One of Michigan’s destination restaurants, the Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake has sold to a new owner, the Detroit Free Press reports. The restaurant made famous by chef James Rigato, was bought out by Steve Suser, owner of Sparkies Kitchen and Bar and the Burger Joint.
The Root’s original owner Ed Mamou decided to sell the restaurant in order to focus on his projects in Hazel Park with Rigato including award-winning restaurant Mabel Gray and ice cream stand Doug’s Delight. The restaurant known for its farm-to-table cuisine is expected to remain mostly the same under its new ownership. Suser intends to retain the Root’s current chef Nick Rodgers and the restaurant’s lease has been extended through 2028.
Rigato gained a fierce following during his tenure at the Root. It was named Best New Restaurant by the Free Press’s late restaurant critic Sylvia Rector in 2012 and later received Eater Detroit’s Restaurant of the Year award in 2014 (Rigato also swept the Chef of the Year category). That same year, Rigato appeared on season 12 of Top Chef for his work at the Root. The following year, the chef refocused his attention on Mabel Gray.