Savory main dishes seasoned with fresh herbs, delectable sides of homegrown veggies and even uber-fresh bunches of hand-picked flowers that grace tables are just a few of the reasons some Philly-area restaurants choose to cultivate their own vegetable gardens. It simply makes sense, they’re sure to tell you, not just because growing the goods themselves provides fresher ingredients, but because it helps keep the cost of those ingredients down and reduces the inevitable waste that comes with buying too much from produce vendors. Here are some Philly spots with their own gardens.
Morris House Hotel
231 S. 8th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
M Restaurant – which bills itself as romantic, unique and local — is known for its beautiful outdoor dining area. The venue is also recognized for the fresh ingredients made possible through its farm-to-table concept, allowing for fresh herbs, peppers and other ingredients to be grown in the restaurant’s very own vegetable garden. M’s chef is involved in every step of the way, from planting the seeds to cultivating the crop, then incorporating the homegrown freshness into delicious offerings. Even the produce not grown on site is the restaurant’s own, with tomatoes, squash, zucchini and more brought in fresh from the owner’s nearby Frenchtown home.
The Night Kitchen Bakery And Cafe
7725 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
The Night Kitchen Bakery and Café is a three-star certified-green restaurant in Philly’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood that has been dishing up cakes, artisan breads and other baked treats for more than 30 years. The bakery now includes a café that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. Plus, the Night Kitchen Bakery boasts its own garden of herbs and vegetables – flowers, too – all watered by rainwater that’s collected inside a rain barrel. The Café grows its own supply of veggies and herbs, and what is not grown on site is sourced from a local farm co-op, all to be incorporated into fresh salads, savory sandwiches and pizzas.
1516 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Rex 1516 serves upscale comfort food with a Southern twist in a romantic, faded mansion setting. The menu changes with the seasons to incorporate locally grown food as well as food grown on site. Key ingredients from the restaurant’s garden include oregano, sage, mint and heirloom tomatoes. A variety of herbs are also grown on the premises to add flavor, spice or garnish to a variety of the seasonal drinks and menu offerings.
926 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Patrons dining at Supper, located on Philadelphia’s South Street, will enjoy a wide variety of fresh, locally grown ingredients on the eatery’s menu of American cuisine dishes. The restaurant incorporates the farm-to-table concept made possible by its pairing with local farms to bring diners a uniquely fresh eating experience. Produce grown specifically for Supper is cultivated on the 75-acre organic farming operation just outside of Newtown Square, known as Blue Elephant Farm. Brought in fresh by Supper’s chef five days out of each week, the ingredients are freshly picked for the following day’s menu.
The Terrace at Longwood Gardens
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Located in Kennett Square, Longwood Gardens includes an arboretum and botanical garden of over 1,000 acres that boasts 11,000 different types of plants and other horticulture. The Terrace at Longwood Gardens provides dining enjoyment to the thousands of visitors to the gardens each year, providing a unique dining experience that ranges from picnic food to fine dining. The venue holds a three-star certification as a green restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association, and embraces green principles and practices that include, as a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, growing its own herbs, vegetables and fruits for use on the Fine Dining menu.
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.