The current trend of plant-based menus is most likely sticking around for a while. With this in mind, Hillsdale is now home to Rockin’ Roots, a plant-based café, coffee shop, and juice bar. Executive Chef Michael Merida has a personal connection to the space, which folks may previously know as Fashion Camp; his daughter was a student there.
“When I knew [the building] was going to be available, I knew this would be the right place for us,” he says. He also believes the spot is ideal because he lives in the next town over. In addition, Rockin’ Roots is close to the Hillsdale train station, which offers plenty of visibility.
So What Should I Call You?
As it turns out, coming up with the Rockin’ Roots name was a challenge. But lucky for Michael, another member of the Merida family has a creative mind. “After coming up with 100 different names, my youngest daughter, Chloe, blurted out Rockin’ Roots,” says Michael. “I thought it was a great strong name that fit the brand in its entirety.”
The 16-seat shop offers a calm, cool, and chic vibe while serving handcrafted cold-pressed juices. You can also order smoothies, acai bowls, and coffee; along with a fresh selection of salads, soups, baked goods, steel-cut oatmeal bowls and more.
The menu is pure and clean, using mostly organic ingredients from local farms and sustainable sources. In fact, all fruit purees, coconut yogurt, nut butter, and nut milks are made in house daily. The goal is to prepare super nutritious food that tastes great, while using eco-friendly packaging. Rockin’ Roots aims to inspire people to live their healthiest life by serving them real food with no chemicals.
Merida is an award-winning chef with an active hand in some of New Jersey’s current top restaurants. His experience comes from some of the world’s best restaurants; including The Fat Duck (UK), El Bulli (Spain), Ryu Gin (Japan) and Le Bernadin (New York). Closer to home, he’s also been at Mezza in Westwood and Cravings Tapas Bistro in Ridgewood. He is currently both a partner and chef at Montclair Social Club as well.
A Menu To Root For
For breakfast, try a “Farmhouse” bowl or “One Fine Day” bowl. If oatmeal is your thing, try the “PB&H” or “Berry Sweet” options. Otherwise, acai bowl options include the Acai Mango bowl while the “Tropical Berry Bowl” is one of their Pitaya bowls. They offer chef bowls, too, like the “Crispy Bowl” with falafels and an “Asian Bowl” with kimchi. Click here to see the full menu.
As for the drinks, they sell hot beverages like coffee, espresso, latte, cappuccino, and chai. Meanwhile, iced drink options include iced lattes or iced mocha. But the real highlight at Rockin’ Roots is the smoothie menu, with many items to choose from. The “Berry Delicious” is a top pick, as is the “Passion By Nature” but there is one Merida raves about; “I Like My Coffee With Dates and Cream” contains almond milk, nitro brew coffee, cacao, dates, hemp, and sea salt. “All our smoothies are well-crafted cocktails with a lot of attention to flavor,” he says.
The cold-press juices are also a big talking point for patrons. Adults love the “Cold Kicker” while kids go wild for “Chloe’s Crazy Juice” and “Chelsea’s Explosion.”
Rockin’ Roots plans to serve weekly chef tasting menus for up to 25 guests on Fridays and Saturdays. Merida says this seven-course menu will change weekly, but will interest vegetarians, vegans, and Pescatarians.
All Photos: © Rockin’ Roots / Website