Cozy little tables with a bouquet of fresh flowers stand in every corner of the Root Cellar Cafe. Vibrant paintings don every wall, catching the eyes of patrons. All the while, the aroma of fresh ingredients and savory dishes fills the intimate atmosphere.
This is the environment of the Root Cellar Cafe and Brewery, picked as the best date spot in San Marcos.
The Root Cellar was established in 2005. It serves families, college kids and San Marcos citizens of all sorts. It is specifically known as a good date spot.
Megan Schey said she always walked past it, wondering what the little cafe was like. Only a few weekends ago she and her boyfriend visited for a date.
“It’s (a) really down-to-earth place, almost like a European side restaurant,” said Schey, psychology freshman. “They seated us immediately, and the food was really yummy. I’m so glad we stopped in and found a new date spot.”
Schey had a twist on penne pesto pasta, while her date dove into a steak, which he called “the best steak ever.”
The recipes are all unique to the Root Cellar. All dishes and brewed drinks are created from scratch. For example, cooks batter and bake potato wedges instead of pulling out a frozen bag and deep-frying them.
Jayme Starrak, manager of the Root Cellar, said the staff looks for those first dates or anniversaries, tailoring the service to make it an enjoyable night for the couple.
“If we can tell it’s a first date, we let them do all the talking. If it’s, say, a matured relationship, then we know they’ll want some entertainment,” Starrak said. “Most of us who work here are romantics, and we want people to have the best experience possible.”
To make the date even more special, Starrak suggested patrons make reservations. While it’s not required, it does start the date right.
“Doing so will take the small waiting time out of the picture. Plus, you’ll be showing your date you planned it out. Making the girl feel special is key,” Starrak said. “Also, go all out. We always have deals on our Facebook page to bring the price down. So go ahead, wine and dine her.”
The combination of freshly cooked food, an intimate atmosphere and customized service has led to many questions popping up over the years, including the one most ladies are dying to hear.
“We’ve had about two handfuls of engagements over the years,” Starrak said. “Sometimes they’re big and elaborate plans, or we’ll walk to their table and notice a ring that wasn’t there before. Sometimes people will ask us to help stage something, and we do everything possible to make it happen.”
In one engagement setup, a gentleman asked to buy an end table. After further intrigue, the man revealed it was the table where he and his soon-to-be-fiancee had their first date. The restaurant let him buy it and helped stage the question.
And, of course, the answer was yes.