Cooking with produce, meat and dairy from local farms and growers is a growing trend across the country, but there are several restaurants in St. Louis that are taking this a step further. Gut Check spoke with ten local restaurants that are actually growing their own produce, cooking seasonally, saving money and having fun while they're at it.
Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue; 314-241-2337) and Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street; 314-241-2337) Schlafly Gardenworks is the name of the small urban garden located on the east side of Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood. Thousands of pounds of produce are grown each year for use at Schlafly Bottleworks and the Schlafly Tap Room downtown, such as tomatoes, beets, Japanese white turnips, radishes, eggplant, summer squash, sunchokes, garlic, onions, apples, herbs, peppers, nopales (edible cactus), mustard greens, kale, collards, bok choi, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard and lettuce. The garden is nourished by compost created from vegetable scraps and coffee grounds from both restaurants. Bottleworks hosts free educational events and seed swaps to share their expertise with the community. The garden is maintained by Gardenworks manager Jack Petrovick.
Sidney Street Café (2000 Sidney Street; 314-771-5777) Sidney Street Cafe chef Kevin Nashan converted his parking lot into a 100-yard urban garden about five years ago. Each station in the restaurant's kitchen has its own bed, and Benton Park neighbors who help to maintain the garden are welcome to pick freely from it. The garden grows more than 50 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs, depending on the season. Currently the garden has rue, saltwort, borage, stevia, lovage, purslane, hemlock, cumin, dill, epazote, nasturtium, chamomile, magenta lambsquarters, native Missouri black raspberry, dewberry, blueberry, sumac, Dorman red raspberry, sunchokes, Tokyo turnips, beets, Egyptian walking onions, red dragon carrots, cardoons, horseradish, fennel, tomatoes, melons and peppers. Local elementary schools and the Hoover YMCA have visited the restaurant to learn first hand about gardening and healthy eating.
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