Restaurants / Bars

New Unique EaDo Wine Bar Brings 56 Self-Pour Varieties Every Day — Roots Fuses the Old and the High Tech

A Houston Couple's Happy Food and Drinks Retreat is Modeled After a London Favorite

BY // 07.12.22
photography Michael Anthony

Lori Hernandez’s roots run deep in Houston’s historic East End. A native of the area, Hernandez and her partner Paul Siwek (another Houstonian), came home to the Bayou City to open their novel new wine bar called Roots in the part of town she calls home. You’ll find Roots in EaDo at 3107 Leeland Street.

Inspired in part by London’s Vagabond Wine Bar, this duo collaborated to create a self-serve wine bar in Houston with 56 wines poured in one, three or five ounce increments allowing you to try a myriad of varietals, many of which are natural wines, biodynamic and those created by women winemakers. Fusing the old world with the new it’s a chance to try even just a taste of a pricey bottle of Burgundy and Bordeaux or a buzzy style you’ve never tried like a glass of “Pét-Nat” (pétillant naturel). Often riesling and rose wines that are naturally carbonated, bottled during a wine’s initial fermentation where the sugars from the grapes provide the bubbly action.

Here’s the drill: walk into Roots (or reserve ahead if you’re bringing lots of friends) and give your server your ID. (Technically, it’s a private club because this wine bar, housed in a former warehouse, is situated in a school zone.) Next, hand over your plastic, and they’ll turn over theirs in the form of a preloaded key card, which, when inserted into the proper slot, allows you to position your glass beneath your desired wine’s spout and serve yourself a pour.

Of course, you can purchase a full bottle retail (with a 20 percent discount) and enjoy it there or take it home, too. (If you fall for a varietal, it might be a good idea because the sommeliers here only buy a case or so at a time and when it’s gone it might be gone for good.)

Roots Wine Available in 1, 3, 5 Ounce Pours_Courtesy of Michael Anthony (Photo by Michael Anthony)
Roots’ always changing varieties of wine are available in one, three and five ounce pours. Beer and cider are also available. (Photo by Michael Anthony)

Above each wine’s spout is a small, white printed card with tasting notes and even food suggestions, all of which come in handy because wine can only be elevated by good food. Fortunately, Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Andre Garza has happy hour, dinner bites and weekend brunch food covered in a Roots menu built around new American, seasonally driven dishes.

As you might expect, there are glorious cheese options with a go-with to complement it ($8 each), as well as a Wagyu beef tartar served with crisp house-made potato chips ($16) and salmon ceviche ($18). And at brunch, I plead, do not miss Garza’s buttery, creamy heirloom grits and crab ($16) entree. Wednesday nights brings “birds and bubbles” — half of a fried chicken with a side of hot honey, sorghum glazed buttermilk biscuits and a bottle of bubbly for $30.

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Roots is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 4 pm to midnight, Saturdays from 11 am to midnight and Sundays from 11 am to 10 pm. It is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

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