The Perennial, a restaurant that recently opened in San Francisco, truly is sustainable through and through. It’s the brainchild of husband and wife Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz and boast of it’s own aquaponic greenhouse, uses only responsibly-reared meat, and was decorated using recycled materials. The latter is only the tip of the iceberg as far as sustainable design goes though, and the restaurant is currently seeking a LEED Platinum certification.

The energy efficiency of the restaurant was achieved in collaboration with the Food Service Technology Center. They use an intelligent cooker hood, which is capable of monitoring the air and turning itself off and on as needed. They also installed a combo oven, which can produce steam heat, dry heat, or a combination of the two, and is apparently 30 percent more efficient than standard ovens. The pots they use also heat up faster than conventional pots.

The flooring in the kitchen is made entirely of recycled materials, which doesn’t have to be hosed down the way regular kitchen mats do. The owners also claim that the chefs use more than just the prime cuts of meat when preparing the dishes, which results in less waste.

Instead of several, the Perennial only has one large refrigerator, which is, according to the designers, a much more efficient approach to keeping the food fresh. All the wine and cocktails are served on-tap, which greatly reduces the need for packaging, and cuts down on the energy usage and waste. The spirits they serve are locally and sustainably produced.

Some of the dishes on the menu are also made using Kernza, which is a new perennial grain thought to counteract climate change due to its root-based carbon sequestration, pest resistance, and high yield. All the meat and dairy, on the other hand, are obtained from ranches where the animals graze on so-called “compost-treated rangeland” that is special because it promotes the growth of longer-rooted perennial grasses, which sequester carbon beneath the soil.


The interior design of the dining area is also environmentally-friendly, and was created using reclaimed lumber, a recycled and recyclable rug, and recycled tiles, while the plaster used was made from marble-processing waste, and recycled glazing. LED lighting is installed throughout, which further minimizes energy usage. The menus are made from recycled paper, and, once they are worn out, the paper is used to feed the worms at the aquaponic greenhouse.


The restaurant’s greenhouse is located in Oakland and measures 2 ,000-sq ft (186-sq m). Here they produce vegetables served at the restaurant. In addition to the menus, the food scraps from the restaurant’s kitchen are also fed to worms and larvae here, while the worms are then fed to the fish in the aquaponics system.

The main aim of opening this restaurant was demonstrating to the industry just how easy it is to apply sustainable practices to everyday operations and thereby combat climate change. The restaurant also donates a part of its revenue to the non-profit ZeroFoodprint project, which teaches restaurants how to reduce their carbon footprints.

The Perennial opened its doors on January 20th, 2016.