Spring Natural Kitchen Restaurant Review: Organic Lifestyle

Spring Natural Kitchen Restaurant Review: Organic Lifestyle

Spring Natural Kitchen Restaurant Review: Organic Lifestyle

By Alison Hernon & Christy Stone

 *Image sourced from Spring Natural Kitchen's Website

*Image sourced from Spring Natural Kitchen's Website

This is the beginning of a series of sustainable restaurant reviews in NYC and surrounding areas. So stay tuned!

Contributing Jejune Editor, Christy Stone and I went to the restaurant, Spring Natural Kitchen, located in Soho.  Our night began on their wonderful outdoor patio seating.  Being next to the street, it was surprisingly quiet and we enjoyed the beautiful night alfresco.  The indoor experience is also pleasant with a warm and cozy ambience. The service was extremely friendly and helpful.  The server started us out with water in a recycled bourbon bottle. The menu was impressive with many great choices from which to choose.  We started with their delicious nachos, followed with amazing quinoa cakes and salmon. Everything was so fresh, beautifully presented, and tasted fantastic. We had a great time and really enjoyed the food. 

Now we know that the food exceeded our expectations, we wanted to dig a little further and highlight some of the good things behind Spring Natural Kitchen.  We conducted an exclusive interview with Spring Natural Kitchen’s Owner, Rustam Schoenholt.  Our goal is to shed light on the sustainable thinking that goes into restaurants and let readers know that there are great options to try. As consumers, it is our responsibility to support those who care and go the extra mile.

Foreword by Alison Hernon, Fashion Director & Christy Stone, Contributing Editor, Jejune Magazine

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1. How did Spring Natural decide to create such a healthy restaurant in the early 1970's?

My father founded Spring Natural in 1973.  He was a Zen Buddhist and was into macrobiotic cooking and health. He was also a vegetarian. 

2. Have you seen the demand for this type of eating really grow over the years? Do you see a growing trend? 

Yes, absolutely.  Before it was more of a fringe thing. Now organic, healthy and vegetarian foods are all mainstream.

 Photography by Alison Hernon   

Photography by Alison Hernon

 

3. You've expanded your restaurant to a second location. Being a family owned restaurant for many years, do you think this has attributed to Spring Natural's success? 

Having both an uptown and a downtown location definitely increased our reach.  Many customers who live uptown were happy that we now had a location near them and visa versa. 

4. What is the most important ethos behind your food?  Cooking techniques, quality of the food, etc. (The taste was great, always an added bonus to eating healthy.) 

I think that our philosophy from the beginning was to serve REAL food. Meaning we avoid processed and non-hand made foods. We try to make as much from scratch as possible.  All breads are made in house at both locations. All desserts are made from scratch, as well, and all juices are freshly squeezed.  We even make our own ketchup.  And we source high quality grains, produce, meat and fish, as well.  We serve almost nothing that comes out of a can or is highly processed, thus our name is “Natural."

 Our salmon dinner, photography by Christy Stone   

Our salmon dinner, photography by Christy Stone

 

5. Do you find it difficult to source everything organically? 

Yes, sourcing only organic is extremely challenging and costly.  And organic does not always offer the best choice as many small farms essentially produce their products organically but cannot afford to go through the loophole and processes to receive USDA organic certification.  In some instances, they even do a better and more responsible job with farming than bigger farms that are USDA certified.  Because of this, buying organic is much more costly and customers do not always appreciate that fact.  We do not claim that we are 100% organic.  All our grains, soy products, and legumes are 100% organic (rice, beans, lentils, quinoa, faro, tofu, tempeh, etc.).  All our eggs are organic and other dairy is not.  Salmon is organically farm raised.  All Beef is grass fed and produce is mixed: some is organic and some is not, depending on price and availability.

 Our Quinoa Cake dinner, photography by Christy Stone   

Our Quinoa Cake dinner, photography by Christy Stone

 

6. Do you work with specific local farms or any hydroponic greenhouses? 

Yes, we work with many local farms directly as well as some companies that have a network of local farms that they source from and connect with us. This is very beneficial because many smaller farms do not have the ability to deliver and these companies are able to discover and connect these different producers with us.

7.  Is there anything else we should know about the business that is environmentally or socially conscious?  Are the buildings LEEDS certified, are you a B-Corp?  The use of advanced energy saving technology?  Contribute to non-profits in any way or support the local community? 

Three times a week we donate left over food to the New York Rescue Mission. We try to be environmentally sensitive to our packaging and plastic usage, no non-biodegradable products (including straws) are used. We recently started to compost kitchen waste at the Soho location.

8. Does the family live a healthy lifestyle, practice what they preach? It seems passion for health can drive success when dealing with healthy locally owned restaurants. Is there more to the family background in regards to health and food? Any nutritionists, etc? 

Yes, we are a health family. Personally  do triathlons having just completed a Ironman 70.3 this weekend. 

9. Spring Natural Kitchen is located at:

Upper West Side: 474 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024
Soho: 98 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012
Website: http://www.springnaturalkitchen.com
Instagram: @springnaturalkitchen83

 

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