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Root Five closes, waterfront site for lease

Root Five, the lakeside restaurant in Hamburg, served its last meals on New Year’s Eve. Owner Dave Root is inviting inquiries from qualified operators.

“Twenty-two years is a long time,” said Root, who took over the building at 4914 Lakeshore Road in 1992. That place burned down, and Root, who was in the construction business, built a new place with a big deck looking out over Lake Erie.

He’s facing relationship problems, but that’s not why he decided to step away, he said. “Twenty-two years standing in a bar, sometimes you just need a break,” he said. “Now is the time.”

Among his motivations are memories of a veteran bartender and friend, Brian McGinty, who died behind the bar last year. He was 57. “I knew him for 20 years,” said Root.

He’s not a restaurateur at heart, Root said, but a construction guy who ended up running a place. “I’ve been muscling through the thing for a long, long time. I turned 60 this year, and I said there are some things I don’t want to regret on that last bed of mine. So I’d rather go do them now.”

He stopped selling gift certificates in December. Patrons can call him at 627-5551 to redeem outstanding ones.

Root’s building has 150 seats inside, and another 150 on the deck in good weather. Bands played in a side room. He said he’s confident he can find someone to take over the place. There’s no replacing the view.

“There are days when a storm would come rolling down the lake, you can see them coming from the west, and just hit the place like a ton of bricks,” Root said. “I’ve had people standing in the dining room with their plates. I’d apologize, and say sorry about this. Some of them would say ‘Well hell, that was the most amazing thing I ever saw.’”

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