Forget rooftop patios and gardens. The newest dining craze? Rooftop Apiaries.Any restaurant worth its salt has jumped on the local and seasonal bandwagon. But many are taking it a step further by adding on-site apiaries, or bee gardens, to their outfits. Whether restaurateurs want to help increase the bee population or just harvest their own honey (or both!), this is one trend with staying power. Even the White House has its own apiary, which harvests honey for its home-brewed House Honey Ale. Check out the following pioneers — they’re just as sweet as can be.
Peter Pratt’s Inn in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and sister restaurant Umami Cafe in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., each yield more than 100 pounds of honey each year to flavor homemade ice cream and pizza dough. “The honey is made from [pollen, which] folks are allergic to, and as long as it’s raw, it’s good for [treating those allergies],” says co-owner Jon Pratt. In San Francisco, Mission Beach Cafe’s rooftop apiary harvests honey for lavender cheesecake and house-made English muffins. And Founding Farmers, in Washington, D.C., joined forces with The George Washington University to create the largest known restaurant-owned urban apiary in the country. In Philadelphia, the Milk & Honey Market hosts a rooftop apiary in partnership with Urban Apiaries, the first — and only – commercial urban-honey company in the city.
Restaurants aren’t the only ones in on the action, though. Eighteen Fairmont Hotels & Resorts keep apiaries, from America to Canada to Kenya. The Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta uses its fifth-floor terrace apiary to source honey for salad dressings and sauces at its restaurant, as well as for use in spa treatments. And the ?Chicago Marriott ?Downtown houses half a million bees on its ninth-floor rooftop apiary, using the nectar for honey-rosemary shortbread cookies, in vinaigrettes and in beverages like honey lemonade and its signature Rooftop Honey Wheat Beer.
Peter Pratt’s Inn, (914) 962-4090, www.prattsinn.com / Umami Cafe, (914) 271-5555, www.umamicafe.com / Mission Beach Cafe, (415) 861-0198, www.missionbeachcafesf.com / Founding Farmers, (202) 822-8783, www.wearefoundingfarmers.com / Milk & Honey Market, (215) 387-6455, www.milkandhoneymarket.com / Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, (800) 257-7544, www.fairmont.com / Four Seasons hotel Atlanta, (404) 881-9898, www.fourseasons.com / Chicago Marriott Downtown, (800) 228-9290, www.marriott.com