When we started the up-fit for Chestnut Restaurant in the “cursed” downtown restaurant location at 48 Biltmore Avenue, Kevin Westmoreland and I had already gotten Green Restaurant Certified at Corner Kitchen. As a very busy casual fine dining destination, Corner Kitchen was already an iconic eatery in the burgeoning Asheville dining scene. That being said, we continued to focus on making great food and serving it in an open, friendly atmosphere.
With Chestnut, we set out to open a downtown, urban eatery that would fulfill all our goals while also finding its own voice and style. Being a “Green” restaurant was in line with those goals. Here’s how we approached it:
- Most all of the lighting is LED. Trying to find a warm and inviting color with LED continues to be a struggle, but the technology is catching up. The ever-present “Edison” lightbulbs were judged by us to be too trendy, but more importantly, very inefficient lighting choices. We also installed auto light switches in the restrooms.
- We immediately instituted our much-copied protocol for refuse disposal. We placed the proper color-coded waste bins in all the right places to encourage the staff to pre-sort. While this is not something we want our guests to think about, it is an important part of providing excellent food to a large volume of foodies and casual diners.
- We compost! My favorite subject… Our friends at Danny’s Dumpsters, helped us to institute a comprehensive plan for composting all food scraps and paper packaging materials. At the risk of being indelicate, their program allows us to put meat scraps into the compost, a feature that helps to gain enthusiastic compliance from cooks, bus-people and wait-staff.
- High efficiency water management. Our urinal is water-less (Saving thousands of gallons of water per year), all toilets are low-volume and our dish-washing machines are the most energy efficient available.
- We use all compostable To Go containers and made the switch to Paper Straws
- We buy as much of our food as possible from local farms, Cheese makers, Butchers and creameries.
So, as you make your choice of where to go for dinner, please judge us not only on the quality of our crafted food and cocktails as well as our fine, but unpretentious service. It doesn’t hurt that you are patronizing a downtown restaurant that has a well-established green mind-set to go with all that other stuff.
~ Joe Scully