We’re Crushing it

Why we Recycle 80,000 Pounds of Glass Each year

 

Because so much of our restaurant’s food and beverages come in glass, we generate a lot of waste with glass bottles: About 80,000 pounds annually, which is roughly the equivalent of 13 average-sized adult elephants!

With our commitment to the environment and a sustainable planet, we didn’t want to throw so much waste in the trash, especially when it’s recyclable.

But because of an awkward trash pick-up station below our building, the City of Cleveland’s recycling truck couldn’t maneuver inside to haul and crush our glass on site. And most private recycling companies require glass to be crushed before they will collect it for recycling.

So we had to find another solution.

We considered crushing our glass on site, but that wasn’t feasible because we didn’t have a glass crusher and buying one was not a reasonable option.

Fortunately, we found Recycle Midwest, a Northeast Ohio company that would collect our uncrushed glass.

Adding this service continues our commitment to sustainability and working to be a leader for commercial – and especially restaurant – recycling in downtown Cleveland. Now that we have created a route for these recycling companies to come downtown, we hope it sparks others to recycle their glass and helps push down the cost as more restaurants participate.

Part of being a sustainable restaurant is taking care of the land and community in which we operate. We consider one of our social responsibilities to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfills as much as we can.

While recycling is important, reduction of waste is even more important. Through this glass recycling process, we’ve become more proactive by eliminating certain products that have excessive packaging. By eliminating the waste in the first place, we’re helping the planet, too.

Like many people in our community, we care about this issue and want to be part of the solution. We believe we’re crushing it!

 

7 Ways We Make Your Holiday Party Sparkle

It’s time to plan your holiday party. Whether it’s a company event or a gathering with family and friends, we can make your party sparkle. Here’s how we do it…

  1. Host you in an exquisitely designed Private Party Room
  2. Showcase and Serve Seasonal Cocktails
  3. Create Custom Menus
  4. Provide Excellent Customer Service from Start to Finish
  5. Offer Convenient Valet Parking and a central downtown location
  6. Deliver a Personal Touch, such as providing Urban Farmer swag bags or helping you to deliver special gifts of your own.
  7. Make it Fun! We want you to enjoy, relax, be festive and most of all, have fun. We make it that way by handling all of the details of your party, so you can leave behind the worry and embrace the fun!

Please contact Barbara Gantous at barbara.gantous@sagerestaurantgroup.com or 216-771-7707 to get your party started!

 

 

Chef Vishu Nath Rocks It in NYC

 

Chef Vishu Nath recently traveled to the Big Apple as part of a select group of local chefs chosen to participate in the “Cleveland Rocks” Dinner at The James Beard House in New York City.

Nath, who has served as the executive chef of Urban Farmer since October 2015, is known for emphasizing the importance of using high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients. Along with other influential connoisseurs from Cleveland’s culinary scene, he served up dishes that celebrated the diverse flavors of the Buckeye State.

For the dinner, Vish prepared an Ohio Summer Melon with Corn, Tomato, Basil, Mizuna and Negroni Citrus Dressing. Other dishes created by the chefs included Ohio Chanterelle Pâté with Sweet-and Sour-Duxelles, Cherry Tomato Jam and Smoked Garlic Scape Oil on house-made Mustard Toast and Cleveland Fish ‘n Chips with Radish, Tomatillo and Corn.

Check out this time-lapse video of dish preparation at the event on Instagram. The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone.

Nath will participate in another James Beard event on October 18 in Columbus. The Celebrity Chef Tour in Columbus will take place at Gallerie Bistro on High Street and feature chefs from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and New York. Tickets can be purchased here.

 

Nath has participated in many high-profile culinary events since joining Urban Farmer Cleveland, including:

  • March of Dimes’ Signature Chefs Auction
  • University Hospitals’ Five Star Sensation
  • Gourmets in the Garden featured Chef at Cleveland Botanical Garden
  • 12th Annual Starchefs Congress and Vitamix Challenge (NYC)
  • James Beard Foundation dinner at The Burnham Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Autism Speaks Chef Gala at the Cleveland Art Museum with Michael Symon

Nath has been involved in the culinary arts since he was young. He has developed a passion for sustainability in both cooking and restaurant management practices, principles that Urban Farmer shares and puts into action with its composting and glass-crushing initiatives.

