Roof to Table: 10 Rooftop Restaurant Gardens

Bachelor-Farmer-RooftopHappy Earth Day! In honor of the 44th year of putting the green back into the globe, we present 10 restaurants with their own rooftop gardens. Diners can savor the super-freshly grown flavor just hours after these hyper-local fruits, vegetables, and herbs were harvested by restaurant staffers. While rooftop gardens cannot provide a restaurant with all of its produce (Yet!), the culinary pros at these restaurants find inspiration from and clever uses for everything they are able to sow.

1. The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

It’s only fitting that a restaurant with farmer in its name have a microfarm on its roof. Located in a lovingly refurbished warehouse, the Bachelor Farmer team grows herbs and hearty greens on their first-of-its-kind Twin Cities rooftop garden. Relying on containers, they use a series of vessels for the plants they nurture, including blue kiddie pools. Serving Nordic cuisine, The Bachelor Farmer carefully sources additional produce from area farms. Its rooftop farm dates back to the restaurant’s opening in 2011.

2. Bastille Cafe & Bar, Seattle, Washington

Bastille restaurant has one of the most successful and copied rooftop gardens in the country. Growing an impressive 12-15% of the produce and herbs served at the eatery in 2,500 square feet of space, Jason Stoneburner shared that they find great success “with various heirloom varieties of radish, carrots, turnips and arugula. These staples grow apace and are easy to cultivate.We do experiment with lesser known greens, veggies and flowers such as spilanthes, shunkyo radish, curry plant, ice plant, anise hyssop and winter density romaine. Just to name a few.” Diners can tour the garden, which was installed in 2009, during the high season by appointment for $10, which includes a tasty Pimms Cup cocktail.

3. Cedar, Washington, D.C.

Atop Cedar in the nation’s capital, chef Aaron McCloud sows a healthy portion of the produce that diners at his ‘field and stream meets urban’ restaurant. He favors herbs, tomatoes, and squash, but he also grows and serves edible flowers, including marigolds. “Marigolds are really pretty, but they have this nice little aromatic bite that I think enhance a salad or a garnish — that works really well,” he said.

4. flour + water, San Francisco, California

As Thomas McNaughton, David White, and David Steele were putting pizza on the map in San Francisco, they were also raising the roof — with a garden. With just 450 square feet, they revealed that they are able to source 5 percent of flour + water’s produce from the garden. There is also a beehive, and the resulting honey finds its way into dishes as well. Sister restaurant Central Kitchen also boasts a rooftop garden, where artichokes, peas, young favas, foraged greens and herbs are grown.

5. Fountain at The Four Seasons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Even the folks at the swanky Four Seasons aren’t immune to the charms of digging in the dirt. These early-adopters added a rooftop garden in 2009. Eight stories above the city, in nine raised beds, Fountain staffers grow herbs, peas, bok choi, peppers, and more, all of which find their way into the dishes served at the restaurant. The green doesn’t end there, tho’. The Four Seasons also composts 128 tons annually of leftovers (off-site) and uses the end product to fertilize the beds and the grounds of the hotel.

6. Noble Rot, Portland, Oregon

Their website proclaims, “The garden is the soul at Noble Rot in Portland.” Even with that noble and fuzzy statement, though, these horticultural-culinary mad scientists take a rather mercenary approach to their garden. That which does not thrive does not stick around for long. And, as they continue to tinker with what they sow, they do the same with their systems, learning as they grow (or not). A whopping 3,000 square-feet, irrigated by an aquifer beneath the building, the garden provides menu items almost year-round (indicated in capital letters on the Noble Rot menu). There are free garden tours on Tuesdays at 5:00PM.

Continue Reading

Queen Seeks Chef; Farm-to-Table Restaurants Now Just Called Restaurants + More News

BreadFood and dining news from around the web and the world…

* Can you cook dishes fit for the Queen? She’s looking for a new chef. [Daily Mail]

* Bread crimes. They’re a real thing. [Calgary Herald]

* Is saying ‘farm-to-table restaurant’ redundant? Possibly — because most restaurants are sourcing from local farms. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

* Chef: The Movie. Jon Favreau is set to do for chefs what he did for struggling actors and hipsters with Swingers. [Indie Wire]

* Are celebrity chefs making you fat? Maybe? [Time]Continue Reading

The End of Farm-to-Table; Moms to Take Back Grilled Cheese from Restaurants; A Day in the Busy Life of Danny Meyer; Babies Are Diners, Too; Hef Planks at Dinner

Ari Gold reacts to being told the restaurant has run out of the night's specials.

Dining and food news you need to know…

* And you don’t stop. At least not if you’re restaurateur Danny Meyer. Be warned: Just reading about everything he does will make you feel tired. And also, wildly under-accomplished. [The New York Times]

* Awww, shucks. Friday is National Oyster Day. [The Street]

* Invasion of the grilled cheese snatchers. Restaurants have wrested an American classic from moms’ hands — and Josh Ozersky thinks it’s time they took it back. [TIME]

* This is how the farm-to-table movement ends. Not with a bang, but with a snicker. [Macleans]

* What vintage is that apple juice? Baby food finds its way onto restaurant menus. [WSJ]

* The Doubles. Unlike Dostoevsky’s The Double, though, these chef lookalikes are equally successful. [Eater NY]

* Meet Ari Gold’s newest nemesis. Bobby Flay — or at least his name — gets a close up on Entourage. [GrubStreet LA]

* Speaking of close-ups. Here are six actual celeb chef cameos that are, interestingly, a lot more boring than Flay’s faux cameo. Go figure. [Forbes]

* Can a restaurant owner drink at his own bar? Heck, yes! Isn’t that the whole point of owning a restaurant? Okay, maybe that’s just one of them. But, still. [The New York Times]

* Why Jacques Pepin rules. He’s all about the technique, not his own ego. [Mercury News]

* Single diners in Singapore need OpenTable. Who wants to use tissue packets to save a seat? [AsiaOne]

Continue Reading

Rob Kinneen of Orso Talks Sustainable Sourcing in Alaska with The Cultivated Plate

This week, we visit with Rob Kinneen, executive chef at ORSO in Anchorage, Alaska. Born and bred in Alaska, when the culinary arts beckoned, Kinneen headed to Hyde Park, New York, to hone his skills at the Culinary Institute of America. After school, he remained in the lower 48, cooking first in the Big Easy and then North Carolina. Even though Alaska has a reputation for self-sufficiency, the state imports 97% of its food, a statistic that makes Kinneen cringe. Now a champion of Alaska’s producers, Kinneen is working hard to make sure the Last Frontier isn’t the last state to embrace sustainability.

Watch as Chef Kinneen opens up to OpenTable about the agony and the ecstasy of trying to source responsibly in the 49th state.

Continue Reading