Mexican and Caribbean-influenced food meets solar power, eco-friendly decor, and many more fun green design features at the Habana Outpost in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Open from Earth Day to Halloween every year, this eco restaurant has evolved over time to include many green design strategies, and it's working to help the surrounding community as well. The owner of the restaurant is Sean Meenan, who also owns restaurants in Manhattan and Malibu.
The Habana Outpost, which started in 2005, features a $40,000 solar installation on its outdoor patio. The array is grid-connected and feeds in power to surrounding buildings when the Outpost’s power demands are low. Over the years, customers have put in their two cents about other projects the eco-eatery could work on to make it more sustainable.
Since then, the restaurant has set up a bike-powered blender, a rainwater collection system, composting and recycling stations, efficient lighting, compostable plates and silverware, a garden, and wheatboard panels inside the restaurant. They also have a fascinating solar chandelier that uses sunlight focusing panels mounted outside the store to suck in light through fiber optic cables.
Meenan has also converted his 1965 Lincoln Convertible to run off used veggie oil produced by the restaurant, and they’ve installed a US Postal Truck in the courtyard as a mobile eatery. Retired racing sails were used to re-cover banquet benches inside the restaurant instead of vinyl, the Habana Outpost sign used to be an old gas station sign that they resurfaced and repainted, and the wooden doors are reclaimed from a South American monastery.
The restaurant also works to help kids and organizations around the community through donations and activities that take place on site. Meenan regularly gives tours of the restaurant to groups, and a Kid’s Corner offers regular projects and programs to educate kids on the environment. Habana Outpost also supports the Urban Studio Brooklyn program, which offers design/build experience for NYC architecture students. In 2006 and 2007 two USBK groups designed and built a rainwater collection system and then a water reclamation system to water the courtyard’s garden.
Via New York Times
Images © Cafe Habana