Community (and live music) springs to life at Root’d CafeMar 07, 2023 03:33PM ● By Jolene Croasmun
A look inside of the Root’d Cafe. (Jolene Croasmun/City Journals)
It was a cold snowy Tuesday night in Cottonwood Heights but at Root’d Cafe, the live music and food were keeping the patrons warm.
The café, 2577 Bengal Blvd., has been open for three years and is owned by local residents Sean and Allison Steinman. The building was previously a 7-11 convenience store with the original front doors and the beer coolers proof of that before it morphed into various eateries such as Cottonwood Café.
The Adam Fifield Oregon Trio was the instrumental band playing on the heated porch. Owner Sean Steinman joined in with the group and kept the beat by playing the drums.
Other local music acts perform live on weekdays and weekends including the group Two Old Guys. Root’d is a place that supports local live music.
“We have live music every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights along with Saturday and Sunday mornings at brunch and we are open seven days a week,” Sean Steinman said.
Sean Steinman is a serial entrepreneur and owns a development company. “This is a passion project of ours,” Sean Steinman said. “We like to create a community around the city and the state.”
When the Steinmans started out, their goal was to find a presence in their city and grow with it.
Sean Steinman said, “Restaurants are the best way to impact as many people as possible and live music plus breaking bread is the best way to create community.”
The restaurant had a crowd on this weekday evening. Linda and Dano Johnson, who recently moved to Cottonwood Heights, were here to enjoy live music and dinner with friends. “It has good food, good music and a friendly staff,” Linda Johnson said. “I will definitely be back.”
Dano Johnson was enjoying a sandwich and the live music and added with a smile, “It’s a fun place, and I did not even realize it was here.”
Root’d has a shop inside of the cafe that sells their merchandise. Sean Steinman never intended to sell shirts but the idea evolved after the pandemic.
Sean Steinman did not like using business cards at conferences so he designed a rainbow beehive T-shirt with a map of Salt Lake City in the beehive. He printed “Love Your City” on the front of the shirt and put his name and info in the shirt’s tag. The shirt became his business card.
“Love Your City” became Sean Steinman’s motto and this message is written in bold letters on the walls of the cafe and on the merchandise.
Root’d opened in February 2020 and then the pandemic hit the following month, causing it along with many businesses to shut down.
Steinman said, “When we shut down, we had to furlough our servers and so we gave our merchandise to the servers and told them to sell the items and to please keep the proceeds from the sales.”
Steinman wanted to give back to the community during Covid times, and had the idea to make masks and then donate them to the city. The masks said “Love Your City” and “Protect the Hive.”
The masks and shirts were so popular that the Steinmans decided to create merchandise with the same design and sell them at the restaurant. Sean Steinman said, “We support people across Salt Lake City. The rainbow shirts we sell give 100% of the proceeds to Equality Utah.’’
“We support women-owned farms and that is where we get our coffee from. The coffee is roasted here and sold at the restaurant,” Sean Steinman said. Bags of the coffee, Root’d Roasters, are available for purchase in the merchandise area.
The Steinmans also started a food truck called Root’d Roadie that has been serving meals and traveling to other areas of Salt Lake City.
Root’d Cafe is a popular place with the locals and has a dog friendly patio allowing all members of the family to feel included.