Being “farm-to-table,” or devoted to “seasonal-local” practices is practically second nature at NYC restaurants today. And meat-free dining is also on a seriously precipitous rise — from “veggie-focused” spots like Dirt Candy, Semilla and Nix to full-on vegan enterprises, including Avant Garden, by CHLOE and OO+Co! So when it comes to eating out on Earth Day, you might as well seek out spots that have truly taken going green to the next level, such as Birdbith, Café Habana and The Cynical Schnauzer, along with eateries holding eco-friendly promotions and events, such as Eataly, Kosaka and Fair Weather Brooklyn.
Cafe Habana: One of our greatest warm weather pleasures is chowing down on tacos and pounding countless frozen margaritas in the sun. And at Café Habana and its Brooklyn offshoot, Habana Outpost, you can feel downright righteous about indulging in all of the above, as the company provides multiple free, hands-on programs that celebrate urban environmentalism, and cultivates gardens filled with native NYC plants. And did we mention the buildings are made with recycled building materials (including walls constructed from wheat, and picnic tables formed from plastic bottles) and covered with solar panels? They also use 100% compostable plates and cutlery, have a rainwater collection system, which is used for everything from watering plants to flushing the toilet, and patrons can even churn their own margaritas, by pedaling on a bicycle-powered blender!
17 Prince St., (212) 625-2001
Birdbath Bakery: This series of eco-minded offshoots of New York’s renowned City Bakery all operate in as environmentally friendly a way as possible. In addition to having been constructed with green building materials, such as bamboo, grasscloth and walls made from wheat and sunflower seeds, and decorated with vintage wallpaper and antique flea market finds, they deliver food — including Rice Milk Muffins with red beans and ginger, Pressed Chicken Cilantro Sandwiches and Edible Flower Lemonade — by bicycle rickshaw. In fact, in the last three years, they’ve pedaled 20,000 miles, equal to circling Manhattan 750 times!
518 Columbus Ave., (212) 488-4155
The Cynical Schnauzer: Smorgasburg vendor and caterer Przemek Adolf’s long term goal is to pick up where Dan Barber’s wastED left off, transforming his leftovers into innovative dishes for The Cynical Schnauzer, a new, locally and seasonally-driven restaurant in Clinton Hill. For now, he’s taken a multi-pronged approach to keeping waste as close to zero as possible, implementing one of the city’s most aggressive self-composting programs, from detritus remaining from creations like Snails and Sunchokes with beurre blanc, Carrot Carbonara with pancetta, Mussels and Citrus with wakame and quinoa, and Lamp Belly Spaetzle with pink lady apple and Treviso.
884 Fulton St., (718) 789-1868
Eataly: The Italian megastore is actually celebrating Earth Day all week long, with a lineup of eco-conscious tastings and events, including a Raw Milk Appreciation Day, a Sustainable Seafood Day, a Local Dairy Day, a Beer and Wine Day, and finally, Earth Day itself, which will feature a pop-up indoor farmers market showcasing 30 of their regional producers, complimentary samples of food and sustainable wine, classes at their cooking school, La Scuola, and specials offered throughout all of Eataly’s restaurants.
200 5th Ave., (212) 229-2560
Kosaka: This modern omakase restaurant frequently hosts programs that serve to promote Japanese culture in NYC. And on Earth Day, they’re welcoming in landscape architect and horticulturist, Eun Young, who’ll guide guests in creating their own kokedamas (balls of moss-covered soil covered in ornamental plants and hung strings) to take home. And needless to say, refreshments will be served, such as delicate Asian confections and matcha tea.
220 W 13th St., (212) 727-1709
Fair Weather Bushwick: Recently transformed from a coffee shop into a seasonally focused, tasting menu-serving restaurant, this Brooklyn boite will offer two for one glasses of organic wine from afternoon until evening on Earth Day. Options like the 2013 Rezzadore Tai Rosso Monte Oseliera, made with grapes that are grown in limestone and volcanic soils without the use of any herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers, pair especially well with dishes like Satur Farms Beet “Ravioli;” thin slices of pickled beets folded over ricotta and accented with dehydrated beet, sweet beet caramel and spiced pepitas.
274 Wyckoff Ave., (347) 305-3736