preserve B&B in Lititz, and I could not wait to drive about 30 minutes away just to try the food at Lancaster's only vegan restaurant. We ordered the seitan wings as an appetizer, which were as hard as rocks and really deep fried beyond the point of tastiness. There was no liquid left in them, and as someone who makes mediocre seitan at home, I was so disappointed that mine was better than theirs. Then my husband got the BBQ bean wrap per the server's recommendation, and I got the BBQ jackfruit calzone. I was really excited to try jackfruit, but this was just bland, and the puff pastry must've been one of the ones I buy from Whole Foods. The bean wrap was okay, but again, nothing to write home about. I wanted to love this place, and I always am excited to find and support new vegan restaurants, but as my husband said, this tastes like bad vegan bar food that was trying to be non-vegan. Rather than making so many fake meats and fried foods, they need to embrace veggies/tofu and create authentic, vegetable-based vegan dishes rather than overly fried and poorly flavored foods.

Pros: glad it's totally vegan

Cons: bad food

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