New NYC Restaurant Caters to Fresh Food Palate

November 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm Leave a comment

© Photo by Margarida Correia. Potted herbs are scattered throughout Vapiano, the new Italian pasta pizza bar on University Place in Manhattan.

© Photo by Margarida Correia. A tray of potted thyme, anyone?

Now even restaurant chains are tapping into grow-it-yourself sensibilities.  A new Italian pizza and pasta eatery that recently opened on University Place in New York City does so in a subtle way:  its tables and shelves are filled with small potted herbs, like rosemary, sage and thyme.  The centerpiece of the restaurant is a 90-year-old olive tree, lounging amid the potted herbs like an overindulged patriarch.

The restaurant, called Vapiano, a popular franchise in Europe, is part of a new restaurant category known as “fresh casual.”  The restaurant touts its fresh food and ingredients, emphasizing its made-to-order pizzas, house-made pasta and gourmet salads.

The new Vapiano restaurant on University Place is the first in New York City.  It is one of nine in the United States and 70 worldwide – all of them hosts to a signature olive tree.

The potted herbs in the New York location are strictly for décor, not eating.  Otherwise, the Health Department would shut it down, said the maitre d.  In its European restaurants, diners help themselves to the herbs on tables throughout the restaurants to flavor their meals.

At its New York location, Vapiano grows herbs separately on premises and uses them in the salads, pizza and pasta it serves.  “Pre-made food or manipulated ingredients of any kind,” the restaurant states on its web site, are “absolute no-go words for us.”

For more about the restaurant, including the menu, click here.

Entry filed under: Local Food Production. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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