The landscape of your local restaurant is evolving, yet staying comfortably familiar. Interested in the hippest trend of food establishments? Local flair and flavor with focus on native influences. Restaurants are incorporating sustainable design for a tastier, home-grown future.
Of recent years, the trend was to create an environment that transported the patron to an “authentic” locale. For example, the relentless theme for Italian restaurants was to depict imagery of Tuscany, a far away and exotic destination to capture the imagination and lure the patron. Nowadays, the trend is to simplify and incorporate what is close to home, utilizing and embracing the style, personality and influence of the existing neighborhood. Building materials are being repurposed for the interior structure with finishes such as reclaimed wood doors, lighting fixtures, exposed brick walls and beams. To compliment these materials, manufacturers offer greener alternatives such as greensolution fabrics and recycled carpeting. Our own Sherwin-Williams Harmony is a zero-VOC paint suitable for new construction and occupied spaces.
The non-profit group, Green Restaurant Association (GRA), offers convenient and cost-effective solutions to help the restaurant industry achieve better environmental practices. New York City’s Natural History museum, constructed a more natural lower level food court. Wind energy provides a supplement to conventional electricity. The GRA awarded the new space a three out of four star ranking, exclaiming “a solid mark for a place serving fried ‘dinosaur’ chicken tenders.” Bottled water is unavailable, lowering the implications of plastic. Containers such as cups and plates are made out of a biodegradable material originating from sugar cane. Pretty sweet!
The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, Ohio maries the farm to the city with fresh local menu items. The restaurant was built in the historical Cort Building located in the downtown East 4th neighborhood. Their website greenhousetavern.com, describes Chef Jonathon Sawyer’s passion and commitment to preservation.“Reusing the neighborhood’s building stock also preserves the precious integrity of vintage Cleveland architecture. Preserving that living history is as important as progress into a better future.” Next plan: a rooftop garden.
Exteriors, such as rooftops, or even parking lots, are being appropriated for urban gardens. Produce and herbs harvested are being utilized by the kitchen. Leftover food finds its way into compost piles for fertilization of the crops.
Perhaps the local movement has created the most sustainable practice: one of preservation, which lessens the need for a sparkling new structure and provides an ecological alternative to retrofit what already exists.