Deep roots

Wright State alumna Brooke Solomito provides Madison Township residents with food they love and service they crave

For the past 35 years, J & E Rootbeer’s car hops have served loyal customers foot-long chili dogs and Mug Root Beer at old-fashioned prices every summer except one. The two-story orange-and-white building, located at 6301 Germantown Road near Middletown, closed in 2022 and was eventually sold to two long-time patrons.

“I have memories from when I was a kid,” said Brooke Solomito, a 2022 Wright State University graduate and J & E Rootbeer’s latest co-owner. “My grandpa and I would always order from here.”

One week before graduating from Wright State with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership, Solomito hosted a grand opening for J & E Rootbeer after purchasing the Madison Township restaurant with her sister Courtney Vitori in December 2022.

“This is the biggest thing that has happened to me other than graduating from Wright State,” said Solomito.

She said they have only made a few changes to the original menu. Customers now can order freshly squeezed lemonade and a J & E Barbecue Bacon Burger, both of which appear with several Cincinnati sports-themed milkshakes, and a pizza pocket on the special’s menu.

“The kids love it, we love it. The food is always fresh and fast,” said Rick Coning, who often eats at the restaurant with his family.

Solomito and Vitori also opened the stand year-round. The long-time summer food destination now serves food and frosty mugs of root beer during the winter months.

“It’s amazing how many people will come out and support you even when it’s cold,” said Solomito.

Brooke Solomito prepares several foot-long chili dogs for a customer.

Solomito said her experience at Wright State gave her the confidence to succeed as a business owner. Learning leadership skills in a classroom and then implementing them into an organization that employs almost 30 people takes a special type of person who is not only concerned about the bottom line, she said.

“Providing quality food and an environment for the staff to work together is far more important than making money,” she said.

The Journal-News recently recognized J & E Rootbeer as one of the best hot dog stands in Butler County in 2023.

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