There once was a small Cambodian restaurant hidden away at 600 N State of Franklin Rd. It was an obsession of mine. The food was amazing and the people were wonderful. But they unfortunately had to close the restaurant and move on.

That same exact location has now been taken over by a new restaurant, a Vietnamese place called The Roots Vietnamese Restaurant & Coffee. I was quite skeptical going in to try The Roots; how could it compare to the beloved restaurant that once stood there? However, my doubts were quickly put to rest, and I can now safely say The Roots is the absolute “must try” of restaurants in Johnson City.

The Roots features all the mainstay dishes of Vietnamese food, the highlights being the hearty, soup-like pho and the light and flavorful bun.

My personal favorite is the bun, a bowl of vermicelli rice noodles with your choice of meats on top and plenty of vegetables throughout. The meat is delicious no matter what you choose (trust me, I tried them all), and the noodles combine with the light sauce and the vegetables to create a one-of-a-kind dish.

The other focal point at The Roots is the pho, a well-known dish that is served with rice noodles in a delicious broth alongside your choice of beef or chicken. The pho is more or less the ultimate comfort food; there is no way you can eat a bowl of pho without feeling content.

Of course, there’s more to The Roots’ menu than just pho and bun. They offer a selection of coffee and teas, such as Thai tea. They have a number of excellent appetizers as well, though I’d recommend the spring rolls. They also have daily and weekly specials to try, so there’s always something new to taste.

The food can be amazing at a restaurant, but if the service is lacking it can ruin everything else. I’m happy to say that is not the case at The Roots. The staff is all incredibly friendly and helpful. Our server was very personable, making suggestions for us and joking with us. The dining experience was very good, and it only served to enhance the experience.

The food at The Roots is unique and amazing, the service is great, and it’s just right up the road for Milligan students. Give it a try sometime; I promise you won’t regret it.

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