July 19, 2018
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  • Baltimore Ravens fans young and old came to The Office in December 2017 to meet kicker Justin Tucker. 6. Nine days after having a double mastectomy, general manager Sarah Root was back at The Office Bar & Grill.
    File Photo
    Baltimore Ravens fans young and old came to The Office in December 2017 to meet kicker Justin Tucker. 6. Nine days after having a double mastectomy, general manager Sarah Root was back at The Office Bar & Grill.
  • Baltimore Ravens fans young and old came to The Office in December 2017 to meet kicker Justin Tucker. 6. Nine days after having a double mastectomy, general manager Sarah Root was back at The Office Bar & Grill.
    File photo
    Baltimore Ravens fans young and old came to The Office in December 2017 to meet kicker Justin Tucker. 6. Nine days after having a double mastectomy, general manager Sarah Root was back at The Office Bar & Grill.
  • Baltimore Ravens fans young and old came to The Office in December 2017 to meet kicker Justin Tucker. 6. Nine days after having a double mastectomy, general manager Sarah Root was back at The Office Bar & Grill.
    File Photo
    Baltimore Ravens fans young and old came to The Office in December 2017 to meet kicker Justin Tucker. 6. Nine days after having a double mastectomy, general manager Sarah Root was back at The Office Bar & Grill.

For Five Years, The Office Has Put Its Stamp On Pasadena

Zach Sparks
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View Bio
February 21, 2018

When Sarah Root was 8 or 9 years old, she and her sisters strung birthday signs around The Wheel Inn to celebrate their mom’s 40th birthday. The Wheel Inn eventually became Lightning Jack's and then Billy V's, but just over five years ago, that location became The Office Bar & Grill, a place where Root sees dozens of people she considers family every day.

“Everybody knows everybody,” said Root, emphasizing that the people aren’t just travelers passing through; they’re loyal patrons.

Root — formerly known as Sarah Hoover — became general manager at The Office in January 2013, a few months after the restaurant was unveiled, marking the return of the Kahrs family, longtime owners of the property. Root’s uncle, Frank Kahrs, partnered with Chuck Hilditch, Steve Dorsey and Robert Dudley to give the space a makeover and a new name.

Assistant manager Rob Wilt later revamped the menu. “It was a one-side, one-page menu and now it’s full, blown-out restaurant-style menu,” Root said.

Also important to the renovation was the appearance. “The concept was not to make it look so dungeon-y and dark, and instead make it brighter,” Root said of the initial renovation. “It’s deceiving because outside, it’s all brick.”

The Office has become a bright spot for many patrons. Not only does it offer food, drink and a space to socialize, but it’s been a life preserver, keeping Pasadena residents afloat when they face monumental life struggles.

That proved to be true when they held Dancing with Dennis to support a friend who was plagued by a sudden stroke. That proved to be true when they held Rockin’ for Ronnie when another friend came down with pneumonia. And it again proved to be true when Root, nine days after having double mastectomy surgery, met with Billy and Jessica Chamberlain to talk about a fundraiser for their 2-year-old daughter who had Stage 4 neuroblastoma.

Those are some of the glum circumstances that unified the staff and customers, but they’ve had plenty of great times, too. Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker visited The Office to sign autographs this past December. Former 98 Rock morning show host Mickey Cucchiella performed standup comedy at The Office in 2013 as part of a fundraiser organized by Nicole Bouler, the assistant manager at the time. The money helped Bouler send a local kid to Atlantis resort in the Bahamas to swim with dolphins as part of a Make-A-Wish.

In years past, lucky patrons served as “guest bartenders” on the first Monday of the month, with all of their tips going to a charity of their choosing. One of those guest bartenders, Root’s dad, chose Locks of Love. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Wounded Warrior Project were among the other beneficiaries.

“Everything that we make goes back to the restaurant or back to the customers,” Root said.

The Office also has its signature event, the Toys for ‘Dena Bike Run, which raises money each year to bring Christmas to families that otherwise might not have much to celebrate. Last year, the restaurant provided six families with $300 Lauer’s gift cards and presents. This year’s event is set for Saturday, November 3.

As the staff prepares for another fundraiser, Cruisin’ For A Cure on April 7, Root remarked how grateful she is to be surrounded by charitable customers.

Beyond that, what makes The Office so special? It’s the friendships, Root said. When she was married in May 2016, two members of the wedding party were coworkers she met at The Office.

The sense of camaraderie can best be summarized by an anecdote.

“When we have NFL games on and they play the national anthem, every person is standing. Every hat is off a head,” Root said. “You could hear a pin drop. I’m proud that we give off that vibe, and I’m proud to be part of such a good community.”

Want to learn more about upcoming events? Visit www.officebargrill.com, look for “The Office Bar & Grill” on Facebook or stop by 2801 Mountain Road in Pasadena.


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