Community, Culture, and Delicious Food and Cocktails: A Q&A with Rootstock Staff

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This month on the Rootstock blog, we wanted to feature two of our amazing staff members to share their thoughts about the Rootstock experience that keeps our guests coming back again and again. 

Meet Rootstock staff members Bram Farmer and Abby Hickey, two of our hardworking, dedicated staff that you might see on any given day when you come in to dine with us. Bram Farmer joined us last year as our Bar Manager, and Abby Hickey has been part of the Rootstock family since we opened our doors as bartender and manager. Learn more about what their favorite dishes are, who they love to serve, and what they love most about our location in Downtown Woodstock! Enjoy! 

How long have you been at Rootstock?

Bram: I’ve been at Rootstock for just over a year, since the beginning of January 2020. (And what a year it’s been!) Currently, I’m the bar manager.

Abby: I have been at Rootstock since their beginning. I was hired in late August 2017, and we opened in September 2017. It’s wild to believe we’re going on 4 years! I am a bartender and manager. I help contribute to an amazing experience for all the guests that come into Rootstock, I work side-by-side with our bar manager Bram Farmer to create delicious cocktails for different events and times of the year, and help find good wines and spirits to bring in.

What do you love most about working at Rootstock? 

Bram: I love the family atmosphere here. My previous work experiences haven’t been so transparent (and were more of a toxic environment), so the unique companionship we have has never gone unnoticed. 

Abby: That’s a tough question, there’s a lot I love about working here, but I would have to say that the community and family I have found is what would be my absolute favorite thing. Anna and Sean have created something very unique; a family within an incredible community that supports local and family-owned businesses. The staff we have here are some of the most beautiful and kind people I have ever met, people who I can count on to help keep what makes Rootstock so great constantly alive. It’s something I am incredibly grateful to be a part of.

What are your favorite types of customers to serve? 

Bram: My favorite customers are the regulars that come in. It’s always nice seeing a community of people come together here, and they do. (The Whiskey Club members aren’t bad either.) 

Abby: I love all of the guests that come in! I have people who I’ve known from before Rootstock that continue to come in to see me, as well as regulars that have been coming in for the last three and a half years. Some regulars I’ve only known for a few months, but it feels much longer. There’s a special feeling about a first-time guest that comes in, unsure of what to order or what wine may pair with the dish they ordered, and that allows me to recommend a glass, and they roll with it and absolutely love it all. It’s the best feeling when they return and remember me by name, asking for more suggestions and recommendations with friends and family in tow, because I helped create such a wonderful experience for them.

What are your favorite dishes? 

Bram: There’s so many to choose from! But I’d have to say that my favorite dishes include the Piquillo peppers, Jicama-avocado salad, and the Roasted chicken breast! As far as favorite cocktails, they include our signature True to our roots, the Reposado Pie, and all the wines!!! I’ve been loving learning about all the whiskeys and wines we have to offer.

Abby: There have been so many amazing dishes I’ve been lucky enough to try because Chef AJ and Jake create some phenomenal stuff in the kitchen. I would have to say my favorite of all time dishes was one of our recent specials, a Salmon Wellington, and oh my gosh was it delicious! Usually, the House-smoked bacon and heirloom tomato salad is my go-to. I’ve never really cared for blue cheese, but the one on that salad is so smooth and creamy! 

As far as cocktails go, I’m a sucker for a classic. The Corpse Reviver would probably be my personal favorite; it’s a Gin-based cocktail with elderflower, lemon, and orange. The Bobo with a Shotgun is also one of my favorites, and it’s been on our menu since we opened.

What do you love about Rootstock being in downtown Woodstock? 

Bram: I love that Woodstock keeps growing! To see the streets filled with energetic people from the community is awesome!

Abby: I love being in downtown Woodstock because it’s such a wonderful and supportive community! There are so many great qualities, restaurants/bars, and shops. I love how they have constantly created so many different experiences, including the Amphitheater–which hosts some amazing free concerts throughout the summer–and the bar crawls that have been such a blast to be a part of. The people here are definitely what makes it special; it’s so nice to see familiar faces constantly supporting local businesses.

What are you most looking forward to with the expansion of Rootstock

Bram: I’m looking forward to the opportunity and ability to grow to offer even more experiences to our guests, and for Rootstock to be the statement building when someone enters downtown Woodstock. Not to mention getting to experience Chef AJ and Chef Jake’s future menus. They do so much with so little right now–I can’t wait to see what they do with a full kitchen!

Abby: I am looking forward to seeing what all we can do when we expand. Rootstock has already created so many amazing things in such a small space, our dinners and tasting events are definitely one of the greatest things we have at Rootstock. I’m really excited to see what we can accomplish with more space. Not only will the space be expanding, but so will the Rootstock family, guests, and staff. The last few years have been so wonderful; I have learned so much from all the people who have come in the doors. I have met so many amazing and wonderful people, many have become like family. I am super grateful to be a part of such a loving and positive place.

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