Hometown boy in running for prestigious Chef of the Year award

Chef James Regato (photo courtesy theroot.com)
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rootCount me among those excited that The Root Restaurant & Bar is opening a location in downtown Howell, within walking distance of my home.

If you’ve eaten at The Root, you understand my excitement. If you haven’t, well, just let me say you’ve got a lot to which to look forward.

So, how wonderful is The Root?

Operating at M-59 and Elizabeth Lake Road in White Lake, The Root delights diners by serving creative dishes prepared with the finest in local, natural ingredients. The atmosphere is family-friendly upscale and casually elegant. Servers are knowledgeable and seem genuinely excited to be working there.

Chef James Rigato (photo courtesy therootrestaurant.com)
Chef James Rigato (photo courtesy therootrestaurant.com)

Its executive chef — James Rigato, a Howell High School grad — is the only chef from Michigan nominated for Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” award for the Great Lakes Region. (Voting in the competition ends on Monday, so if the spirit moves you, consider casting a vote for Rigato.)

The restaurant was recently named the 2012 Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Freep Press.

And folks I know who’ve eaten there think nothing of traveling what’s nearly 30 miles from my house to White Lake for lunch or dinner.

The Root opening in downtown Howell is a significant leap forward for the area, which has long looked with envy on the restaurants opening to its east. While there are plenty of good restaurants in downtown Howell, none has the culinary star power of Chelsea’s Common Grill, or Fenton’s French Laundry.

Soon, downtown Howell will have The Root.

The restaurant will be located in the Heart of Howell project currently under way on Grand River Avenue. The new development is uniting the former Spag’s, Thistledown and Swann’s buildings into a co-working space, with The Root on the ground level.

You can check out the Freep video of The Root by clicking here.

About Maria Stuart 82 Articles
Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Maria. This is James Rigato. Thanks for the article. We are not moving forward with Heart of Howell but we are still planning on coming to Howell. We’re working hard to lock something in. Please email me or call the restaurant to talk more. Thanks!

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