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Living Pantry Grows in New NYC Restaurant
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Renowned American Chef and Restaurateur David Bouley is bringing the concept of vertical urban farming into his latest upscale and trendy New York City dining venue—Bouley Botanical.

Designed to "excite all five senses," the new private restaurant is part living pantry and part private event space.

The venue is whimsically decorated with driftwood carved birds in antique French birdcages, porcelain vases and red aromatic cedar handrails, but what draws the most attention is the biodynamic indoor farm that fills each window, greening the space between the posh interior and New York’s trendy TriBeCa neighborhood outside.


Botanical describes itself as an "urban farm performance kitchen" and is growing fresh herbs and vegetables for in-house use as well as other Bouley restaurants. Botanical joins an already impressive lineup of Bouley dining experiences in New York City, including Brushstroke Restaurant, several private dining venues and a test kitchen for private events.

Chef Bouley wishes every home could have a living pantry filled with live, fresh, nutrient-dense foods, but since most of us aren’t so lucky, Botanical strives to "envelope guests in an environ of pure ingredients."

In planning the innovative project, Chef Bouley consulted with the farmers he’s worked with since opening his first restaurant in 1987, and the professors and doctors he’s befriended over the years. He credits Cornell University’s Dr. Ray Glahn, Nutritionist Gary Null, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Keith Berkowitz, Dr. Oz Garcia and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez with helping him meet his goal of serving food at its most nutritious and delicious stage.

Over 70 edible plants and herbs are happily growing in organic soil in the vertical growing boxes that fill the windows of the lofty space. The 24 growing boxes are made from food grade stainless steel bins clad in pure copper. A 16 ft.-high living tower wall system with an automatic irrigation system brings additional growing space indoors.

Renee Giroux, an organic grower and consultant, provided her expertise in growing greenhouse edibles to the project. Renee is also the head grower at Gilberties Herb Gardens—the largest organic greenhouse system in New England with 3.6 acres.

Energy-efficient LED strip lights add a colorful flare to the space while delivering the plants the ideal color spectrum for vegetative growth. The lighting was designed by Colin Coogan of Green Up.

What do you think? Fun? Inspiring? Or too posh for farming?

Reader Comments (2)

The problem with using mostly or all electrical lighting to grow plants is that the electricity to provide the light is generated at a power plant and, averaged over the US, every kWh of electricity produced corresponds to 460 g of CO2 added to the atmosphere. That carbon footprint is much greater than the carbon footprint of shipping the produce from coast to coast. For example, and I have lots of research data to back this up, every (averaged) head of bibb lettuce grown with all supplemental light adds the equivalent of a 55 gallon drum volume of CO2 to the atmosphere.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | L. Albright

I think its about time!!!Truly fabulous, marketable, and inspiring.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | Carol Eder

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