Local restaurants go farm-to-table By Amanda Goossen

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Local restaurants go farm-to-table

Amanda Goossen

Arcadia News

El Chorro

5550 E Lincoln Dr

(480) 948-5170

El Chorro in Phoenix was originally constructed as the Judson School for Girls by John C. Lincoln in 1934, but has been operated as a restaurant since 1937. 

A garden was added to the property in 2009 when the restaurant underwent renovations. 

“Our garden, or any garden for that matter, is a constant reminder of where food comes from,” said Chef Charles Kassels, who has been the chef at El Chorro since the reopening in 2009. “Food does not come from boxes. In it's purest form, it comes from the earth. Our garden is also a calming space for me. I enjoy maintaining the garden and using its produce."

Jewel's Bakery

4041 E Thomas Rd

(602) 714-5243

jewelsbakeryandcafe.com

Jewel's Bakery and Cafe in Arcadia is a family run, gluten-free restaurant where finding the most fresh and locally sourced products is key to their business plan. 

Recently adding their own garden, Jewel's has found that it not only adds to the ambiance but also produces fresh ingredients used in many of the restaurant's dishes. 

With little space, the garden was created by Urban Gardens (also an Arcadia business) and hangs on a fence, surrounding the patio area. 

“Our herbs are picked fresh for our recipes and also used in our cafe's daily homemade infused water – such as mint and lemongrass,” said owner Julie Moreno.

The Parlor 

1916 E Camelback Rd

(602) 248-2480

theparlor.us

One of the most well-known and visible restaurant gardens in Phoenix is the garden at The Parlor Pizzeria. 

Built in the walkway to the entrance, patrons cannot miss the fresh chard, kale and herbs that fill the beds. 

“Seven years ago when we were designing the space, the entry way came together with a landscape area right near the door,” said Aric Mei, owner of The Parlor. “I thought, ‘let's do a seasonal menu and create an herb garden.'”

As The Parlor neared opening, the pressure and stress was intense. 

“I began ending the crazy construction days with gardening,” said Aric. “It was cathartic.”

The Parlor had no idea, however, the impact their garden would make on their community. Both on their staff, who all pitch in to tend to the needs of the ever-growing plants, as well as their patrons who talk about it and create their own.

“Dozens of our customers have been inspired to create their own gardens,” said Aric. “For me personally, it was a gateway drug.”

Aric recently purchased a .75 acre property in Arcadia and has developed an 800-square-foot plot in his backyard.