Come Mix it Up at Our Mixology Class

Come Mix it Up at Our Mixology Class


A fun, team-building event for any company or organization

  

 

It’s always nice to kick off a holiday with a special event and this July 4th we had the pleasure of hosting our friends at Studiothink for a “mixology” class. (Studiothink is our local marketing and public relations agency and a big supporter of what we do.)

A mixology class is part social event, part team-building and part “Bartending 101.” Like the other classes we host, such as our macaroon and butcher classes, our goal is to educate our guests about what we do here at Urban Farmer and how we do it, all while having fun and enjoying our farm-to-table food and drink.

Our classes are great team-building opportunities and a simple way for employees of all ranks to get away from the office, mingle and enjoy each other’s company in a casual setting.

We gather in The Pantry, one of our two private dining rooms, surrounded by a colorful array of house-preserved fruits and vegetables and let our experts engage directly with our guests.

For the mixology class, our restaurant manager Jackson Starr and bartender Ellen Traylor lead the group. Starr, both personable and knowledgeable, came up through the ranks at Urban Farmer, starting as a bus boy then bartender then manager. Traylor, an expert in all things liquor, fell in love with bartending and has been doing it full time for years.

Working off a detailed menu with a dozen different drinks, Starr and Traylor craft a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as they talk about bartending techniques from shaking vs. stirring, the art of muddling and how to accurately measure a shot of liquor.

Guests can ask questions or just listen as they relax and enjoy hearty appetizers, including beef sliders on brioche, hush puppies, cheese plates and deviled eggs. Menus can be customized to guests’ preferences.

Starr and Traylor cover how to mix popular cocktails such as the Manhattan, Martini, Mojito and French 75, and invite guests to suggest drinks they’d like to see made. Then, those guests can step up the bar and make them, with guidance from our experts.

Anyone who wants a sample of the drink can have one. Non-alcoholic beverages are available and complimentary. The guest who requests the drink usually gets to enjoy the full glass. Guests get to take the drink recipe list home with them.

Starr and Traylor have been in the restaurant business almost their entire lives, making them not only great teachers for this class, but great employees here at Urban Farmer. They offer not only their bartending expertise but insight and interesting tidbits about their jobs.

Like our other class leaders, they are true professionals with extensive experience and a real passion for the restaurant business. We hope you join in a mixology class soon!

To find out more or book a class for your team, contact Barbara Gantous at
barbara.gantous@sagerestaurantgroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shedding Light on Dinner in the Dark

Shedding Light on Dinner in the Dark

You might recall from our last post that we hosted Dinner in the Dark at Urban Farmer Cleveland on August 14th. While we couldn’t reveal much then, we can now shed light on the great people and food behind this fun and unique event.

 

For those of you not familiar, Dinner in the Dark is a monthly event that brings together six different chefs to cook a six course meal together at different restaurants around Cleveland.  The participating chefs and the menu are not revealed until the guests arrive, keeping them ‘in the dark.’ The concept was created by Brian Okin and Jeff Jarrett as a way to bring together Cleveland chefs and food lovers to share their passion and compassion, as ticket proceeds benefit a local charity chosen by the participating chefs.

 

As guests arrived for the August 14th event they were greeted with a signature cocktail and the anxiously awaited menu was unveiled. Each of the six courses began with the dedicated chef sharing his inspiration with guests and an accompanying wine to compliment the selection.

The meal began with an octopus terrine and tongue pastrami amuse bouche, created by Urban Farmer Chef, Travis Gunter. Next, Chef Matt Del Regno, of Levy Restaurants and Huntington Convention Center, shared his squash blossom, duck, sweet and sour plum and local chevre appetizer. The appetizer course was completed by a second selection of Hamachi- peaches, blueberries, basil and miso cream vinaigrette created by Urban Farmer’s very own Chef de Cuisine, Anthony Bernal.

After enjoying the opening courses and wine pairings, guests were ready for the salad created by Chef Christopher Kocsis, of The Burnham, that consisted of sweet corn panna cotta, corn meal cracker, frisee, heirloom tomatoes, and paprika vinaigrette. Barramundi, goan curry, and basmati rice were featured for the seafood entrée, created by Chef Rasul Welch, of Polpetta.

