4 NYC restaurants that are leading the charge in sustainability

Credit: Emily Andrews
The interior of NYC restaurant Point Seven seen here with undulating couches, a large fish light sculpture on the ceiling, and beige round tables

New York has no dearth of restaurants with cutting-edge sustainable practices—restaurants like Crave Fishbar with its commitment to serving 100% sustainable seafood have been leading the charge for years. But every year, restaurants continue to find new ways to push the envelope. For Earth Day this year, we’re looking at three ways New York restaurants are doing just that. 

At a hot new seafood restaurant in Midtown, you’ll find that the dining-room tables are made with recycled plastic from the ocean; two other restaurants are showing us how food scraps can easily transform into exciting drinks and dishes; and a steakhouse will leave you impressed by how its going above and beyond with its climate pledge. Read on to find out how New York restaurants are making a difference. 

In the design: Point Seven (Midtown) 

Several design elements, including the bar, are made from recycled plastic removed from the ocean. | Credit: Emily Andrews

Chef Franklin Becker’s MetLife Building seafood restaurant Point Seven has built sustainability into its design—literally. You’d never know this just by sitting down in the stunning interiors, but all of the sleek dining room tables, the bar, and the countertops are made from recycled plastic that was discarded in the ocean. The restaurant’s design firm Studio Valerius sourced them from Smile Plastic, a company known for transforming waste into stylish furniture.

Plus, there are lots of other hidden sustainable design elements throughout Point Seven. Studio Valerius used compostable natural clay plaster for the interiors and some of the walls are lined with tiles from broken stone products that would otherwise get thrown away. “Throughout the restaurant we have used sustainable materials and have considered how they will either biodegrade or be repurposed in the future,” Studio Valerius founder Richard Chandler says. 

On the menu: Hav & Mar (Chelsea) &  The Alderman (Midtown West)

 Leftover pickling juices go into Hav & Mar’s signature martini. | Credit: Andy Thomas Lee

Almost nothing goes to waste when it comes to drinks at Marcus Samuelsson’s Chelsea hotspot Hav & Mar. Go for the Seashore Spritz, and you’ll be happy to learn that celery bottoms and leaves that would otherwise get thrown out are part of the juice in the drink. Try the house martini that includes leftover pickling liquid. Or go for the Aquavit that’s infused with apple cores and peels and honey that comes from the roof of the Starrett-Lehigh building, where Hav & Mar is located. “We upcycle fruits and vegetables to find new purposes for what the chefs don’t use in the kitchen,” beverage director and general manager Tia Barrett says.

Steven Hubbell, the chef at the newly opened Midtown hotel restaurant The Alderman, is a wizard when it comes to transforming waste in the kitchen. Get the Dutch baby—the jam on top is made with whey leftover from making cheese. Drinks get the same treatment, too, like a probiotic cocktail made with fermented pineapple core and peels. It’s all part of the restaurant’s broader ethos on shopping local to reduce shipping and packaging and its focus on seasonality. “Because all of our products are seasonal, part of the fun of dining at The Alderman is watching the menu evolve,” Hubbell says.

For the greater good: Hawksmoor (Gramercy Park)

Hawksmoor only gets meat from farms that use green or renewable energy. | Credit: Hawksmoor

Consider this: The NYC outpost of the beloved UK steakhouse Hawksmoor is the only US steakhouse to be certified B. Corp. That means it’s been recognized by the global nonprofit B Lab for its social and environmental impact, and Hawksmoor is one of only three restaurants in New York and 15 in the country to get that certification. 

Hawksmoor’s earned it by going above and beyond. The meat on your plate is from farms that use green or renewable energy; the restaurant uses electric monitors on all appliances to ensure energy conservation; and they support organizations like Billion Oyster Project that’s restoring oyster reefs in the New York Harbor. “It’s a great feeling joining a group of businesses that are playing a part in changing things for the better,” Hawksmoor co-founder Will Beckett says. 

Known for her pioneering food blog, The Strong Buzz, Andrea Strong has been writing about restaurants, chefs, and life around the table for the past 25 years for publications such as The New York Times, Fast Company, Food & Wine, New York magazine, Eater, and more. She lives, eats, and loads and unloads the dishwasher in Brooklyn. Follow her on Instagram @strongbuzz_.

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