The Plant Cafe was honored this year with the Best Vegetarian Restaurant Award by SF Weekly, but the accolades don’t stop there. San Francisco Waterfront Partners also named it the greenest restaurant in San Francisco as a tribute to both their almost purely organic and primarily locally sourced menu as well as its many green design features. The owners of the restaurant wanted a new space to reflect their sustainable ideals as well as to provide a hip, green space for people to enjoy good food.
CCS Architecture, who designed their other restaurant at the Marina, took the lead in designing the new structure at Pier 3, which was part of a large revitalization project encompassing the Embarcadero. Two large historic pier warehouses were renovated to create a 112-seat restaurant and a separate, counter-service cafe. The tall 18 foot ceilings, exposed timber beams and the casement windows were retained to maintain the feel of the original pier. Outdoor seating areas were built on the side of the bay, which would normally be chilly, but have canopies and heating for year round comfort.
Eco friendly materials are a main feature of the restaurant with a strong focus towards healthy and natural materials – a reflection of the food. Locally sourced and reclaimed wood were used to create many of the tables and interior spaces, while cold rolled steel, stainless steel, zinc and recycled content tiles round out the mix. The vibrant green flooring is made out of coconut shells, while daylighting, composting, recycled or biodegradable take out containers and energy efficient lighting are also big parts of the restaurant.
On the roof, a 6 kw solar system generates enough electricity to power the restaurant’s kitchen, even in foggy San Francisco. An innovative water Electrolyzer system converts tap water into acidic and alkaline cleaning fluids for counters, floors, windows and dishwashing. And to top it all off, the very talented Flora Grubb designed a beautiful living wall installation out of air plants for the back wall of the restaurant.
Images ©CCS Architecture