Rising Star Restaurateur Greg Root of Defined Hospitality - Biography

Philadelphia, PA

March 2019

As a high schooler in Oreland, Pennsylvania, Greg Root took a part-time job as a caddy at a country club. After caddying for a regular who owned a restaurant franchise in the area, Root was enamored with working in the restaurant business. A few years after graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, Root landed his first job in the business as a manager for Stephen Starr’s restaurant Jones. He continued working his way up the organization, eventually becoming director of operations after serving as general manager at several of the group’s restaurants.

Root ended up meeting Nick Kennedy at a restaurant in town, a classically trained chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Kennedy had spent 14 years in fine-dining restaurants, including Jean-Georges and Del Posto in New York City, and the Inn at Little Washington in Northern Virginia. Kennedy had recently moved to Philadelphia with his family and found that both he and Root were ready to try their hand at owning and operating their own restaurant. 

The duo formed a partnership along with Nathalie Richan, owner and operator of CafĂ© La Maude, and developer Roland Kassis, to open Root, a casual restaurant and wine bar in Fishtown in 2016. In 2018, they pivoted Root into R&D, a sultry cocktail bar, and opened Suraya, a Lebanese restaurant and cafe, which was named “Best New Restaurant of 2018” by Philadelphia Magazine. The team recently opened Pizza Beddia with Joe Beddia, and up next, they have concepts slated for the Center City neighborhood with new Defined Hospitality partner, Al Lucas.