Food & Drink

Rooted Rotisserie Hatches in SoWeBo

To replicate the flavors they experienced on their honeymoon in Paris, Joseph and Amanda Burton opened their own restaurant in historic Hollins Market.
—Photography by Justin Tsucalas

When Joseph and Amanda Burton got married in October 2020 at the height of the pandemic, it meant that a honeymoon immediately following their wedding was out of the question. But a year later, the couple (who met while in cooking school at the Baltimore International College) were finally able to celebrate their nuptials in Paris—and it was life-changing.

While exploring the famed open-air Marché Bastille, Joseph (a classically French-trained chef) and Amanda (who worked in sales for Marriott) came across a rotisserie chicken stand. “We purchased half a chicken from the rotisserie guy, and he cut it with scissors,” says Joseph. “We sat in the lobby of our hotel and ate it. For years, I’d been hearing chefs say that the chicken in Europe tastes totally different than the chicken here. I finally understood—it was the best chicken I’d ever tasted.”

When the couple returned stateside, they decided to replicate what they ate in Paris by opening their own rotisserie restaurant, Rooted Rotisserie, in the historic Hollins Market neighborhood.

“This is a concept in Baltimore that’s lacking,” says Joseph. “With my background in classical French cuisine, I knew the techniques and I know French flavor—the key is to make a really rich brine and let it rest in the brine for 24 to 48 hours.”

How did you come up with the name for the restaurant?
Amanda Burton: Joe likes farms, and he likes to plant things. He is an authentic chef who likes to use authentic ingredients. We are rooted in faith, rooted in community, and rooted in hospitality. Being rooted became our core value and suited the rotisserie really well.

How did come to settle on this space?
AB: One of our clients who bought dinners from us during the pandemic worked construction in the area and told us to check it out. We thought a restaurant was a big endeavor. But when we saw the space, we fell in love with the brick arches and brick floor. It lent itself perfectly to French fare and looked as historic as the streets in Paris.

How did you learn to cook?
Joseph Burton: I spent a lot of time with my great-aunt, Mary Lee Felton. She had garden plots at Druid Hill Park. After school, we’d weed, plant, and harvest vegetables and then make different soups at her home. Whatever she didn’t use, she’d deliver to a different family member’s home. A kid that age wants to run around with friends and doesn’t want to garden and make soup. I didn’t enjoy it at the time, but I learned a wealth of information that has helped me later in life.

Tell me about the menu.
JB: I wanted the menu to feel very French and family-oriented. I wanted it to feel homey in a sense that maybe you’re going to your well-travelled grandma’s house for the holidays. The menu I came up with is the French classics, the duck confit in confit potatoes, the braised short rib, and the rotisserie chicken.

What did you want the space to feel like?
JB: I wanted it to feel like you’re coming to my family’s dining room. My aunt is at the helm of this place—she’s what sparked joy at a very early age in my culinary career. We’ve incorporated loads of pictures of her throughout the restaurant to allow her to be there and allow guests to see her.

AB: We created an ancestry wall with photos of our parents and grandparents. It was important to have them watching over us.