10 St. Louis Restaurants Growing Their Own Food
|Katie's Pizza and Pasta | Katie Lee|
Katie's Pizza & Pasta (9568 Manchester Road; 314-942-6555)
Six 9-foot-by-3-foot raised bed gardens and twenty planters are the first thing diners see as they enter the restaurant. The garden is currently growing herbs, San Marzano tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, heirloom peppers, heirloom eggplant, green beans, Swiss chard, nasturtium (edible flowers), zucchini, squash blossoms and arugula. Owner Katie Lee explains the garden was created out of a love of the hands-on experience of growing food to cook. The squash blossoms are used for a ricotta-stuffed fried squash blossom appetizer, the Swiss chard is added to a pear and fig salad, the San Marzano tomatoes are the base for Katie's sauce, the heirloom tomatoes are reserved for the caprese salad, the nasturtium flowers garnish the burrata plates, and the herbs "go in everything."
Vin de Set | Paul Hamilton
Eleven Eleven Mississippi (1111 Mississippi Avenue; 314-241-9999)
Vin de Set (2017 Chouteau Avenue; 314-241-8989)
Three years ago co-owners Paul and Wendy Hamilton started growing crops in soil-free aeroponic towers on the patios of both restaurants to combat the rising cost of fresh produce. The fifteen towers are capable of holding 420 individual plants. This year, they are planted with several different varieties of lettuce. Two years ago the patio at Eleven Eleven was converted into a winter greenhouse that allowed for year-round growing and lots of new produce such as winter squash, Brussels sprouts, frisee, kale and Swiss chard. Last year a parking lot next to Vin de Set was converted into an organic urban farm for additional space and is currently growing lettuces, Swiss chard, kale, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, squash, peppers, beets, cucumbers, carrots and a large selection of herbs. All crops are heirloom and started from seed.
Element | Brian Hardesty
Element (1419 Carroll Street; 314-241-1674)
The rooftop patio garden at Element was just started two months ago, making good use of an area that wasn't being utilized, providing fresh produce and herbs for the kitchen, and connecting patio diners to the source of their food. The garden contains herbs, radishes, onions, chile peppers, Brussels sprouts, lettuces and broccoli. The herbs are used throughout the menu, while the vegetables are featured in daily specials and the tasting board. Owner Brian Hardesty has hopes of adding a street-level garden soon.