Next, palates were refreshed with Urban Farmer Executive Chef Vishwatej Nath’s champagne rosemary sorbet intermezzo, which included summer flower petals, sea salt and verjus rouge.  A special feature wine, of 2015 ‘Meritage,’ provided by event partner M Cellars was served for the meat entrée, also created by Chef Vishwatej Nath. Smoked Wagyu-mi cuit, charred creamed corn, house grown chill mole sauce with foie gras and merlot jam spiced donut with maple syrup made this a standout entrée.

Last, but not least, the six course meal concluded with dessert. Chef John Selick, of Sodexo and University Hospitals, created the finale with honey roasted peaches, fried cornbread, bourbon sabayon, and crème fraiche ice cream. After a wonderful evening of food and drink, guests departed with full stomachs, new friendships and having helped The Refugee Response, the chosen charity for the event and partner of Urban Farmer.

 

 

Dinner In The Dark

Urban Farmer, Cleveland’s Steakhouse

The lights will be on, but the menu is in the dark until you are served!

That’s right; you won’t know who will be cooking or what they’ll be serving until you attend this unique dining experience at Urban Farmer Cleveland on August 14th.

 

That evening, Executive Chef Vishu Nath and a handful of the best local chefs will join together to create a six course dinner that is sure to surprise and delight you. Each chef will create a course of their choice. Instead of using rules or themes, each course will provide an opportunity for the featured chef to display their creativity and engage your senses as they are inspired. In other words, the chef at your favorite Italian restaurant may surprise you with your new favorite Asian entrée at this event. You wouldn’t want to miss that, now would you?!

 

We’ll be keeping you ‘In The Dark’ as the participating chefs and menu won’t be revealed until you arrive. However, we can share that in addition to six courses of culinary surprises, you will also enjoy carefully selected wine or artisanal cocktails with each course. And most importantly, we want you to know that proceeds from the event will benefit The Refugee Response, a local partner that we greatly value and chose to support for this event.

 

So what’s the 2.0 about? Well, this is the second time Urban Farmer has hosted a Dinner In The Dark event. While it may be 2.0, we are just as excited as the first in 2016 (maybe even more) and look forward to hosting new guests, new chefs and maybe a few returning.

 

We hope you’ll join us for this exciting evening of passion and compassion!

 

Reservations:

Dinner In The Dark

Monday, August 14 at 6:30 PM – 10 PM

Urban Farmer Cleveland

$65.00 PER PERSON, PLUS TAX AND GRATUITY ($86.99 total)

Tickets by Eventbrite – http://bit.ly/2vrtq2a

 

More About Refugee Response:

The Refugee Response was founded in 2009 by two local Clevelanders, Mr. Paul Neundorfer and Mr. David Wallis. In 2010 ground was broken on the Ohio City Farm in Cleveland’s Historic West Side and the Refugee Response began to recruit mentors to support refugee students, established the REAP employment training program and began to sell organically farmed fresh produce to some of Cleveland’s best restaurants, including Urban Farmer.

Now the Refugee Response supports over 60 refugees each year, provides opportunities for hundreds of Clevelanders to mentor and volunteer and supports over 20% of the annual budget from farm sales.
To learn more about Dinner In The Dark, visit: www.dinnerinthedarkcleveland.com

 

BBQ – Urban Farmer Style

 

BBQ – Urban Farmer Style

Did you know that Urban Farmer Cleveland hosts classes? Well now you do!

From baking to butchery, our experts periodically host classes to help others explore their culinary passions and develop their skills. Our most recent class, Carolina vs Texas BBQ, enabled attendees to learn a bit about the different styles of BBQ, try their hand at making a few related items, and explore our in-house butcher program.

Each class is led by the experienced in-house experts who focus on the topic featured. This class was led by Executive Chef, Vishu Nath, and Chef de Cuisine, Anthony Bernal. These Urban Farmer Chefs have experience in a variety of cuisines, including BBQ, and bring unique geographic and cultural influences to share. Chef Vishu’s South Asian culture tends to lead to spicy blends and use of ingredients that are typically not part of stateside BBQ. Chef Anthony’s time in the Southwest lends to sweeter styles of sauce and BBQ cooking techniques not often found in Ohio.

