Forget Farm to Table, This is Rooftop to Table

As the local food scene bourgeons, one man takes the concept to completely new heights. Chef John Mooney is one of the few notable chefs in NYC that doesn’t get most of his produce from the local farmers’ market. Instead, he is growing 60 percent of his produce on the rooftop of his new West Village restaurant, Bell Book & Candle, a pioneer in his own right.

Before you start wondering how one little rooftop garden can feed a whole restaurant, John Mooney has it covered. The garden harvests enough fruits and veggies to feed his 80-seat restaurant every night of the year for 10 whole months. They are growing over 70 varieties of veggies, fruits and herbs… there’s almost everything you could need like lettuce, squash, chick peas, strawberries, mint, and more. After the produce is harvested it’s lowered down to the restaurant via a pulley system – their sixth floor building is without elevator.

To grow the produce, he uses an age-old technology called hydroponics. Instead of growing produce in soil, hydroponics uses vertical cylinders. The seeds are placed in the tubes and nutrient-rich water is pumped through letting the seeds germinate. Each plant group is monitored with computers and there is a faster growing time – he can harvest lettuce in just four weeks – and this technology reduces the threat of diseases and pests.

Is your mouth watering yet? Wait until you hear the menu …

Salads: Pear with pecans, currants, and point reyes blue; roasted beets & Efren’s house-made Burrata with mint and pistachio pesto; frissee & fennel salad with warm pork belly and New York apples; and more.

Local Cheeses: Shaker Blue-Sheep (NY); Hooligan Cow (NY); Kunik-Goat (NY); and more.

Sides: Organic fries; marinated Cypress Grove goat cheese; caramelized Brussels sprouts; roasted eggplant puree; crispy fried oysters; and more.

Mains: Braised beef short ribs with Yukon mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts; roasted monkfish with oyster and chorizo corn bread stuffing; gin and tonic wild salmon with caramelized cauliflower and lime emulsion; Amish roasted half chicken with Yukon mashed potatoes, heirloom beans, wild mushrooms, and pan gravy; and more.

Find out more about Bell Book & Candle’s yummy dishes.

Bell Book & Candle, 141 W. 10th St., (212) 414-2355.

Image: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Brianne Hogan is a Canadian writer, currently based in Prince Edward Island. A self-proclaimed "wellness freak," she has a... More about Brianne Hogan