Ice cream first, then the meal. No, I’m not talking about a dinner party planned by an 8-year-old. I’m talking about the order in which Eliza Florian launched her two Granby eateries in the century-old building that used to be the town’s general store.
Grass Roots Ice Cream opened in 2013, and has been lauded ever since for its unusual, innovative flavors. Florian, originally from Southington, put down even more roots in Granby this past November when she and husband, Lee, expanded their space and added Deep Roots Street Food. The menu conjures up the feeling of being at a food truck festival, except you don’t have to wait in line 30 minutes for each item you’re craving.
There’s grilled cheese, hot dogs and New England poutine in addition to banh mi, falafel and the Turkish Berliner wrap — simple and complex, local and global. But the inspiration for the concept didn’t come while standing in line at a food truck. It was simply a gift. An ancestry DNA test gift from Lee, to be exact. “That was what sort of clinched it for me,” Florian says. “All these amazing cultures are in my blood and in my heritage, and I started researching the foods from those areas. And I got this idea that street food is really vintage.”
“Ever-evolving menu” is written at the top of the page of Deep Roots’ offerings, and specials include a grilled cheese, potato and lemonade of the day. Everything we enjoyed (and we enjoyed everything) was fresh, vibrant and packed with flavor, with the added bonus of being able to chow down comfortably in an inviting open space instead of standing in a crowded parking lot. The interior has the appearance of a quaint Vermont cafe, with beautiful woodwork reclaimed from the demolition that was necessary to incorporate Deep Roots into the building. Shelves at the ordering counter are from the original general store.
The Turkish Berliner — a minced beef and lamb wrap — and the banh mi (both $10) are light, refreshing sandwiches that still satisfy. Deep Roots’ falafel ($4.50 for 4) is a deep-fried delight and the house chili and cheese waffle fries ($10.50) need no further description if that’s your thing. Some say vintage, some say comfort food, but there’s definitely something for everyone. A future visit will most certainly begin with the New England poutine ($13) — waffle fries topped with chowder, bacon, cheese and scallion.
This is the first winter the creamery has remained open, and when “ice cream” weather rolls back into the state it’ll be the first time Florian fronts two restaurants at full capacity. She says traffic has been great at the ice cream shop and loyal customers from both Massachusetts and Connecticut can’t stay away. “They were coming last year from those distances just for ice cream, so I hope we can feed ’em too,” Florian says. “But if they don’t, what’s nice about it is, even if [Deep Roots] doesn’t have as much traffic as the ice cream shop, it holds us year round. It keeps us functioning, and lets me give full-time jobs to people.”