While each Urban Farmer class is unique, they all incorporate some classroom style learning. During the Carolina vs Texas BBQ Class, attendees learned the different types of meat, sauces and slaws associated with each region. Most were surprised by the variety of slaws and hadn’t tried the vinegar and mustard styles typically found in the south. The Chefs also shared some of their smoking tips and techniques, and ways to make BBQ rubs.

After the classroom portion of the day, attendees got to take a tour of the on premise butcher room and dry aging cooler. Here, they got to see how Urban Farmer utilizes full animals and minimal waste in their butcher program, and some of the aged meats that would soon be found on the Bucher’s Card Specials that evening.

Post tour, class moved out to the patio where attendees got to utilize the knowledge gained inside to make their own BBQ sauce and rub to take home. Chef Vishu and Anthony also guided students in preparing their own meats, to grill and enjoy with attendees, and answered questions that arose in the live setting.

Everyone then sat to enjoy the “meats of their labor”, including a few prepared by the Urban Farmer culinary team, and the amazing weather that day. Students left, full of knowledge and food, carrying a swag bag including the restaurants very own BBQ sauce recipes!

 

We are planning our next class schedule so be sure to keep your eye out for future offerings. And, feel free to drop us a line with suggested class topics!

“Bee-Cause” They Are Important To Our Ecosystem



“Bee-Cause” They Are Important To Our Ecosystem

Understanding the Role of Bees through Indoor Gardening at Urban Farmer

Did you know that”you have a bee to thank for every one in three bites of food you eat”? (Save the Bees, Greenpeace.org). Many of us did not know this or understand the role of bees in agriculture or our ecosystem.

Much of that has changed, at Urban Farmer Cleveland, with the start of an indoor garden and education from General Manager, Andy Hata. As mentioned in our last post, Andy has been leading the team to grow chili peppers within a custom grow tent on premise. This week, we took the project to the next level by moving grown plants from the tent to a garden everyone can enjoy, within Urban Farmer’s lounge.

 

It was exciting to see the plants flourishing; now feature worthy, and being moved to the front of the restaurant.  How the chili peppers grew, from seed – to flowering plant – to vegetable we could eat, is where the learning comes in.

Most of us understand the concept of planting a seed and something growing. But what about when the environment is changed and you are trying to grow something indoors, where there’s lack of sun or bees?

Many of us hadn’t really thought about it. That is until we saw Andy “painting” the chili pepper flowers one day.  After laughs are often exchanged, over the unexpected “gardening” scene, Andy will explain his critical role in the growth of the chili peppers to staff admiring them.

 

In order to transform these flowering plants, into the vegetable producing kind, pollination is required. But without the help of bees, the help of Andy is required for in this environment. Each day, Andy must use a paint brush to transfer pollen from the male to female flowers; to pollinate, and essentially act as the bee in our indoor garden. In addition to our “Andy bee”, we also rely on our iGrowlights to act at the “sun” within our garden.

While both are working rather well, as you can see, the project now has many of us wondering what our lives would be like without bees. Could you imagine growing vegetables on a large scale with these methods? It’s a scary thought and possible reality for our near future. After all, hand pollination (aka painting flowers) sadly is required in many other parts of the world.

Maybe our next project should be bee keeping! You’ll have to wait and see.

In the interim, stop by and check out our new indoor garden, currently featuring chili peppers, oregano and sage. And please wish us luck as we hope to incorporate the fruits of labor into a few areas of the menu, pending growth.

Environmental Stewardship

 Environmental Stewardship at Urban Farmer

Developing new ways to incorporate environmental stewardship into Urban Farmer’s policies and practices is a large focus for General Manager, Andy Hata. The desire to protect our environment is engrained in Andy’s lifestyle and his passion for it can be quite influential and contagious.

Andy, and the Urban Farmer team, believes that their efforts to conserve and utilize sustainable methods are what help make them stand apart and hope they will have influence on others in Cleveland.  With the start of spring, the team has stepped into high gear with growth and exploration of sustainable practices on all levels.

