Chicago Rooftop Restaurant Gardens
Garden of Eatin': 4 Restaurants With Rooftop Crops
It's one thing to call yourself farm to table, but it doesn't get more locavore than a restaurant growing its ingredients on site. These urban gardens are popping up all over town and being showcased on your dinner plate to enjoy one forkful at at time.
- The latest to crop up is at the Palmer House Hilton (17 E. Monroe St., 312-726-7500) hotel. The 2,000-square-foot garden (pictured above) is positioned on the rooftop of the 25th floor and overseen by the hotel's culinary team. The seasonal veggies include everything from sorrel greens, sugar snap peas, chili peppers, heirloom carrots and tomatoes, and fresh herbs, which make for incredible garden-to-table dishes in Lockwood restaurant. Try the new garden omelet with sautéed spinach and arugula, goat cheese, and caramelized onions, served with herbed potatoes or seasonal vegetables. Coming soon: beehives at the northwest corner of the garden, which are anticipated to produce 20 to 40 gallons of honey each year — sweet!
- Not your typical hotel food: the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile (540 N. Michigan Ave., 312-836-0100) garden specializes in herbs, hops, and honey on the rooftop. Amazingly, it also cures its own meats, makes its own cheeses and pastas, and even produces its own wine and beer! In fact, aside from being used in meat glazes and pastries, the honey is used to make the hotel's Rooftop Honey Wheat brew.
- Uncommon Ground (1401 W. Devon Ave., 773-465-9801) adopted farm-to-table practices more 18 years ago, way ahead of the trend. Along with bountiful veggies and herbs (try the carrot and sweet potato croquettes with dill tzatziki), the 2,500-square-foot organic-certified rooftop garden boasts five solar panels that heat up to 50 percent of the water for the restaurant — pretty cool! There are also four beehives, which are predicted to eventually produce more than 200 pounds of honey.
- With a name like Markethouse (611 N. Fairbanks Ct., 312-224-2200), we're not surprised that there's a garden (pictured above) on site. Throughout the Summer and early Fall, the food and cocktail menus will feature seasonal ingreds like heirloom tomatoes, peppers, root veggies, lettuces, and herbs. We're ready for the Alaskan halibut with marinated tomato, braised marcona almonds, fennel, garlic skapes, espelette, and romesco washed down with a pineapple mojito.