 

Andy and Kelly, the new Sales and Marketing Manager, recently attended the ILEA (International Live Events Association) “Living and Working in the Green Economy” event,  to learn how businesses can help educate consumers on how their choices impact the planet. The event also provided great inspiration for ways to incorporate recycled and sustainable touches into dinning and private events. Things like repurposed drawers used as serving platters and linen napkins can not only lend to creative food presentations, and dining experiences, but also reduce the amount of waste. Additionally, the ILEA event provided an opportunity for Andy and Kelly to learn from, and network with, like-minded professionals, including the event speaker Lori Hill. Lori, the president and co-founder of Sister Eden media, an online media company that inspires people to make sustainable choices in their everyday lives, shared personal stories, like details of her own green wedding, as well as those of eco conscious special events she produced, including the Mid-Atlantic Green Wedding Showcase, an annual trade show featuring sustainable wedding and event vendors, as well as a eco fashion show.

 

Andy and Sous Chef Stephanie, with support of the team, recently started a rooftop garden in an effort to enable Urban Farmer to take local to a new level. They started by planting a broad range of seeds, including lettuce, herbs, peppers, tomatoes and more inside to avoid the potential threats of a (typical) Cleveland spring frost. As the plants quickly grew, the team also got to work on building the rooftop beds where the plants will be transferred, for long term growth, once spring truly arrives. The hope is for the plants to flourish and Urban Farmer to incorporate some of these fresh ingredients into their beverage and menu offerings. In doing so, the team will be able to reduce the amount of transportation and energy required to bring food from farm to restaurant and in turn reduce the related harmful effects on the environment.


Spring has also brought the start of a hydroponic garden project inside the restaurant and the start of a recycling initiative. Andy is leading the team to grow chili peppers, within a custom grow tent on premise, with the plan to move the pepper plants to the hydroponic garden once ready. The chili peppers are slated to be incorporated into a few areas of the menu, pending growth.

 

The recycling initiative has been in the works for some time, as Andy had been working with local leaders to create a plan that could manage the volume of waste a large restaurant, like Urban Farmer, creates. The initiative took a big step forward as volunteers from the team recently participated in a trash audit, sorting by type/category and measuring to determine our biggest offenders and overall volume.  We look forward to sharing more on these developing projects in future posts and surely more exciting sustainable efforts! As you can see, we are on a mission with Andy at the lead.

Urban Farmer takes a trip to Kentucky!

 

Urban Farmer takes a trip to Kentucky!

Our General Manager Andy and our Executive Chef Vishu, took a road trip to Kentucky this week to find our very own signature bourbon. They spent time at Barton Distillery, located in; Bardstown, KY, receiving a tour of how bourbon is made in their facility. Based on our pictures below, we can tell they really enjoyed themselves! But what does that mean for Urban Farmer’s beverage program? While Andy and Vishu were down there, they hand selected bourbons that will be featured at our bar, or table side. Although we do enjoy finding places as close to home as possible, we think it will be fun for our guests to enjoy some Kentucky Bourbon too!

Curious how Bourbon came to be in Kentucky? It began in the 1700s with the first settlers of Kentucky. Like most farmers and frontiersmen, they found that getting crops to market over narrow trails and steep mountains was a daunting task. They soon learned that converting corn and other grains to whiskey made them easily transportable, prevented the excess grain from simply rotting, and gave them some welcome diversion from the rough life of the frontier. Since then, generations of Kentuckians have continued the heritage and time-honored tradition of making fine Bourbon, unchanged from the process used by their ancestor’s centuries before. So how did it get the name Bourbon? Well, one of Kentucky’s original counties was Bourbon County, established in 1785 when Kentucky was still part of Virginia. Farmers shipped their whiskey in oak barrels — stamped from Bourbon County — down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. The long trip aged the whiskey, with the oak wood giving it the distinct mellow flavor and amber color. Pretty soon, whiskey from Bourbon County grew in popularity and became known as Bourbon whiskey. In 1964, Congress officially recognized Bourbon’s place in our history — and our future — by declaring it a distinctive product of the United States. (kybourbontrail.com)

You can check out the distillery Andy and Vishu visited here

http://www.1792bourbon.com/distillery

 

We’re very excited to be offering a hand selected bourbon exclusively for Urban Farmer in our restaurant and please feel free to share your experiences on our social media accounts.